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Old 09-02-2020, 07:10 PM   #31
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But what sort of accident could break the gun like that, leave him with a bullet hole in the temple, and a wound on the top of his head?
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:36 AM   #32
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But what sort of accident could break the gun like that, leave him with a bullet hole in the temple, and a wound on the top of his head?
I mean it's a small possibility that he could have climbed a tree, accidentally discharged the weapon, and the resulting fall broke the rifle and the wound on the crown of Norman's head. I think the suicide ruling was done based off of the medical examiner's report.
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Old 09-05-2020, 08:38 AM   #33
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I mean it's a small possibility that he could have climbed a tree, accidentally discharged the weapon, and the resulting fall broke the rifle and the wound on the crown of Norman's head. I think the suicide ruling was done based off of the medical examiner's report.
In the accident scenario, how does he discharge the rifle and get a bullet wound in his temple? I can buy the discharge, but how badly is the gun made that the bullet is going in his temple? I would think falling from a tree would produce worse results to your head than just a wound to the crown, or in some cases, not at all (falling on his side, back, etc). He would have to fall straight down and hit something exactly on his crown for that to happen.

If you're assuming he's in the tree and shoots himself then I can buy the gun falling and breaking. But if he's not in the tree, then how does the gun break?
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Old 09-10-2020, 01:48 PM   #34
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In the accident scenario, how does he discharge the rifle and get a bullet wound in his temple? I can buy the discharge, but how badly is the gun made that the bullet is going in his temple? I would think falling from a tree would produce worse results to your head than just a wound to the crown, or in some cases, not at all (falling on his side, back, etc). He would have to fall straight down and hit something exactly on his crown for that to happen.

If you're assuming he's in the tree and shoots himself then I can buy the gun falling and breaking. But if he's not in the tree, then how does the gun break?
The accident scenario relies entirely on coincidences - Norman falling out of a tree, dropping the gun and having it accidentally discharge and strike him in the temple just so before breaking apart as it did on the ground. That was the prevailing theory here for a long time (at least until Cars brought up the Coroner's report that mentioned the blood spatter on his hand - pointing to suicide)
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Old 09-10-2020, 04:25 PM   #35
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The accident scenario relies entirely on coincidences - Norman falling out of a tree, dropping the gun and having it accidentally discharge and strike him in the temple just so before breaking apart as it did on the ground. That was the prevailing theory here for a long time (at least until Cars brought up the Coroner's report that mentioned the blood spatter on his hand - pointing to suicide)
That makes sense to me, but then how do we explain the broken gun on a suicide? Is he in the tree for that as well?

I hate to be a broken record on this, but the broken gun is confusing to me. It would mean he has to be in the tree for the suicide as well, unless there's some other way it could have broken that I'm missing.
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Old 09-11-2020, 09:04 AM   #36
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That makes sense to me, but then how do we explain the broken gun on a suicide? Is he in the tree for that as well?

I hate to be a broken record on this, but the broken gun is confusing to me. It would mean he has to be in the tree for the suicide as well, unless there's some other way it could have broken that I'm missing.
If Norman climbed up the tree to shoot himself, the fall from the tree could have broken the gun and resulted with the wound to his head.
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Old 09-26-2020, 10:27 AM   #37
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My dad had about 6 acres of land when I was a kid and I would always wander around out there in nature. I heard noises that sounded like humans arguing. I hid in the brush and something told me to stay quiet and I hid as two men who did not belong on our property were walking around with rifles. I was terrified and spent 2 hours behind that bush after I couldn't see or hear them anymore.

God only knows what would have happened to me if they saw me. I told my dad and he and my uncles went out on their four wheelers with their pistols looking for the guys and they were no where to be found.

I think Norman came in contact with some shady people but they saw him before he saw them and they got the drop on him sadly.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:16 AM   #38
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If Norman climbed up the tree to shoot himself, the fall from the tree could have broken the gun and resulted with the wound to his head.

Unless the rifle was not good quality, extremely old and worn, or very shoddily put back together after being disassembled (possibly for cleaning), it is very unlikely it will break. It is possible the wooden stock could crack but not likely for the entire gun to break in half. Most ground in wooded areas is not concrete-like. Natural ground generally has some give. Guns are very sturdy as they are designed to handle recoil from the explosion of a hammer striking a primer and causing an explosion designed to fire a lead projectile over 1000 yards (and more, depending on the caliber). The UM segment did not specify how the gun broke (if there was heavy barrel obstruction, the compression can cause a barrel to explode.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:26 AM   #39
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My dad had about 6 acres of land when I was a kid and I would always wander around out there in nature. I heard noises that sounded like humans arguing. I hid in the brush and something told me to stay quiet and I hid as two men who did not belong on our property were walking around with rifles. I was terrified and spent 2 hours behind that bush after I couldn't see or hear them anymore.

God only knows what would have happened to me if they saw me. I told my dad and he and my uncles went out on their four wheelers with their pistols looking for the guys and they were no where to be found.

I think Norman came in contact with some shady people but they saw him before he saw them and they got the drop on him sadly.

