The body of Adam Lanza, who carried out the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, has been claimed but the whereabouts of the corpse remains unknown. The body was claimed by Lanza’s father, Peter Lanza, according to a family spokesperson.
Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself after he shot his mother and then slaughtered 20 first graders and six school staffers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 in one of the worst school shootings in American history.
The funeral home wants to remain anonymous and geneticists at the University of Connecticut have agreed to a request from the state medical examiner to study his DNA in what seems to be a first of its kind study.
But like many of the mass murderers before Lanza, what happens to his body will likely be unknown.
James Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University and a mass shooting expert said in these types of cases “the grave is not marked because the family is afraid the grave will be defaced.”
“When there is a funeral for the perpetrator it is private,” Fox said. “Press is not kept apprised of when it is or where it is for the same reason.”
Fox said it’s often also because the “families don’t want the attention.”
“Families are often blamed,” Fox said. “If they didn’t have a role in creating the dysfunction, people feel they should have seen something and intervened. It’s not fair to blame them. They are not to blame, but it’s the truth.”
That is reportedly what happened to the two who were the first to become infamous for a school attack: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris who committed the Columbine High School shooting. At the time, U.S. News and World Report covered Klebold’s funeral.
“Only a handful of people came to say goodbye to Dylan Klebold,” the magazine reported in May 1999. “His long, skinny body fit awkwardly into the cardboard casket where it would lie until cremation. His hands were folded on his chest, and stuffed animals surrounded him.”
The article said that the stories told from those attending made it seem as though his “life had ended at age 12, not five years later in a murderous rampage.”
The Roanoke Times reported at the time that the Virginia Tech Shooter Sueng-Hui Cho’s body was released to his family and he is reportedly buried in Fairfax, Va., but no other details of his burial were ever made public.
Recent confessed serial killer Israel Keyes’ family held a funeral for him earlier this month in the small Washington town of Deer Park, according to the Associated Press. He killed himself in his Anchorage, Alaska, jail cell after confessing to murdering eight people. His immediate family attended, but his burial was also in an undisclosed location in Washington State.
Like rampage shooters, serial killers are often buried in unmarked gravesites. At the time, the Associated Press reported that Ted Bundy requested in his will for his body to be cremated and his ashes scattered over Washington State’s Cascade Mountains in an undisclosed location.