Newtown parents learn comforting details about son’s death

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By Susan Candiotti and Thom Patterson


(CNN) — His parents remember Dylan Hockley as such a happy child.

He was 6 and full of joy, his mother, Nicole Hockley, says.

She said he was always smiling and described his laugh as infectious. When his dad would return to their Newtown, Connecticut, home each day, Dylan would run to his father, Ian, saying,”Daddy!”

It’s been exactly a month since Dylan and his teacher, Anne Marie Murphy, and 24 other students and adults were killed by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

As would be expected, coping has been hard.

“It’s a strange moment when you wake up in the morning and for that brief second everything is as it was,” she says. “And then you realize that nothing is ever as it was — and never will be again.”

On Monday, after putting themselves “in a little cocoon,” as she put it, Hockley decided it was time to tell the world about Dylan.

“He was autistic,” she says, “but incredibly empathetic.”

“He just wanted to have fun.”

Most of all, Dylan loved to bounce on a trampoline in the family’s backyard, remembers his father.

“I’d say, ‘Go out on the trampoline!’ Ian Hockley says. “And he would always say, ‘are you coming, Daddy?'”

Together, they would vault up on the trampoline and bounce, sometimes joined by Dylan’s brother, Jake, who is two years older.

“If I didn’t go, Dylan wouldn’t go,” Ian Hockley remembers. “He just wanted to have so much fun with me.”

Just down the street lived Adam Lanza, 20. Authorities said Lanza opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary before taking his own life. They said he killed his mother, Nancy, before the school shooting.

Asked whether they knew the Lanzas, Nicole Hockley stiffened and said no.

But they say the pain has made it impossible to even drive past the Lanza home. So they are moving elsewhere in the community.

“You can’t drive up your driveway every day and see the house of a person who took your son’s life and who brought so much pain to so many people,” Nicole said. “We are leaving that house. We will stay in Newtown, but that’s just one thing too much. I can’t do that every day.”

And they have trouble answering Jake’s questions, such as why? And will this happen again?

Nicole says these are not things an 8-year-old should have to worry about.

But Ian says it’s Jake’s difficult questions that give them the will to get involved — to try to make something positive come from the tragedy.

“We’re just focusing on getting up each day,” Nicole said.

As she puts it, the family is “trying to find a way to make sense of this by taking some action and getting involved.”

They’ve started a fund in Dylan’s name to raise money to support programs and educational aids for other children with autism and other special needs.

They haven’t learned all the details of the massacre that happened on December 14. Until now, they haven’t felt much like watching TV or interacting with the outside world.

But one detail has given the Hockleys comfort.

A few days after the tragedy, the Hockley’s ran into Mike Murphy. His wife, Anne Marie Murphy, taught their son at Sandy Hook.

He revealed to her that — in the terrible aftermath of the attack — first responders found Dylan and his teacher together.

“He said that Anne Marie Murphy had been found with her arms wrapped around Dylan … that is what we had hoped for — in a very strange sort of way to hope for something.”

“She loved him and he loved her and she would’ve looked after him no matter what,” she says, fighting back tears. “To know that he was with her, and that he wasn’t alone, that gives you a huge peace of mind … to know that he was loved even in those last moments.”

Photo Credit:  Twitter / December 16, 2012

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  • Billie

    I am so sorry for your lost and hope that your family as well as all the other families can find peace and comfort. RIP Sandy Hook Victims

  • Lori

    Why did they leave the victims in the school and sneak them out in the middle of the night? Why was there no ambulance at the school? Where is the school videos? Why was no one running in panic? I've only seeb one picture of the kids being lead out of the school. There was at least 400 peole in that building and no pictures of anyone coming out.. This story does not make sense. Of course they want money..

    • Annoymous

      Yes this is so sad i can relate about losing a spouse it took me 4-5 years too get over him being gone i can’t imagine what the parents are going threw though i have 4 children my youngest is 8 i would have a breakdown if anything happen too them. my prayers go out too the families at Sandy Hook Elementary what a tragedy that should have never happen.

    • Mere

      Well, how about some evidence and facts. The access drive to the school did not permit for all of the emergency trucks up the drive. Several victims were taken to the hospital in ambulances. Only one adult did survive. I am a teacher. I know for a fact that you can not display photos or videos of minors publicly. In order to do so each photo/video needs approval by all of the parents of the students and the school board or super. (To go further in depth, if a photo depicts a child but the face of the child is smaller than so many bytes it can be shown with only the school board or super's permission). Also, look at some photos of all of the emergency crew around the school. Go here if you need to:… Further more, the scene needed to be left so that all of the evidence could be accounted for and documented properly. Once they could do that the police department could release the bodies. From reading and watching on tv, they very respectfully let each family go in one at a time that is why some families did not get to go in until much later into the night. But to in conclusion…way to be a troll.

    • K-anne

      WTH ARE U TALKING ABOUT? IF the families involved DO get $, they deserve it! God dont like ugly LORI & what u just posted is pretty ugly. HOPEFULLY u meant something else, maybe you commented on the wrong thread. Geeeesh. And please, this is not a conspiracy.
      God bless the families ….

  • Alice

    Lori you should be shamed of yourself for even saying anything like that this mother just opened her heart to talk about her loss of her baby I will pray for you because you really need to be prayed for because god does not like ugly God bless the family

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