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Pond search for W. Mass. teen's body begins

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    A man already serving a life sentence for killing two children is also responsible for the disappearance and death of a Westfield teenager more than 20 years ago, Massachusetts law enforcem
    A man already serving a life sentence for killing two children is also responsible for the disappearance and death of a Westfield teenager more than 20 years ago, Massachusetts law enforcement authorities said Monday.

BECKET, Mass. (AP) - Eighteen divers from the Massachusetts and New York state police dive teams started to search the deep waters of a western Massachusetts pond on Tuesday for the remains of a teenager who disappeared 21 years ago.

The search at Greenwater Pond in Becket, with the help of two sonar-equipped boats, comes a day after law enforcement authorities announced that a man already serving a life sentence for killing two 12-year-old children confessed to killing James Lusher, 16, in 1992. The youth was last seen leaving his Westfield home on his bike on the way to his grandmother's house about 12 miles away.

Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni said Lewis Lent Jr. confessed to killing Lusher and told authorities where to find the remains. Lent is spending life in prison after pleading guilty to killing Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield in 1990 and Sara Ann Wood of Frankfort, N.Y., in 1993. Sara Ann's body has never been found.

The search started in the center of the 88-acre pond because that is where Lusher is believed to have been put in the water, Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said.

"The divers will be conducting a grid search from the point that we believe is the location of entry for Jamie Lusher," he said. They are looking for bones, clothes or shoes in the pond that is up to 58 feet deep, with a bottom covered in sediment.

The plan is to search for three days. The search beyond that depends on the availability of divers, he said.

Tuesday's search ended at 4 p.m. Authorities did not find anything.



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