HARTFORD -- While doctors and scientists conduct a battery of toxicological tests and genetic analysis to help determine what turned Adam Lanza into a psychopathic killing machine Dec. 14, the state's chief medical examiner doubts the reports will offer any answers.
Already, he said, an examination of what remained of Lanza's brain showed nothing unusual.
"It's a fishing expedition," said H. Wayne Carver II, whose autopsy of Lanza is one of nearly 1,000 he has conducted in his 30-plus years of experience. "I don't think we'll find answers. But that doesn't mean you don't look."
Lanza killed 20 students and six educators during what some have called a video-game inspired shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He ended the terror by putting a gun to his head.
Carver said the examination of Lanza's brain showed "no tumor ... no gross deformity."
But the medical examiner didn't expect to find a gross deformity.
"That would be associated with very severe disabilities," Carver explained. He said people who suffer from such deformities usually require a "custodial" setting.
Additionally, an often-published photo of Lanza gives the impression he had a large head and might have suffered from a genetic mutation called Fragile X syndrome.
Fragile X is "the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability and the most common known genetic cause of autism or autism spectrum disorders," according to the National Fragile X Foundation.
The mutation involves the FMR1 gene not producing enough protein for the brain to grow properly. This causes mental retardation, usually in boys, and the individual is left with deformities such as a large forehead or a big face.
"We measured his head and it fell in the normal range," Carver said.
The toxicology exam, which could take several weeks, involves testing a person's urine, saliva or blood for up to 30 different drugs at a time.
Carver said tests are done to determine if the person had taken any type of drug that might "affect behavior."
He said these would include psychiatric medications used to treat anxiety, seizures and other issues. The toxicology exam also looks for pain medication, vitamins and natural supplements, along with illegally obtained drugs and alcohol.
"We don't test for marijuana," he added.
In this particular toxicology test, Carver said he would be looking for the "presence or absence" of particular drugs.
He said the result could provide "potentially valuable information" in creating a full picture of Lanza.
As for claims Lanza suffered from Asperger's syndrome, an autism-related disorder, Carver said that requires a "functional" test and in this case, the patient was deceased.
Additionally, Carver was asked if he thought any biochemical issues like an excess or deficiency of dopamine, serotonin or other neurotransmitters might have played a role in Lanza's behavior.
"Don't over read on that," he warned.
"Inborne errors of (issues like) metabolism are not subtle," he said. "Most are fatal."