Tales Of The Lone Survivor

Penna.pngIt is said that there was one female student that was able to survive the massacre in room 8. She is commonly known as the “lone survivor”. But just like everything else in this case, she too has several narratives. Officially, Officer Leonard Penna of Newtown Police is credited for rescuing her. Because of this, I find it appropriate to begin with his statement.

1)  Penna’s statement:

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00258036 “I proceeded to the following front classroom. I entered the classroom by myself and observed one young female approximately 6 years old who was alive without any apparent injuries. The young female looked at me and stated ‘I’m scared and want to go home.’ I also observed multiple bodies lying on the ground in the classroom and as I made my way farther into the classroom I saw a bathroom door partially opened with multiple lifeless bodies on top of one another all with gunshot wounds. The young female was the only one alive in the classroom and I assured her that I was there to help her. I told the young female to stay inside the classroom while I checked to make sure I was able to get her out safely. I went to the first classroom where officers Chapman and Smith first entered and observed multiple lifeless bodies lying on the ground including what I believed to be a suspect who was lying on his right side and appeared to have been handcuffed behind his back. The ‘suspect’ appeared to be a young white adult male who had multiple holsters on him and a glock pistol lying on the ground in front of him with it either being jammed or in the lock back position. I also observed the ‘suspect’ to be wearing ear buds, which I believed them to be green in color. It was my initial belief that Officer Chapman or Officer Smith had shot the suspect although I never heard any gunshots. I then made my way back to the second classroom and grabbed the young female’s left arm with my right hand and escorted her out of the front doors of the school. As I grabbed the young female’s right arm, I felt that her sleeve was covered in blood. I remember getting the young female out to safety away from the school to where multiple personnel where, although I do not know who I left her with.”

(Note that after, he states that he re-entered the school.) And this is corroborated in the scene processing report. 

proc report 48.png
CFS 1200704597 00118939 p.48

If only everyone else was saying the same thing….

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2) Pastor Jim Solomon that was the lone survivor’s pastor at the New Hope Community Church stated that she was the first student to run out of the building. She was covered head to toe in blood. She ran up to her mom and stated “Mommy, I’m o.k but all of my friends are dead.” According to this narrative she survived by playing dead. You can watch the video here

ludwig.png3) Susan Ludwig (a parent of a student at Sandy Hook Elementary, she was at the school for a gingerbread house making event scheduled for 9:45 for her daughter’s first grade class) pretty much says the same thing but adds her own twist to it. She claims that the lone survivor came out covered head to toe with blood and flesh hanging off her and went to her mother. She doesn’t go into detail about how she came out of the school though. You can watch that interview here

Together, we have the victim’s pastor and a person that was there and witnessed her come out of the school basically stating the same thing. Perhaps the pastor was just trying to censor the flesh part out for the parent’s and child’s sake. 

However, they are the only ones telling this tale. Not only do other reports contradict this narrative, but so doesn’t the small amount of physical evidence we are deemed blessed to see. A scene like that would imply transfer blood patterns from the lone survivor. Footprints in the carpet, doorway and hallway area coming out of room 8. Hand prints on the door knob(s). Maybe even some smudging on the side of the doorway as she was coming out of the classroom. 

transfer.png
source

The photos below are from Meredith Kercher’s murder. Although the crime is different than the one we are examining, these photos in particular reflect the kind of contact patterns I am trying to describe. (this is the source for these photos http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/File_library:_Crime_scene_photos)

And here is what we have at Sandy Hook. 

(Gunsalus -interior doors #148, 149)

gunsulas interior doors 148 gunsulas interior doors 149

tranq 2 941.png
Tranquillo – Back-up photos 2 #941
walkley 566
Walkley – scene photos 566
walkley 574
Walkley – scene photos #574

Unfortunately there are no photos that are close-ups of the doorway area in or outside the classroom. But here are a few photos of the hallway. This photo is just after room 8’s door. The EMT gear on the right is right outside room 5. 

tranq 1 75.png
Tranquillo – Back-up scene photos 1 #75

The photo below shows the other end of the hallway. The door on the left with the EMT gear is room 10. I have circled room 8 in yellow. You can see a drip pattern in the center of the hallway parallel from the EMT gear but this is said to be the blood from the victim they brought out from room 10 and was brought to the hospital, but died. 

