Adam Lanza’s hard drive: What is on it? We may never know

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On Friday, Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother Nancy Lanza in her 36 Yogalanda St. residence in Newtown and proceeded to kill 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself, police say. (Laura Dolan/CNN)

NEWTOWN, Conn. – Investigators have so far been unable to retrieve data from a computer taken from the home of the gunman, Adam Lanza, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

It appears that Lanza had smashed the computer, extensively damaging the hard drive, the official said, adding that the FBI is assisting Connecticut State Police in trying to retrieve data from the computer.

“Two law enforcement sources said the hard drive had been removed from Lanza’s computer and broken in pieces. They said that forensic electronics experts at the FBI will examine the drive in an effort to determine with whom Lanza corresponded electronically and how he otherwise used the device.” –  Hartford Courant

Tech experts have also said Lanza may have “overwritten the drive.”

FBI electronics experts will continue to examine the drive to see what is salvageable.

With memories of last week’s school massacre still hauntingly fresh, most students in Newtown will return to class Tuesday with their sense of normalcy shattered.

They’ll see more police and more counselors in their buildings. But nothing can erase what happened to 20 other students across town at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Survivors from Sandy Hook won’t return. Their school is still a crime scene.

It’s not clear when they’ll go back to class, but when they do it’ll be at a different school in neighboring Monroe, Connecticut.

As investigators dig deeper into what led to this mass tragedy, two victims — a pair of 6-year-olds — will be buried Tuesday.

Meanwhile, more details about the gunman are slowly emerging. And under the cloud of national mourning, a renewed debate about gun control is heating up.

A former director of security for Newtown Public Schools shed new light Monday night about the gunman, Adam Lanza.

Richard Novia said Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome, based on documents as well as conversations with Lanza’s mother, who was killed shortly before the Sandy Hook massacre.

Novia said as part of his job, which he left in 2008, he would be informed of students who might pose problems to themselves or others for whatever reason.

He also said he received “intake information” — which he said “is common for any students troubled or impaired or with disabilities.” The idea was to keep track of and help students who may need it.

However, Novia said he never thought Lanza was a threat and certainly never thought he was capable of such violence.

Russ Hanoman, a friend of Lanza’s mother, previously told CNN that Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome and that he was “very withdrawn emotionally.”

But CNN has not been able to independently confirm whether Lanza was diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome, a higher-functioning form of autism. Both are developmental disorders, not mental illnesses.

Many experts say neither Asperger’s nor autism can be blamed for the rampage.

“There is absolutely no evidence or any reliable research that suggests a linkage between autism and planned violence,” the Autism Society said in a statement. “To imply or suggest that some linkage exists is wrong and is harmful to more than 1.5 million law-abiding, nonviolent and wonderful individuals who live with autism each day.”

Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist and autism expert at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, also said the gunman’s actions can’t be linked with autism spectrum disorders.

“Aggression and violence in the ASD population is reactive, not preplanned and deliberate,” he said.

For example, sometimes children with autism will get violent because they are sick or frustrated and unable to communicate how they feel.

Meanwhile, authorities are investigating the remnants of the shooter’s smashed computer, trying to find e-mails he may have sent and websites he may have visited in hopes of understanding what he was thinking, a law enforcement official said.

CNN’s Susan Candiotti reported from Newtown; Holly Yan and Greg Botelho reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Miriam Falco, Wayne Drash, Carol Cratty, Paul Steinhauser and David Williams contributed to this report.

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