Details of Disappearance
Sara was last seen riding her pink and white ten-speed mountain bicycle to her family's residence on Hacadam Road in Frankfort, New York on August 18, 1993. She was returning from Norwich Corners Church on Roberts Road and Gaffenburg Road in Frankfort, where she attended summer Bible school. The church was less than a mile from her house. Sara picked up some posterboard, a church song book, and some 8-by-10-inch plastic transparencies at the church before heading home. She apparently made it safely down Roberts Road and was last seen pedaling up a steep hill on Hacadam Road, four-tenths of a mile from her residence.
Sara's bicycle and the supplies she'd picked up were discovered in an area of brush several hundred feet off of Hacadam Road later in the evening. The bicycle was leaning against a tree and the supplies were scattered nearby. Sara has never been seen again.
Lewis S. Lent Jr., 45, was charged with Sara's abduction and murder in 1996, three years after she was last seen. A photo of Lent is posted below this case summary. Lent plead guilty to the abduction and murder of another child, twelve-year-old James Bernardo, in Massachusetts in 1990. Lent initially confessed to Sara's abduction and claimed he buried her body in a clearing near Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. He drew a map of the burial location for authorities. It was supposedly in or near the town of Inlet. Extensive searches there did not produce any evidence as to Sara's whereabouts and Lent admitted that she was not really there. He refused to divulge the whereabouts of her remains, saying he had another body buried nearby and did not want that one to be found.
Lent later recanted his statements, but was convicted of the crime nonetheless. Sara has never been located. In 2013, Lent also confessed to the 1992 murder of James "Jamie" Lusher, whose body has never been found. Lent has never been charged in connection with Lusher's case, but witnesses placed him in the area of Lusher's disappearance. He has also been investigated in the disappearances of
Kimberly Moreau, and
Sara's family founded The Sara Anne Wood Rescue Center, later renamed The Mohawk Valley Branch Of The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. Foul play is strongly suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved. Texas authorities are assisting with the investigation into her disappearance.
Above: Lent, circa 1996