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Like rest of nation, neighbor in Sandy Hook awaits victims' names

December 15, 2012|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

SANDY HOOK, Conn. -- Rhonda Cullens had heard that the suspected gunman who shot 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School was Adam Lanza.

Cullens knows several families who may have lost loved ones in the shooting and, like many in town, she was waiting at home Saturday for the list of names.

"It's been very hard not knowing who's OK. It's been very heart-wrenching. You want to see the names, but on the other hand it's going to be awful seeing the list," she said.

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Cullens remembered the Lanza family and so pored over her sons' old high school yearbooks, searching for Adam Lanza's face. But he was only listed in two, 2008 and 2009, and was not pictured in either, listed instead as "not photographed."

She said the Lanzas bought their home new on Founders Lane, where she lived, and moved in with their two little boys. The family had lived in New Hampshire before that, she said.

"We had a fairly small street, a lot of corporate transfers," Cullens said, so neighbors organized mixers like a picnic after the town's annual Labor Day parade and a ladies' night out that rotated among their homes, with participants playing Bunco, a popular board game.

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Nancy Lanza was a regular participant, a thin woman with short, strawberry blond hair, a stay-at-home mom like herself, Cullens said.

Cullens' two sons, now 19 and 22, had attended Sandy Hook Elementary. She said she knew Adam Lanza played baseball as a child, but had never met him nor can she remember hearing Nancy Lanza talk about him.

If a binder of family profiles that was circulated among neighbors in the 1990s is any indication, Adam Lanza's interests gave no hint of trouble and seem now like an All-American boyhood: "soccer, skateboarding, video games."


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