Left and Right: Sara circa, 1993
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: August 18, 1993
Missing From: Litchfield, Tioga County, New York
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: March 4, 1981
Age: 12 years old
Height and Weight: 5’0″ and 96 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Female, Brown hair, Blue eyes, Sara has one disabled toe on both feet and scars on both her legs, she also has dumped on both cheeks and facial freckles, Sara wears prescription eye glasses with tortoise shell frames and her hair was shoulder length when she vanished
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A headband, a pink t-shirt with the phrase “Guess Who” imprinted on the front, turquoise colored shorts, and brown sandals
NCMEC Number: 782700
Details of Disappearance
Sara Wood was last seen in Litchfield, New York on August 18th 1993. She was last seen riding her bike from the Norwich Corners Church which is located on Roberts Road and Graffenburg Road. She attended summer bible school there. She was returning to her home on Hacadam Road at the time she went missing. She was carrying posterboard, a church song book, and 8 by 10 transparencies as she rode her bike.
It was determined that Sara made it safely down Roberts Road and was last seen traveling up a steep hill on Hacadam Road. She was only 4/10 of a mile away from her home at the time. She never made it home and was never seen or heard from again.
Sara’s bicycle which was described as a pink and white ten speed mountain bicycle was found later that evening after she didn’t return home. The materials she was carrying were found scattered in a brush area and the bike was standing against a tree. The area of discovery was several hundred feet off of Hacadam Road. Investigators believe that Sara was abducted.
In 1994, Lewis Lent was charged with kidnapping and killing Sara on the day of her disappearance. He stated that he abducted Sara by force as she rode her bike. He then forced her into the woods where he raped her and then beat her to death with a tree branch shaped like a club. He initially stated he had buried Sara’s body in a clearing near Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. A search of that region turned up no sign of her body and Lent later admitted that he lied about the location. He said she was buried in a shallow grave but refused to say where because he apparently buried another victims body nearby. He was convicted of the charges and sentenced to life in prison.
He was convicted of murdering Massachusetts child, Jimmy Bernardo, a 12 year old boy who was murdered in 1990. He was returned to Massachusetts after his trial in Sarah’s case to serve his sentence for his murder. Investigators have attempted to see if Lent could be involved in other cases.
Lent is also considered a possible suspect in the 1985 New York disappearance of Karen Wilson, the 1986 New York disappearance of Tammie McCormick, the 1986 Maine disappearance of Kimberly Moreau, and the 1990 possible abduction of Monique Santiago who disappeared from New York.
Lent is also the prime suspect in the Massachusetts 1992 disappearance of James Lusher Jr. who went missing while he rode his bike to his grandmothers home. Lent confessed to killing Lusher in 2013 but investigators have yet to recover his body. He was in the area when Lusher went missing.
Sarah was a cheerleader when she disappeared. Her family founded the Sara Anne Wood Rescue Center which was later renamed as the Mohawk Valley Branch of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Investigators have been unable to find the location of Sara’s body but they strongly believe foul play is the reason for her disappearance.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
New York State Police 315-866-7111