Down Yogananda Street in Newtown, Conn., a yellow colonial house with dark green shutters sits atop a hill two acres wide — still haunting a mending community.
It’s where Adam Lanza lived and where his mother died. He shot her to death in 2012, before he terrorized nearby Sandy Hook Elementary, murdering 20 first-graders and six educators, and then committed suicide. Now, the house is empty, stripped of furniture and light fixtures some feared might become memorabilia. It serves as a “constant reminder of the evil that resided there,” one resident said. Some neighbors have moved away, and a school bus stop was relocated because children were too scared to stand there.
The Newtown Legislative Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to demolish the 3,100-square foot home and keep the land as open space, at least for a while. Officials said the home will likely be razed in the spring.
“We sought considerable input from the [victims’] families, and the overwhelming sentiment was to tear down the house and leave it as open space,” Newton’s First Selectwoman Pat Llodra, the town’s highest elected official, told the 12-member council. “Under my tenure, I can’t see doing anything else with that property.”
Lanza’s parents, Nancy and Peter Lanza, bought the four-bedroom house in 1998. The two divorced in 2009, and Adam Lanza continued to live there with his mother.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Lanza, 20, took his mother’s guns, walked into her second-floor bedroom and shot her in the forehead while she was sleeping. Then he carried out one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
When police raided the house, they found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition, 10 knives and three samurai swords. They boarded up the front door and burned the belongings inside it.
The house, which was appraised that same year, was deemed to be worth $523,620, according to news reports. After the 2012 massacre, the Los Angeles Times reported, it was passed along to Peter Lanza. According to Reuters, it was sold by her other son, Ryan Lanza.
Hudson City Savings Bank bought the property from the family and, in December 2014, turned it over to the town at no cost.
“The only agenda with the bank was to do what the community wanted to do,” Randall Bell, a Laguna Beach-based consultant who helped negotiate the transfer, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s their town, and I’m sure they know what’s best for their community.”
Some residents urged the town to clear the property and turn it into a park. Others argued that leaving it open would be an eerie remembrance of what started there.
“Leaving the property to nature would mean there is still a sense of darkness in our neighborhood,” Amy DeLoughy, who lives across the street, told the Associated Press. “Love and light that a new family would bring would help heal some of the very deep wounds we are still tending to.”
She recommended the property be sold to someone who would build a new home on it.
Llodra has asked attorneys to include a clause in the deed that will prohibit the town from profiting from the land and, instead, use any proceeds to benefit the victims’ families.
The town tore down Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013 and is now building a new school. Earlier this week, residents met at Newtown High School and discussed plans to build a memorial as well.
For now, the Lanza home serves as a morbid tourist attraction, drawing onlookers to the quiet neighborhood.
Newtown Legislative Council chairwoman Mary Ann Jacob told the Los Angeles Times the town plans to fix that.
“It continues to be a curiosity for people to come and look at, and it’s disruptive for the people who live nearby and the families who lost their children,” she said. “I think they deserve to be able to get their lives back and move on, and this is something we can do to help them.”