Staff and wire reports
Authorities in New York State are discussing the possibility of resuming the search for the body of Sara Anne Wood, the 12-year-old girl who was abducted and killed nearly 20 years ago by Lewis S. Lent Jr. of North Adams.
"There have been efforts to locate her body in the past and, at this point in time, I think we will once again make an attempt to locate her body," said Jeffrey Carpenter, the district attorney in Herkimer County where the victim was kidnapped near her rural home.
Carpenter told the Observer-Dispatch of Utica that his office and state police investigators have rekindled their discussions on tips that might one day lead to Sara Anne Wood's body.
A spokesman for Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless' office declined comment on the latest events saying it would be "inappropriate to comment on a case outside of our jurisdiction." Capeless, then the first assistant district attorney, was part of the team that prosecuted Lent, a Pittsfield movie theater janitor, in two Berkshire County cases. Lent is now 62.
Sara was walking her bike to her family's home in the Mohawk Valley town of Litchfield in August 1993 when she was abducted.
Lent pleaded guilty three years later to killing the girl and later told authorities he buried her off a logging road in the Adirondack Mountains.
More than a dozen searches over the years, including in the Raquette Lake area of the Adirondacks, have failed to find her body. Lent later recanted his story and has since refused to cooperate with authorities seeking Sara's burial site.
Lent was sentenced to a prison term of 25 years to life in Wood's killing.
He is currently serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of 12-year-old Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield. In 1993, Lent was sentenced to an additional 17 to 20 years in prison for the attempted abduction of a 12-year-old Pittsfield girl as she walked to school.
Officials in New York State believe "significant steps" have been made over the years to at least narrow down the possible location of Sara's body.
"As time goes on, the brand-new tips diminish but re-examining other avenues that we've currently examined, in light of new technology, becomes more of the focus," said state police Capt. Mark Lincoln of Troop D based at Oneida, N.Y.