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Resting place a mystery

Whereabouts of Newtown killer’s remains unknown

Adam Lanza

– The body of the man who massacred 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school was claimed by his father, a family spokesman said 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 grave site 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’s father, Peter Lanza, of Stamford, Conn., claimed his son’s body Thursday, and there were “private arrangements” over the weekend, according to the family spokesman.

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.”

Concern about grave site 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 the Rev. Don Marxhausen, who presided over his funeral.

“He couldn’t publicly go in a cemetery,” Marxhausen said. “There is that issue of people who would desecrate.”

Marxhausen said a policeman escorted him to the funeral, and others took circuitous routes to avoid being followed by the media. Marxhausen’s role at the funeral sparked an outcry and he later lost his position as pastor at the St. Philip Lutheran Church in Littleton, Colo., but he said he does not regret his role.

“Christ always goes where it’s darkest. You do your job,” he said.

The family of the other Columbine shooter, Eric Harris, has never publicly revealed his final resting place.

James Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University, said it is not unusual for notorious criminals to be buried in undisclosed locations to keep away the media, protesters and potential vandals.

“There is the potential for people to express anger, hostility, rage at the symbol of a person’s grave if it were known,” he said.

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