tranq 1 64.png
Tranquillo – Back-up scene photos 1 #64

I have zoomed into the area between 10 and 8, and as you can see there doesn’t seem to be any blood. 

zoom.png

If she really was covered head to toe in blood (and especially if she had flesh hanging off her) I think we’d be seeing something, but there’s nothing. The only thing corroborating their narrative is the scene processing report (“survived within the bathroom”). Officials stated that it appeared that the teachers were trying to herd the children into the bathroom to hide when the suspect came in and began shooting. They described the deceased as being in a pile, as if climbing over one another to get inside. If she was in the bathroom where all her deceased classmates were found, she would indeed have blood on her. 

sfjase4) Mergim Bajraliu, who lived nearby and had a sister inside the school and had rushed to the school after he (or his neighbor, depending on what interview you watch or article you read) heard gunfire; stated that the lone survivor’s face was covered in blood. Unfortunately he doesn’t get that much into detail. You can watch his interview here

5) TFC. Paul S. Lukienchuk’s take on it is quite interesting. 

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00172105 p.2 “) “I ran to the northeast corner of the school where the Newtown PD cruisers were parked. I saw unidentified police on the back perimeter. Two 6 or 7 year old girls followed by two older, taller boys came out the east exit and approached. One little girl was heavily blood spattered and dazed. I stopped the children and asked if they were injured, I physically checked the little girl for wounds. Which were negative. Her friend said that she was alright and ‘stuff got on her.’ I told the two to hold hands and go. The two boys appeared ok as one was skipping as they talked to each other as if nothing happened.”

Wait, what? So Officer Penna wasn’t with her? And I thought she came out of the front doors not the doors at the northeast corner? Was she walking to the firehouse? To her mom? Where did the other kids come from? I thought the lone survivor was not only one of the first out of the building but wasn’t with any classmates… 

Sgt. Brent Aiken.png6) Sgt. Brent Aiken from the Connecticut State Police Troop I was responsible for doing several interviews with eyewitnesses at the firehouse that day. He got to interview the lone survivor. In his statement he says:

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00012879 “At this time I observed a small white female student, identified as [long redacted]. After looking closer at this child, I observed that she had a significant amount of blood on her head and in her hair [redacted] She was cognizant and clear. I immediately made sure she was not physically injured and she was not. She spoke to me calmly and provided me with some basic deatails of what occurred in her classroom. Her father was present and ever so daintily wiping her face so slowly as he was in shock. He was [long redaction] like he was cleaning a china doll. I advised her that she was so “Brave” for being able to speak to me and that I would return very soon.”…… “I went back to see [redacted] in the office. The father was still cleaning the child and I advised him to take her to a medical facility to be checked further for any injuries and that we would be in contact with her at a later time that day to gather what she knew. The father agreed to take her out of the environment and get additional assistance. I offered him an ambulance and he stated they would be all set.” 

So now she’s with her father not her mother? She wasn’t covered head to toe with blood or flesh? Her sleeve wasn’t bloody? Her face wasn’t bloody? Just her head and hair? Maybe she had blood on her face but it got wiped off? Even if that did happen, her clothes would certainly still be stained right? So where did it go?

McGeever.png7) TFC John McGeever’s statement refutes the official narrative by claiming that he was the one responsible for bringing her out. 

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00017426 “I returned to the lobby and someone handed a young girl to me. Someone told me that she was not injured and ordered me to take her out of the school. I observed that she was covered in blood despite the fact that she was not injured. I took her hand and led her out of the school and across the parking lot. I handed the girl over to a mother and ambulance personnel in the parking lot and asked them to take the girl over to the ambulance on the other side of the parking lot. I returned back to the lobby of the school. The front doors of the school were now open.”

His narrative can be corroborated by M/SGT. Davis’s dashcam timeline document:

mcgeever lone survivor.png
CFS 1200704559 Book 3 00055705 p.2

In his report, after his return to the school, he witnessed Sgt. Cario wheeling out Natalie Hammond on a desk chair. This coincides with the dashcam timeline which was only 2 minutes and 8 seconds after he is seen running with someone. The only confliction is that he makes it sound as if he only went as far as the school’s parking lot while the dashcam timeline states he was running to the  firehouse. 

But, if he was really the one that escorted the lone survivor out, then why is Penna the one being credited for it? (as you can see in this article).

