Lanza Destroyed Computer Hard Drive Before School Shooting, Leaving Police Grasping For Any Online Evidence

 
on December 17 2012 11:24 PM
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Police investigating the Newtown, Conn., home where Adam Lanza lived with his mother found a smashed computer and broken hard drive, leaving many questions unanswered about his motive and how long he had been planning the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School where he killed 26 people, including 20 children.

The smashed hard drive left was among the “seized significant evidence at the residence,” Connecticut State Police spokesman Paul Vance told ABC News. The badly damaged computer left doubts as to whether investigators ever would be able to decipher what Lanza had been doing on his computer leading up to the crime.

Vance said sorting through the amount of forensic evidence recovered from the home, where Lanza killed his mother, Nancy, before going to the school, will be a “painstaking process.” The computer “appeared to have been badly damaged with a hammer or screwdriver.”

Law enforcement also used a robot to search the Lanza home for explosives, although none were found. Lanza’s care to destroy the hard drive put doubt into the mind of Michael Kessler that any evidence would be found. Kessler, CEO of the data recovery firm Kessler International, spoke with Computer World.

“Obviously, they [law enforcement] have a lot of resources to do it. And, if the drive's platters aren't smashed they can put them into another drive and read them,” he said. “But if he broke the platters, the likelihood of data recovery is slim to none.”

Sources said Lanza used his computer to play violent video games in which the player graphically engages his opponents from a first person viewpoint. It should be mentioned, however, that millions of adults and children play games of that sort without acting out their own shooting spree.

Along with a search history and any indicators Lanza may have given over social media, the FBI hoped to find out who the killer corresponded with online. At this time it’s unclear if or when they’ll be able to do so.

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