Nancy Lanza, mother of Newtown, Conn., killer, is mourned in N.H.

KINGSTON, N.H. — Nancy Lanza, the first victim in the killing spree by her son Adam that left 26 children and staff members dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was mourned on Thursday at a private memorial at the home of a relative in this small New Hampshire town.

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About two dozen family members and close friends went to the home of James Champion, a brother of Lanza and a retired police officer. Mourners arrived in the early afternoon and parked behind the 1760s-era home where Lanza, 52, grew up with her three siblings, including Champion. They looked somber, wore dark clothes and kept well back from the two-lane road that is the only thoroughfare to the home.

It was not immediately clear whether the memorial served as a funeral for Lanza, or whether she had been buried. A spokeswoman for the Connecticut chief medical examiner's office confirmed late Thursday that her body had been claimed this week and released to a funeral home, but she declined to provide more details.

The Kingston police chief, Donald W. Briggs Jr., who has acted as a spokesman for the family in recent days, described the gathering only as "a service" for Lanza in interviews with the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Wall Street Journal.

In the morning, Champion, visited the town post office and held the door open for people mailing last-minute gifts. He declined to be interviewed. "It's a hard time," he said, shaking his head. "It's a very hard time right now."

A spokeswoman for the Connecticut chief medical examiner declined to say whether Adam Lanza's body had been claimed.

Nancy Lanza, mother of Newtown, Conn., killer, is mourned in N.H. 12/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 11:17pm]

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