Newtown shooter is described as isolated in youth
Aug. 26, 2013
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A portrait of a highly isolated young man with disruptions in his education is emerging as a state office investigating the Newtown shooter seeks the release of his school records.
Connecticut's child advocate office is seeking Adam Lanza's records as part of an investigation with its Child Fatality Review Panel into last year's massacre of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza, 20, killed his mother before the massacre and committed suicide afterward.
The panel reviews unexpected child fatalities. It has obtained some of Lanza's school and hospital records, but the state attorney general asked on the panel's behalf for the release of his educational records.
"I think from our perspective right now from what we've gathered, we're concerned about the level of isolation," said Faith Vos Winkel, assistant child advocate. "It's never one thing. I think a theme that is beginning to emerge for us — how it plays out, what it ultimately looks like, I'm not sure — is that this was a very isolated kid."
Teenagers and young adults typically are involved in sports, clubs, jobs, community activities and have friends, Vos Winkel said.
"I think at least from what we're gleaning at this point there was very little of that," Vos Winkel said.
Lanza attended a few middle schools, was home schooled and appears to have spent limited time in high school, she said. She compared the case to a 5,000-piece puzzle and said officials had only a limited number of pieces.
"Piecing this enormous complex puzzle together, we're beginning to see some education disruption certainly in middle school and, we believe, in high school," Vos Winkel said. "I think education disruption is a feature. Those will be some of the issues we're going to explore more fully."
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen wants a judge to order Newtown school officials to release Lanza's school records. The child advocate's office first sought Lanza's school records in March, but Newtown school officials have not released the information.
District officials did not immediately return a phone message left Monday.
Lanza killed his mother at their home, then killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself as police officers arrived.
The child advocate's office has subpoenaed many records, not just school documents, Vos Winkel said.
"I think we have an obligation to at least conduct a review to the extent that we can to collect information to say, what are the lessons potentially to be learned here?" Vos Winkel said. "We hope there is something to learn and we're going to look very hard to see what it is."
A prosecutor said this month that a report on the investigation into the shooting will not be available until the fall. Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the massacre, which sparked new legislation in Connecticut and beyond on issues including gun control and school safety.