– Connecticut school shooting: police fail to recover data from Adam Lanza’s computer (Telegraph, Dec 18, 2012)
Police have been unable to recover data from gunman Adam Lanza’s computer after the 20-year-old deliberately sabotaged the machine’s hard-drive, investigators have said.
Forensic experts revealed the software had been smashed so extensively that attempts to retrieve potentially crucial evidence such as emails had failed.
A joint effort to piece together the remains of the hard-drive, reported to have been damaged with a screwdriver or hammer, was undertaken by both Connecticut State police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Authorities had hoped its data would shed some light on the reason for Lanza’s deadly killing spree. Detectives have so far been unable to provide any definitive link between the young man and the school he attacked.
“It looked like he took steps to damage it – he smashed it,” an official connected to the investigation told the New York Times.
Lanza shot dead 20 children under the age of eight as well as six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, last Friday.
Federal investigators have since interviewed at length both his father Peter, a tax specialist, and his elder brother Ryan, 24, in an effort to determine the catalyst behind the callous attack.
But despite hours of questioning it is understood the pair were unable to explain why Lanza acted so violently. “In all that time, they got no real information that could help figure this out,” an official who wished to remain anonymous said.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Paul Vance, a spokesman for State police, said investigators were continuing to “examine everything and anything” relevant to the shooting, including mobile phones and computer game consoles. No letters or notes from Lanza have been found offering a motive.
Police are also likely to concentrate their efforts on statements provided by vice principle Natalie Hammond, 40, who is recovering in hospital after being injured in the shooting.
The teacher, along with a second survivor who is understood to be an employee at the school, will be critical in helping piece together an explanation for the tragedy.
Lanza, who shot dead his own mother while she slept at the house they shared five miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, is known to have enjoyed using guns and is understood to have been encouraged to visit shooting ranges.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have established that mother and son sometimes visited ranges together and police are continuing to interview local firearm dealers as part of their investigation.
Officials said they were also aware that Lanza had been a keen computer gamer, and enjoyed some of the particularly violent varieties of war games.
FBI investigator Robert Paquette said: “Many of these games are very, very violent. I can’t help but believe these can affect the minds of someone unbalanced.”
A spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, in Farmington, Connecticut, confirmed that no family member had yet come forward to claim the bodies of Lanza or his mother. All other victims of the shooting had been handed over to loved ones, she said.