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Father claims body of Newtown gunman

| Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, 6:02 p.m.

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

Like families of other mass killers, Adam Lanza's father has to balance his 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 the Lanzas coordinate services for Lanza's slain mother.

Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy, in 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 on Thursday, and private arrangements were held during the weekend in an undisclosed location, according to the family spokesman. He would not elaborate on what the arrangements were.

For some in Newtown, it would be just fine to not have any public reminder of Adam Lanza.

“People are sad enough around here,” said Robin Houser, 52, who was working at a center coordinating Newtown volunteers. “I would have donated his body to science and let them see what made him tick inside. And then have them take care of it.”

A private service was held earlier this 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. State police say they have been exploring all aspects of Adam Lanza's life, including his education, family history and medical treatment, for clues. Authorities have said it could take months to produce a final report on their investigation.

The state's chief medical examiner has sought help from the University of Connecticut genetics department to study Lanza's DNA and determine whether there is any identifiable disease associated with his behavior.

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