Sunday, September 23, 2018

Final resting place of Newtown gunman a mystery

HARTFORD, Conn. — The body of the man who massacred 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school was claimed by his father, a family spokesman said Monday, but the public may never know what happened with the remains.

Like families of other mass killers, Adam Lanza's father has to balance his own mourning with consideration for the victims, intense media scrutiny and the risk that a public gravesite could be desecrated.

"I know it's very sensitive for the family. They have many, many concerns and it's a very sad time for them," said Kingston, N.H., police Chief Donald Briggs, a family acquaintance who helped coordinate services for Lanza's slain mother.

Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy, inside their Newtown home on Dec. 14 before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School, shooting his way in and gunning down 20 first-graders and six school employees. He committed suicide as police arrived.

Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, of Stamford, Conn., claimed his son's body Thursday, and there were private arrangements over the weekend, according to the family spokesman. He declined to elaborate on what those arrangements were.

A private service was held last month at an undisclosed location in New Hampshire for Nancy Lanza, who was divorced from Peter Lanza.

Authorities have not offered a motive for the killings. The state's chief medical examiner has sought help from the University of Connecticut genetics department to study Adam Lanza's DNA and determine if there is any identifiable disease associated with his behavior.

James Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University, said it is not unusual for notorious criminals to be buried in undisclosed locations to keep away the media, protesters and potential vandals. "There is the potential for people to express anger, hostility, rage at the symbol of a person's grave if it were known," he said.

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