Connecticut School Gunman’s Downward Spiral
In his last few years, Adam Lanza shut himself off from the outside world almost completely, his troubles slowly escalating as his family splintered.
In the summer of 2010, Mr. Lanza cut off contact with his father, Peter Lanza, a General Electric GE -0.81% executive whose marriage with his mother ended a year before, said a person with knowledge of family matters. It is unclear why Mr. Lanza refused to speak with his father, who made repeated attempts to contact him, this person said, but the breakdown in their relationship came as Peter Lanza started to get serious with his girlfriend, whom he married last year.
After Christmas 2010, Adam Lanza had no contact with his older brother, Ryan, who had moved away for a job in New York City, according to records and a person with knowledge of the family. And three years ago, high-school classmates recalled Adam Lanza suddenly disappearing midway through high school in Newtown, Conn. “He disappeared off the face of the Earth,” according to one friend.
Then, last Friday morning, Adam Lanza fatally shot his final link to the outside world, his mother, Nancy Lanza, in her bed. He then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School—where he attended first through fourth grades—and he killed 20 children and six adults before taking his own life, authorities said.
The 20-year-old’s seclusion is proving to be the primary obstacle for investigators trying to piece together a comprehensive portrait of Mr. Lanza and his interactions with others in the days leading up to the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history, a state police official said. Afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, Mr. Lanza left few traces of interactions with people in person, or online, the official and others said. The person who knew him best, Nancy Lanza, is dead.