Nancy Lanza: Mother of Sandy Hook Gunman Was 'Prepper' on the Edge

Monday, 17 Dec 2012 01:05 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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Who was Nancy Lanza, the mother of the 20-year-old gunman in the Sandy Hook school shooting?

Friends of Nancy Lanza, 54, described her as being on the edge of reason, preparing for a collapse of civilization, stockpiling food and a large cache of weapons in the home she shared with her son, Adam Lanza.

Lanza was called a doomsday “prepper” because of her preparations for the end of modern life that she perceived to be imminent.

On Friday, Adam Lanza shot his mother four times in the head as she lay in bed, police said. He then took three of the weapons from their home in upscale Newtown, Conn., and proceeded to carry out the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

Though she made no secret of her collection of weapons, Lanza never allowed even friends into her home, according to news reports. She was a member of a group that played cards for nearly 15 years, but one of the card players said her home was always skipped when it came Lanza's turn to host.

Neighbors said Nancy Lanza had recently taken time off from a job in finance to spend more time with her troubled son. Less than a week ago, Nancy Lanza was at a bar with a drinking buddy, telling the unnamed friend that she was afraid “she was losing him [Adam]” and that “he was getting worse,” according to the New York Daily News.

Ryan Lanza, 24, reportedly told investigators his brother had Asperger's syndrome, a disorder linked to autism whose sufferers struggle with social interaction, according to the Telegraph. However medical experts say if there was such a diagnosis, it would not explain Adam Lanza's violence.

Adam had a predilection for harming himself.

“Nancy told me he was burning himself with a lighter. In the ankles or arms or something. It was like he was trying to feel something,” the anonymous friend told the Daily News, recalling a conversation the two had about a year ago.

Ryan Kraft, a man who once lived in Newtown, told CBS News that he was a babysitter for the Lanza family when Adam was around 9 or 10 years old. Nancy warned him not to turn his back on Adam, not even to go to the bathroom.

Divorce paperwork made public Monday showed that Nancy Lanza had authority to make all decisions regarding her son, according to USAToday. The divorce was finalized in September 2009, when Adam Lanza was 17, and gave Nancy Lanza $265,000 in alimony last year. The paperwork made no mention of any mental health issues regarding Adam Lanza.

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