The body of the man who massacred 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school was claimed by his father, a family spokesman said on 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, New Hampshire, Police Chief Donald Briggs, a family acquaintance who helped the Lanzas coordinate services for Lanza’s slain mother.
Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy, inside their 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. The massacre claimed more lives that any school shooting in US history, except for the 2007 Virginia Tech rampage that left 33 people dead.
Lanza’s father, Peter Lanza, claimed his son’s body on Thursday last week and there were “private arrangements” over the weekend, according to the family spokesman. He would not elaborate on what those arrangements were.
Concern about gravesite vandalism has weighed on the families of other notorious killers, including one of the gunmen in the 1999 Columbine High School attack in Colorado. Dylan Klebold’s family had him cremated, according to Don Marxhausen, who presided over his funeral.
The family of the other Columbine shooter, Eric Harris, has never publicly revealed his final resting place.