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AdamLanza “could take flight, which I think was the big issue, and it wasn’t a rebellious or defiant thing,” Mr. Novia said. “It was withdrawal.”

The club gave the boy a place where he could be more at ease and indulge his interest in computers. His anxieties appeared to ease somewhat, but they never disappeared. When people approached him in the hallways, he would press himself against the wall or walk in a different direction, clutching tight to his black briefcase.

Marsha Lanza described Nancy Lanza as a good mother.

“If he had needed consulting, she would have gotten it,” Marsha Lanza said. “Nancy wasn’t one to deny reality.”

But friends and neighbors said Ms. Lanza never spoke about the difficulties of raising her son. Mostly she noted how smart he was and that she hoped, even with his problems, that he would find a way to succeed.

“We never talked about the family,” John Tambascio said. “She just came in to have a great time.”

Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo in Southbury, Conn., and Michael Tarm in Crystal Lake, Ill., contributed to this report.