Alaine Griffin, Josh Kovner
The Hartford Courant
12:35 AM EST, December 28, 2013
Buried in the thousands of pages of police reports released Friday into the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, new details about Adam Lanza's mental health and his treatment have emerged, revealing that he was seen at the Yale Child Study Center in his early teens and was prescribed the antidepressant Celexa.
The case files also delve deeper into the actions that Peter Lanza took on behalf of his son, Adam, in the years before and after Peter Lanza's divorce from Nancy Lanza in 2009. And the files reveal how Nancy Lanza appeared not to follow the advice of her son's physicians, taking her son off his medication and failing to reschedule missed appointments.
The newly released reports come at a time when members of the state's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission have sharply criticized the recently released prosecutor's summary of the investigation as lacking any real information about the mental health of the gunman who killed 20 first-graders and six educators on Dec. 14, 2012.
In August, Peter Lanza provided state police detectives with documents relating to Adam Lanza's schooling and "psychological history,'' according to the case files released Friday.
Included are emails between Peter Lanza and Kathleen Koenig, a clinical nurse specialist in psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, "regarding her treatment sessions with the shooter, as well as an evaluation by" Dr. Paul Fox, a former Connecticut psychiatrist now living in New Zealand.
Details of a three-hour exam that Adam Lanza had in 2006 with another Yale Child Study psychiatrist, Dr. Robert A. King, were released for the first time Friday.
The Lanzas went to King after Peter Lanza sought help for his son through the Employee Assistance Program at his workplace, The General Electric Corp., according to a state police report.
Peter Lanza reported that his son told him when he was about 8 or 9 that he "loved being a kid," but that when he turned about 11 or 12, he seemed stressed, frustrated and less happy.
Adam Lanza, who was prone to anxiety, was becoming more isolated, too, and viewed his Newtown home as a "comfort zone," while school and interacting with his peers "led to pressure" for him, Peter Lanza told police.
According to the police files, King said that Adam Lanza "displayed a profound autism spectrum disorder with rigidity, isolation and a lack of comprehension of ordinary social interaction and communications." Lanza was also diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder.
King told police, "My concern was that the shooter's social isolation and withdrawal was increasing."
King recommended that Adam Lanza receive further treatment at the center and referred Nancy Lanza to Koenig.
In her sworn statement to police, Koenig said that she had four face-to-face meetings with Adam Lanza between October 2006 and February 2007 and corresponded with Nancy Lanza by telephone and through email messages.
At that time, Lanza was being seen by Fox, whom Koenig said was Lanza's "primary psychiatrist."
Koenig said that Lanza's obsessive compulsive disorder "severely limited his ability to lead a normal, well-adjusted life."
She described him as "emotionally paralyzed" and said that he would participate in multiple daily rituals like repeated hand washing and showering and obsessively changing the blue polo shirts and khaki pants that he wore exclusively — behavior that forced Nancy Lanza to do up to three loads of laundry a day.
The report said that Adam Lanza would change socks 20 times a day.
She said that Adam Lanza was also sensitive to light and was unable to touch doorknobs with his bare hands.
Koenig prescribed Celexa and recommended that he have follow-up visits at her office.
But Nancy Lanza did not appear to take her advice, Koenig said.
"Koenig described Nancy Lanza's response to her recommendations as 'non-compliant,'" the police files said.
Once when Koenig prescribed a small dose of Celexa to Adam Lanza, Nancy Lanza called Koenig's office to report that Adam Lanza was "unable to raise his arm" and she blamed it on the medication. She told Koenig that her son would no longer be taking the medication.
Koenig attempted to convince Nancy Lanza that the medication was not causing the arm ailment but "Nancy Lanza was not receptive to Koenig's reasoning," the police reports said.
During her talks with Adam Lanza, Koenig said that he would ask her about schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorders but would never elaborate about whether he was experiencing any of the symptoms.
At one point — the reports do not list a date — Adam Lanza and his mother missed an appointment and never rescheduled the visit. Koenig contacted Fox and they agreed that Adam Lanza's "behavioral-based therapy would remain" his primary course of treatment and Koenig said she planned to assist Fox with Lanza.
"However, she stated that Adam Lanza never returned for a follow-up visit," the police files said.
The records don't indicate that there were additional treatment sessions for Lanza after February 2007.
Fox told police in a Dec. 17, 2012, telephone interview that he had destroyed any records he had of his treatment of Lanza but recalled last seeing him when he was about 15. He said the teen was "very rigid" and "resistant to engagement" and recalled him having "aggression problems."
So while Nancy Lanza appeared not to take the advice of the physicians, Peter Lanza appeared to be reaching out for help and information for his youngest son. The father had joined the Asperger's Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, and had sought information on at least two other support groups. He gave detectives his copy of a brochure for Chapel Haven, a school and living center for people with cognitive disabilities in New Haven.
Peter Lanza, who lived with his new wife in Stamford, turned over emails that he had exchanged with the Stamford school district about the services available for students with Asperger's and autism, as well as notes he had taken while researching careers and other life options after high school for people on the autism spectrum.
Peter Lanza also turned over copies of "Performance Perceptual Tests" that Adam Lanza had undergone with the psychologist at Newtown High School.
By late 2006, Adam Lanza, then a student at the high school, was exhibiting a high level of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, according to a police summary of an evaluation by the school psychologist, Michael Ridley.
In his evaluation, Ridley noted that the teenager's conditions had a severe effect on Lanza's performance, "limiting his participation in the general education curriculum.'' Ridley reported that Lanza, who excelled in academics, showed superior skills in writing, vocabulary, math, and nonverbal reasoning, but was weak in areas requiring social sensitivity and common-sense reasoning.
Ridley concluded that Lanza should continue to be "eased into more regular classroom time" and maintain his relationship with a tutor at the school.
However, at the end of his sophomore year, Nancy Lanza withdrew her son from Newtown High School. He attended Western Connecticut State University as a 17-year-old, but left after one year. Following a stint at Norwalk Community College, he ended his formal schooling. He was 18.
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