HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The school system unwittingly enabled Adam Lanza's mother to "accommodate and appease" him as he became more withdrawn socially, according to a state report issued Friday on the man who carried out the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Office of the Child Advocate report identified missed opportunities to provide more appropriate treatment for Lanza, whose social isolation and obsession with mass killings have been detailed in police reports that concluded the motive for the shootings may never be known.
A thread running through the 114-page report, which refers to Lanza as "AL," is the effort on the part of his parents to accommodate his disabilities, rather than adhering to specialists' recommendations for extensive special education support.
"Both AL's mother and his educational team shared a goal of managing and accommodating, rather than securing treatment for, AL's disabilities, and likely this approach was fueled by a lack of critical information and guidance," the report said.
In the three months before the massacre, Lanza had not left his room in his mother's spacious colonial-style house, where he lived surrounded by an arsenal of weapons and spent long hours playing violent video games. His parents were divorced, and Lanza had not seen his father for two years. The report said Lanza's severe and deteriorating mental health problems, combined with a preoccupation with violence and access to deadly weapons, proved a recipe for mass murder.
The report also provocatively asks whether a family that was not white or as affluent as the Lanzas would have been given the same leeway to manage treatment for their troubled child.
"Is the community more reluctant to intervene and more likely to provide deference to the parental judgment and decision-making of white, affluent parents than those caregivers who are poor or minority?" the report said.
Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, then shot his way into the Newtown school on Dec. 14, 2012, and gunned down 20 children and six educators before committing suicide.
The advocate's office investigates all child deaths in the state for lessons on prevention. The authors of the Newtown report said it aims to reinforce the importance of effective mental health treatment and communication among professionals charged with the care for children.
"Records indicate that the school system cared about AL's success but also unwittingly enabled Mrs. Lanza's preference to accommodate and appease AL through the educational plan's lack of attention to social-emotional support, failure to provide related services, and agreement to AL's plan of independent study and early graduation at age 17," the authors wrote.
The authors said they could not say whether more effective treatment could have prevented the tragedy.
"This report raises, but cannot definitively answer, the question as to whether better access to effective mental health and educational services would have prevented the tragic events at Sandy Hook," they wrote.
The police investigation into the massacre concluded more than a year ago with prosecutors saying that a motive might never be known. It said Lanza was afflicted with mental health problems, but despite his dark interests, he did not display aggressive or threatening tendencies.
Documents released by police in December 2013 included descriptions of sporadic treatment for his mental health troubles. At one point, experts at the Yale Child Studies Center prescribed antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication, but Nancy Lanza discontinued the treatment and never scheduled follow-up visits, police reports said.
A Connecticut judge last year ordered Newtown school officials to give Lanza's records the Office of Child Advocate for its investigation. The governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has been waiting for the office's report before releasing its recommendations on what the state can do to prevent and respond to future mass killings.
Child Advocate Sarah H. Eagan already has met with the families of the victims and Newtown school officials to discuss the findings.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut father charged with causing his 15-month-old son's death by leaving the boy in the car for hours on a hot July day has pleaded not guilty.
Kyle Seitz entered his plea to a charge of criminally negligent homicide Friday.
Authorities say the 36-year-old Seitz forgot to take his son, Benjamin, to day care on July 7 and unintentionally left him in the car for more than seven hours while he went to work. Temperatures that day hit the upper 80s.
The toddler died of hyperthermia, or extremely high body temperature, the medical examiner found.
Seitz, who has two other children, has been free on bail. His lawyer has not commented.
He faces a year in jail if convicted.
State officials have released the name of the woman who was founded dead at Huntington State Park Thursday afternoon. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokeswoman Cyndy Chanaca says the woman 50-year old Elizabeth Teed of Bethel. Teed was a 4th grade teacher in Bethel. Parents were notified yesterday.
Bethel police received a call in the morning from a family member saying that she was despondent and in need of urgent medical attention. An initial search was not successful and State and Redding police were called to help in the search of the endangered missing woman.
DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain says the woman was found dead of an apparent suicide.
The state park spans Bethel and Redding. Redding Police say all of the district schools were notified of police activity in the area, but that at no time was there a danger to the public.