Maybe they’re both a little true. According to the 911 transcript, Penna passed her off to McGeever in the lobby. 

penna to mcgeever.png
CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00184096 p.15

Notice how it states that Penna’s statement says he handed her over to McGeever…Hilarious right? 

8) This narrative doesn’t have to do with her leaving the school, but I still thought it was worth adding to the list here. It’s from TFC. Michael Murdy’s report:  

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00044171 “At some point during this, a child came into the hallway from a room in the southwest corridor crying. The little girl stated over and over again, ‘she wanted to go home’. Lt. Vanghele instructed the little girl over and over again to get back into the room. The little girl subsequently retreated back into a classroom.”

Southwest hall? Thought she was in room 8? That’d be in the northeast hallway. And no, he wasn’t getting it confused. Before stating this he says “We then ended up in the main entrance area, which gave me a view of the two hallways (northeast and southwest).” He then states that they encountered Rick Thorne (the janitor) in the southwest hallway, which would be correct. Clearly he knows the difference and yet he is stating that the lone survivor was in the southwest hallway. 

How are we supposed to take this case seriously and not question the officials or the official story when something that seems so simple has so many different narratives? It’d be easier to dismiss if it was something like getting the color of her shoes wrong but that’s not the case here.

Maybe they’re not all talking about the one girl.. Maybe they’re talking about different survivors?! After all, there was a total of 11 survivors from room 10 right? 

Well, according to the official narrative, 9 were able to flee during the shooting (as you can see on page 10 of the Final Report. 4 were brought to a nearby home and 5 were picked up by a passerby and brought to the police station, leaving only 2 remaining survivors that were still at the school. (you can read more about the 11 here

Smith smallerOfficer Scott Smith from Newtown Police is credited for rescuing these 2 survivors. In his statement he says:

CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00047345 p.3 “While checking the room for a second suspect I located two uninjured children, one male and one female, inside the bathroom at the rear of the room. I told them they were safe and I instructed both children to keep the door closed and I shut the bathroom door. During that time, Officer Chapman had checked everyone else in the room for a pulse and located one female child with a pulse. Officer Chapman carried the female out of the building and I remained by the classroom door. Additional officers entered the building and began clearing rooms further down the hallway. As the hallway became more secure, I indicated to officers in the hallway that I would be removing two children from that classroom. I returned to the bathroom and told both children to close their eyes. I then carried the children out of the building and put them in the care of several adults who were located at the far end of the parking lot. The adults indicated that they were parents and one adult indicated recognition of one of the children.”

Unfortunately for Smith, Chapman’s report (CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00258158) never mentions these kids, nor does Sgt. Cario’s (CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00026724) who claimed to have been in room 10 with Smith and Chapman. But, we do have M/SGT. Davis’s dashcam document which states that at 9:57:18 he was carrying both children… but running towards the firehouse, not the far end of the parking lot….. 

smith survivors.png
 CFS 1200704559 Book 3 00055705 p.2

The 911 transcript gives a little bit more detail. 

smith 911 transcript.png
CFS 1200704559 Book 4 00184096 p.16

Either way he was carrying both a female and a male, not just a female. He also never mentions seeing blood on either of the, so I think it’s safe to say that these are different kids from the lone survivor. 

So how did we end up with so many different narrative from one truth? There are 2 different officers claiming to have rescued her while others say she ran out on her own or walked out on her own, she came out 2 different doors, she was either covered in blood, covered in blood and flesh, blood on her sleeve, blood on her face and blood in her hair and head. She was with just her mom and just her dad… But here’s a better question.. why wasn’t she seen at either triage stations? Even if she came out before the triage in the school’s parking lot was set up (which I believe was just after 10 am but I could be wrong), there was one behind the firehouse where she had to go in order to give her statement to Sgt. Aiken. There was only one person seen at either triage that day and it was Debora Pisani who was shot in the foot (you can read about this in CFS 1200704559 Book 6 00019273) . Even if an officer checked her over and relayed that information to whomever she was handed off to, one would assume a child with blood on her at a mass casualty scene would’ve been seen at triage. And if she really did come out on her own without an officer she most definitely should’ve gone to triage. 

If only we could sit down with these people and ask them these questions ourselves. Guess until then, we are just expected to pick and choose whatever narrative we want and run with it. 

 

You can download all available documents, police audio, video and photos here: 

https://cspsandyhookreport.ct.gov/