Sara Wood’s ‘psychopathic child murderer’ still won’t give up his dumping ground 30 years later: DA

The girl's killer continues to be at the mercy of investigators searching for Sarah Ann Wood's body, which may be buried in a dumpster with other children, prosecutors tell Fox News Digital. Told.

On August 18, 1993, Wood was 12 years old as he rode his bicycle from the church where his father was a pastor to his home in upstate New York.

Louis Lent Jr. admitted to kidnapping and killing the girl in 1996, but kept the location of her grave a secret for decades.

Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter said, “Investigators and I have visited Lewis Lent on an ongoing basis for the past 30 years.” “You have to start with that premise because he's a psychopathic child murderer, and he wants to keep her to himself.”

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On August 18, 1993, Sarah Wood disappeared while riding her bicycle home from church in Frankfort, New York. Thirty years later, her body has still not been found. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

In mid-November, a lead in the case led investigators to search 29 acres of Vermont jungle, but the search came up empty.

“Investigators reviewed all previous conversations with Lent and zeroed in on one specific scene where he described where he buried Sarah's body,” Carpenter said.

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This description seems consistent with the Dome Hiking Trail, a small section of the 400,000-acre Green Mountain National Forest in southwestern and central Vermont.

The three-day search, led by New York State Police, involved more than 80 New York and Vermont police officers, forest rangers and a K-9 squad.

However, this frustrating case reached yet another impasse.

Law enforcement searches for Sarah Wood's body in Vermont woods

More than 80 New York and Vermont state troopers, forest rangers and K-9 squads are in mid-November on a parcel of the 400,000-acre Green Mountain National Forest in southwestern and central Vermont. They searched the Dome Hiking Trail for Sarah Wood's body. . (New York State Police)

When asked why Lent Jr. wouldn't let go of Wood's gravesite, Carpenter offered several theories.

Part of that, he said, is that he believes Lent Jr. may be toying with investigators. Carpenter recalled bringing Lent Jr. back to New York in 2013 “with the hope that he would show us where he buried Sarah.”

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Again, he kept the secret to himself.

“I think he doesn't want to give up the place to have her to himself,” Carpenter said. “There has always been a theory that there were other children buried with Sarah, and those are the crimes he could be charged with.

“This is just speculation, but it's not far-fetched speculation given what Lewis has done throughout his life.”

Who is Louis Lent Jr.?

Lent Jr., now in his 70s, was a janitor in Massachusetts when he came onto law enforcement's radar for an attempted kidnapping at gunpoint on January 7, 1994.

In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a police officer threatened 12-year-old Rebecca Savarese with a deadly weapon and tried to snatch her and drag her into his truck.

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However, the quick-witted Savarese pretends to be out of breath and tricks Lent Jr. into running away. He grabbed her backpack, but she stumbled out of it and ran away.

A year later, on January 12, 1995, Lent Jr. was found guilty on several charges of attempted kidnapping.

Photo of smiling Sarah Wood

Twelve-year-old Sarah Wood was kidnapped and murdered in 1993, but her body was never found. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

During interrogation, Lent Jr. admitted to kidnapping and killing 12-year-old James Bernardo in October 1990 from the Pittsfield movie theater where Lent previously worked.

The boy's body was found naked and hanging in Newfield, New York, near Lent Jr.'s childhood home.

He also admitted to killing Wood during the same interrogation. Lent Jr. was sentenced to life in prison without parole for Bernardo's murder and 25 years in prison in New York for Wood's murder.

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He initially told investigators he buried the wood near Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, but refused to reveal the exact location. Multiple searches at different times of the year yielded no results.

He also confessed to kidnapping and killing 16-year-old James Rusher in Westfield, Massachusetts, in 1992. But he later recanted, and law enforcement could not make a strong enough case to convict him.

james bernardo

James Barnardo was 12 years old when he was kidnapped and murdered by Louis Lent Jr., who was serving a life sentence without parole in Massachusetts for the 1990 murder of a young boy. (

The innocence of the community was lost. “We're fighting to get it back.”

Lent Jr. is not serving time in New York for Sarah's murder, but Carpenter said he wants to change that.

“I think my focus at this point is to get him back to New York state to fulfill the sentence he was given for Sara's murder,” he said. “That will require multi-state cooperation, which we are currently considering.

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“Every day he's in Massachusetts is like a day he doesn't have time for Sarah's death. I want justice for her family.”

He said New York County's top prosecutor and law enforcement officials are taking the case personally.

“A lot of (investigators and law enforcement officers) are leaving or retiring,” Carpenter said. “And they stayed connected to this case even after they retired. They're still actively working on this case. This is a personal thing, and I take my hat off to them.”

Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter

Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter wants to restore the innocence that was lost when Sarah Wood was kidnapped from a small upstate New York county in 1993. (Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter's Office)

Herkimer County is a 1,458 square mile county in upstate New York with a population of approximately 60,000 people. Carpenter said the county is “a small, close-knit county that has lost a child.”

“Sarah was doing what any normal girl would do when she was kidnapped,” he said. “And unfortunately for her, not only was she taken from us, but a certain kind of innocence was taken from everyone in our county and the surrounding area.


“Suddenly we can't let our kids be kids anymore. We can't let our kids walk alone. It's changed everything for us, and we're going to fight to get that back.” It is.”

Carpenter said he, his office and law enforcement officials “want closure for Sarah's parents, her family and our community.”



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