Bethel school officials say there will be counselors at Johnson School today.
Some area students will be spending time tracking down pollution sources that flow into Long Island Sound. "Earthplace- the Nature Discovery Center" has received a $34,149 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund. Students from will monitor pollution sources and remediate concerns in Monroe, Darien and Ridgefield.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says the Fund is providing 14 grants to Connecticut and New York to support projects in local communities that aim to protect and restore the Long Island Sound. It unites federal and state agencies, foundations and corporations to achieve high-priority conservation objectives.
The project will track down pollution sources and work with municipalities to remediate the problems. It identifies pollution sources such as compromised septic systems and failed infrastructure. Blumenthal says high school science students traditionally do not have the chance to practice science in class, but this project will give them opportunities to participate in detection work and to deliver practical, applied scientific monitoring. The project will teach high school students to conduct river, estuary, storm drain system, and fisheries monitoring programs with EPA-approved protocols.
The activities include training 35 students from 10 schools to monitor eight waterbodies for five water quality parameters; identify one pollution hot spot for each waterbody and address with municipal partners. The students will also present their monitoring data at an annual Water Quality Symposium.
Some of the funding will also be used for an internship program with nine students working at a job site on activities like laboratory maintenance, research on impaired waterways etc.; and deliver summer volunteer program with 15 college and high school student scientists to assist with monitoring.
The Civil Air Patrol's Connecticut Wing has conducted a statewide search and rescue exercise. The mission on Sunday was to enhance the proficiency of the cadets and senior members. The 399th Danbury Composite Squadron worked out of Danbury Municipal Airport on training drills to track and locate emergency locator transmitters, ELT, sending out simulated emergency signals.
The cadets had to plot their findings and direct a ground team to the transmitter. One of the distress beacons was located in the hills of Redding. The aircrew then successfully directed the cadet ground teams in to silence the ELT.
Danbury Mission Base provided training to 22 cadets with 12 senior members providing support, training and aircrew.
The Putnam County Sheriff's office is warning residents of an IRS phone scam circulating the region. Sheriff Donald Smith says his office has received calls from a few people saying they may have been defrauded.
Callers have said they are from the IRS and tell the victim that they owe taxes, which must be paid off or they face arrest, deportation, business forfeiture or loss of a driver's license. Smith says the IRS does not ask for credit card information over the phone and does not request pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers.
According to the Inspector General, the callers who commit this fraud often use common names and fake badge numbers, know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number and make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
As the investigation continues into a car crash that injured seven people, they have been identified. Six of the people injured in the minivan versus car crash have been treated for minor injuries and released from Danbury Hospital.
A passenger in the car, 60-year old Magdalana Guzman, is in critical condition at Westchester Medical Center.
The driver, 40-year old Samuel Valasquez Giron of Duchess County, was trying to make a left turn from Route 6 onto Route 22. The car was struck broadside by a minivan Wednesday afternoon. 42-year old Elva Mejia, and a 4-year old boy Christian Velazquez, were also in his car and sustained minor injuries.
The minivan was driven by 34-year old Christi Browne-Sibrizzi of Carmel. her passengers were 60-year old Joan Brown and 2-and-a-half month old Jack Sibrizzi.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A report being released Friday is expected to provide new information into the events that led up to the December 2012 shooting that took the lives of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
The Office of Child Advocate and the state's Child Fatality Review Panel investigate all child deaths in the state, with a focus on preventing future tragedies.
The office has said this report will focus on the gunman, Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old with a history of mental-health issues. The office looked at his mental health and educational history and how those intertwined.
The governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has been waiting for this report before releasing its recommendations on what the state can do to prevent and respond to future incidents.
Seven people have been hospitalized because of a two-car crash in Brewster.
The accident on Route 6 happened around 12:45pm Wednesday when a car tried to make a left turn onto Route 22 and was struck broadside by a minivan. Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith says a passenger in the car was critically injured and airlifted to Westchester Medical Center.
Two other adults and a 4 year old boy in the car were transported to Danbury Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Two adults and an infant in the minivan sustained minor injuries and are also being treated in Danbury. Smith says the 2 1/2 month old was reportedly ejected from the child safety seat, but not ejected from the vehicle.
