Adam Lanza’s mother didn’t like leaving him alone, mediator says

Nancy J. Lanza was the mother of suspected mass shooter Adam Lanza.
ABC News via Getty Images
Nancy J. Lanza was the mother of suspected mass shooter Adam Lanza.

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A mediator who worked with Adam Lanza’s parents during their divorce in 2009 says his mother said she didn’t like to leave him alone and that his parents went out of their way to accommodate him.

Lanza killed his mother before going to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday morning and killing 20 children and six adults before taking his own life.

Paula Levy recalled Monday that during about 10 two-hour sessions, Nancy and Peter Lanza were respectful of each other and concerned about their son’s needs. Levy never met Adam Lanza but says the couple mentioned he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism-like disorder, and they spent considerable time talking about how to provide for his well-being.


Levy says she spoke in hopes of making clear that the Lanzas were loving parents who wanted the best for their son.

Divorce papers detail care for Adam Lanza, alimony

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When the Lanzas divorced, the settlement left Nancy with a comfortable income and the comfort of knowing that the boy in her care would have his education paid for and his medical insurance covered.

If there was bitterness and anger between Nancy and Peter Lanza, it is not described in court papers. And there was no mention of any lingering mental health or medical issues for the then-teenage boy, nothing that could even hint at the horror he would unleash three years later.

Adam Lanza shot his mother in the head with a rifle Friday, then headed to Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with her high-power rifle, two handguns and enough ammunition to kill nearly every child in the building, authorities said. He killed 20 students and six adults before police arrived and he shot himself.

The Lanzas married in June 1981 in Kingston, N.H. But the documents show Adam lived his whole life at the home in Newtown where his mother was found dead in her pajamas, on her bed.


Nancy Lanza filed for divorce in 2009 and the documents suggest little argument. The couple agreed to split up their jewelry, clothes and family photos. Adam would live with his mother, the couple agreed, and they agreed to talk about the important decisions.

If it turned out they couldn’t agree on something related to Adam’s upbringing, Nancy Lanza ‘‘shall make the final decision,’’ according to the Sept. 24, 2009, settlement approved by Judge Stanley Novak.

There is nothing in the file that discusses the relationship’s underlying problems. The file simply says the marriage ‘‘has broken down irretrievably and there is no possibility of getting back together.’’

Nancy Lanza, received $289,800 in alimony this year. It was to continue until December 2023, with slight increases each year for cost of living.

As part of the divorce, Nancy Lanza was ordered to attend a parenting education program. The provider, Family Centers Inc., certified that she completed the program on June 3 and June 10, 2009. The document says only that Lanza ‘‘satisfactorily completed the program.’’


Authorities pored over computer, cellphone and credit card records trying to piece together the Lanza family’s days leading up to the shooting. Peter Lanza, in a statement this weekend, said that like everyone else, he could not comprehend what had unfolded.

‘‘We too are asking why,’’ he said. ‘‘We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.’’

Guns were a hobby of Nancy Lanza

A friend of the Nancy Lanza says guns were simply a hobby for her.

John Bergquist told NBC’s ‘‘Today’’ show on Monday that she loved the arts and culture and that shooting was one of her hobbies, and that she was not a survivalist.

Nancy Lanza was found dead in her bed on Friday, shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.

Another friend, Ellen Adriani, told the ‘‘Today’’ show that Lanza was a devoted mother.

She says Nancy Lanza always made herself available to Adam and his needs. She says he came first with his mother.

AP National Writer Adam Geller contributed this report.