Mass. missing children remembered, state urged to fund database

BOSTON – Jennifer Nowak, a Westfield resident and older sister of a 16-year-old boy who disappeared riding his new mountain bike in 1996, still has the box for the black hiking boots she bought him for his birthday in her closet. The boots he was wearing the day he was abducted, Nov. 9.

Since James “Jamie” Lusher disappeared, his family has learned he was one of the children targeted by Lewis Lent Jr., a janitor who worked in Pittsfield and has been convicted of two other child murders: 12-year-old Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield in 1990 and a New York child, Sara Anne Wood, who was 12 when she disappeared on a quiet road near her home in August 1993.

Jennifer Nowak of Westfield talks about the abduction of her brother James Lusher when he was 16 in 1992. His kidnapping and murder have been solved, but his remains are still missing

In a detailed confession offered by Lent to investigators in 2013 in exchange for not being prosecuted for the crime, the Lusher family learned that Jamie had been “kidnapped, murdered and dumped. The murder was solved,” said his sister. “But he’s still missing.”

Searchers spent three days searching Greenwater Pond for the boy’s remains without finding a shred of evidence. Not even one of his black hiking boots. “Our family has nothing, not even a tooth,” Nowak said, adding that she would love to have a relic, a reminder of her brother who would have been 46 if he had lived.

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