The road was closed well into the evening commute because of the investigation.
Bethel residents have approved three proposals presented at a special Town Meeting this week.
The Boards of Selectmen and Finance previously backed a purchase of land located between Maple Avenue and Hickok Avenue. The 12.89 acres would by purchased by the town for no more than $675,000 from MH Development, LLC and Ellis A. Tarlton, III for use as open space. Officials say the town may have some grant funding for this purchase or may receive grants in the future. Most of the cost would be bonded.
First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says it's a steep and environmentally sensitive piece of land. Various developers proposals over the years have been rejected because of the endangered species nearby. But he says a proposal for affordable housing, which could overrule local zoning regulations, has been presented to the town. Knickerbocker says it would require a significant amount of blasting, hundreds of trees would be removed and it would create a traffic nightmare for the winding road leading up to the site.
The Boards of Selectmen and Finance have approved accepting $3,737 from the State Department of Transportation for a 27,644 /- square feet of land. It's located at the corners of Plumtrees Road, Whittlesey Drive and Walnut Hill Road. It's needed for the proposed construction of the new Plumtrees Road Bridge.
The Boards of Selectmen and Finance have also approved an expense of no more than $36,534.60 for a replacement motor vehicle known as fire vehicle 69BL, to be funded from the capital non-recurring account.
Redding is among the towns where polling precincts were selected at random by the state for a post-election audit. The results from machines at the Redding Community Center, District 2, will be counted today between 9am and 1pm. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says 77 precincts were chosen, representing 10-percent of all polling places used on November 4th.
Three positions on the ballot are also chosen at random, this year it was Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller.
From the Greater Danbury area, Bethel Municipal Center district 1, Danbury High School Ward 1, Park Avenue School Ward 6, Schaghichoke School in New Milford, and Weston Middle School were chosen.
Merrill says if there are errors, they're usually human error. Whether it's hand counted absentee ballots or ballots not read by the machines. She says the audit is done to make sure Connecticut voters have continued confidence that their votes were recorded accurately and that’s why these independent audits are so vital. "We don’t just take the machines’ word for it," said Merrill.
The post-election audits must be completed by November 24th.
During the 2013 legislative session, the General Assembly authorized up to $50 million for a replacement school to be built at the site of the former Sandy Hook Elementary School. Wednesday, the state Bond Commission voted to release $5 million of that funding for continued planning and design work.
First Selectman Pat Llodra says the vote today reminds the town of the generosity and support of the state. She noted that the new new Sandy Hook School will become a reality in 2016 because of that generosity. Llodra says Newtown is humbled and thankful for the continuing kindness of state partners.
Demolition was completed in November 2013. Architectural plans for construction of the new school were approved last week. Newtown will be posting bid notices shortly and anticipates breaking ground in March 2015.
There will be funding requests throughout the course of the construction project.
The new school will be all-new construction and will be approximately 87,000 square feet of space in a two-story structure. It will feature 23 classrooms for pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. There will be dedicated spaces for music, art, a library, computer education, a cafeteria with kitchen and a gymnasium. It will be a fully accessible building for persons with disabilities and fully compliant with all current building codes and standards. It will be on a reconfigured site of the former school, located at 12 Dickinson Drive, Newtown.
Interior renovations are being made to the Lounsbury House in Ridgefield. The Ridgefield Press reports that the Board of Selectmen approved the renovation project on a 3-to-2 vote this week after a long debate.
The plans call for removing walls and mahogany pocket doors. A structural engineer must confirm that the building won't be weakened by the renovation. The Community Center rents the facility and told the Press that the building would be more marketable for weddings and similar events if there's an open floor plan.
The Selectmen were told that they are short on funds in maintaining the building almost every month, so even though renovations would be costly, in the end more revenue will come in.
The Brookfield Board of Ethics has met again this week to look into travel expenses incurred by First Selectman Bill Tinsley.
The group will be looking into policy changes in the future about better monitoring personal expenses by people who hold the position of First Selectman. The complaint about Tinsley using a town-owned vehicle to travel to Tennessee for a trip he says was about economic development research, was brought by Democratic Town Committee member Ray DiStephan, who said the Republican visited family.
The Ethics Board will meet again on Tuesday.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A former Sandy Hook Elementary School student is launching a second annual series of remembrances to honor the 20 children and six educators who were fatally shot in December 2012.
Based on last year's success, Ashley Petersen and supporters are launching the second annual 26 Days of Kindness beginning today and ending Dec. 14, the second anniversary of the shootings.
One Sandy Hook shooting victim will be remembered each day. Wednesday is dedicated to Lauren Rousseau, a teacher at Sandy Hook who was also a Danbury resident. .
Petersen will post details of the event on the Facebook-page "26 Days of Kindness"
A Brookfield man being held at the Danbury Police station set off the sprinkler system. Danbury Police pulled over 21-year old Ryan Berry after witnesses said he hit a mailbox and drove off. Police smelled alcohol in the car and the Brookfield man failed field sobriety tests. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, evading responsibility and failure to drive right.
Police say while Berry was in a holding cell, he tampered with the sprinkler system, setting it off. The Danbury Fire Department responded to the police station as a result.
Berry now also faces a charge of criminal mischief.
A property in New Fairfield has been added to the State Register of Historic Places.
The Creamery was added to the Register by the Connecticut Historic Council on October 1st, making it eligible for a Federal Historic Preservation Enhancement Grant and several supplemental grants. The federal grant is up to $10,000 and does not require a matching grant. At the New Fairfield Board of Selectmen meeting on Thursday, it was noted that if the town applies in January, they should know by February.
A feasibility study will tell what can be done with the building on Route 37. It was suggested at the meeting that an architect should look at the building to see whether or not it is financially feasible to keep the Creamery.
The house, later a blacksmith shop, is thought to have belonged to one of the first families to settle in New Fairfield in the 19th century.
NEW YORK (AP) A new play about the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in will have a benefit reading in December in New York City to commemorate the second anniversary of the tragedy.
Eric Ulloa's "26 Pebbles,'' which was adapted from transcripts of interviews with people touched by the shootings, will have a staged reading Dec. 15 at the Culture Project's The Lynn Redgrave Theater. The director will be Igor Goldin, and prices range from $50-$150.
The play's producers are R. Erin Craig, La Vie Productions, James E. Cleveland, Randy Donaldson and Wolfstone Productions.
Proceeds from the event will benefit three charities, the Avielle Foundation, named for one of the children; Classes4Classes, founded by Sandy Hook teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis; and the My Sandy Hook Family Foundation.
Danbury's Deputy Police Chief has retired. Captain Terry Shanahan's last day on the job was November 7th. Mayor Mark Boughton says Shanahan joined the Danbury Police department in 1987 and has a master's degree in justice and law administration from West Conn.
Shanahan graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2002. The year prior, he was named Danbury Exchange Club officer of the year and received the department's medal of bravery. He is a former hostage negotiator with the Police Department's Emergency Services Unit.
Boughton says he hopes to have a new Deputy Police Chief appointment ready for the December City Council meeting.
The Danbury Fire Department has a new Lieutenant. Shawn McGee was promoted this month from firefighter to the position. McGee started his career with the Danbury Fire Department in 2005, having previously served in a volunteer company.
McGee holds a number of Fire Service certifications including as a fire service instructor, rescue technician, hazardous materials technician and aerial and pump operator among others. He received the Educational Achievement Award and the Exceptional Duty Award among other unit citations.
Boughton says McGee worked hard for the promotion, and did a phenomenal job in the interviews. He says each time McGee came in, he demonstrated how much he knew about the firefighting industry. Boughton also praised how technically proficient McGee is in his job.
The Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission has approved a 24-foot-by-24-foot concrete pad on a parcel of land on the Fairfield Hills property. The concrete was put down before formal approval was given to The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary project.
The 6-inch concrete pad is meant for a sculpture at the animal sanctuary named for one of the children killed at Sandy Hook School.
During the Commission's meeting last week, members were told that whatever water would run off from the concrete pad, would trickle through vegetation before hitting the wetland.