That's exactly what I believe happened as well. Using a rifle to commit suicide is odd to begin with. Also, several people who knew Norman state he did not exhibit any signs of being suicidal. There is also the strange case involving his wallet. There were also heavy concerns of county corruption (possibly involving narcotics) in the area (based on comment posters in the UM page involving this case).
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Old 10-05-2020, 06:14 PM   #40
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A comment left on the youtube video:

"I am from Picayune, Ms. My mother went to school with Norman. You can ask every body in my town that knows about Norman's death and the only people that will say it was suicide is anyone that was on good terms with Sheriff Lumpkin. Everyone else has no doubt it was a murder, and to this day so many have no doubt that Sheriff Lumpkin, knew more than he let on. They only kind of sheriff that would refuse to do an investigate to bring justice to an innocent person.....is a sheriff that is hiding something.

Also this: Norman's wallet was empty when they found his body but...

Not long after Norman's death his ID was found in New York.

It wasn't suicide, plain and simple."
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Old 10-05-2020, 07:48 PM   #41
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That does not shock me at all. It's essential UM. Leave out important details, and present the family member's perspective and version of events as objective fact. Make law enforcement, if interviewed, seem as cold as possible and suspicious when possible. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I have never thought that Norman Ladner was murdered. Nor have I ever believed that his mother was approached by someone at the funeral home who told her something to the effect of, "your son is dead, move on." True Crime shows, like UM, have done a massive disservice (and continue to do so) for their downplaying of mental illness and/or complete ignoring of it. We know that Norman liked the outdoors and that his father found some radio equipment and a bullet in the woods. Then the segment heavily implies that he was murdered after stumbling on a drug deal, of which no evidence was presented.

I lean towards an accident, but would not rule out suicide. There's just not enough information to say 100% certainty either way. But I do not believe he was murdered.

His mother says that Norman would come home between 7-7:30 p.m., but that she began to become worried about him when he wasn't home by 7. That's always been an interesting remark to me.
I've always leaned towards accident. I live in Michigan and accidents do happen. The parents accepted this conclusion but once suicide got thrown in, it seems like things went haywire.

Yeah, there was a radio in the woods, but that could be anything. Mom could have misinterpreted the conversation she had at the funeral home. I can't see murders being that brazen in a small town. I don't see murder here at all.

To me, accident is the most plausible. However, if new evidence comes along to point in a different direction, I'll read it with an open mind.
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Old 10-10-2020, 11:31 AM   #42
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Just saw the Norman Ladner UM segment. This is especially tragic, given that this kid was so young & had his whole life ahead of him.

As always, great discussion in this thread re: this case.

When I initially started watching the segment, I was thinking he may have been the victim of a hunting accident - i.e., that another hunter a distance away accidentally fired in his direction & killed him (maybe thinking he was an animal, etc.) I know people get killed in hunting accidents in this way. However, it seems that is completely ruled out due to them being able to prove that he was shot at very close range.

Re: the possibility that he committed suicide - it's plausible. Just because his parents didn't think he was depressed, etc. doesn't mean he wasn't having issues. Also, many teenagers go through difficult times. So, I definitely this is a possibility.

However, for some reason I tend to agree more with the murder theory. The farmland that Norman was hunting in was very desolate & isolated. I can easily see him coming upon a situation where he inadvertently witnessed a criminal act (drugs, etc.) and the criminals killed him - so he wouldn't tell the authorities what they were doing.

And, if he was murdered - I don't think it was by anyone who knew him beforehand. I just think he may have stumbled upon something nefarious, and was unfortunately eliminated as a result.

I kind of discount the conversation the mother had with the stranger in the funeral home. Based on what she said, it did sound like she was being "warned off" from investigating her son's death further. However:

1) She may have misinterpreted/misunderstood what she was told.
2) The stranger may have been some mentally ill weirdo, or some sick person who just wanted to screw with her - unfortunately, people out there do exist.

Last edited by Latka Gravas; 10-10-2020 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 12-31-2020, 01:37 PM   #43
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Was watching this segment again yesterday and for some reason, a detail on the autopsy report jumped out at me, although I'd seen it before: Fatty change of the liver.

Although seventeen year-old boys certainly can develop fatty livers, they're typically overweight or obese. Although I'm nearly certain the portrait of Norman shown in the segment wasn't a recent one, he doesn't appear to fit either of those descriptors. People without excess weight problems can and do develop fatty liver, although they're usually "metabolically obese" and have a host of other problems, noteably excess visceral (around organs) fat which may not be apparent from an outward assessment. One would think if this was the case with Norman, that would be noted at autopsy as that is an abnormal finding.

This leaves genetic susceptibility and excessive alcohol consumption.

We know absolutely little about Norman himself except that he was 17 years old, came from a family of seven, enjoyed hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors, and crafting in his barn workshop. That he was reportedly a punctual kid, and would always show up to help clean up the family store at closing. And that's it! Almost nothing!

I would love to know more about Norman's health history and whether he may have had a known or suspected alcohol use problem. By all accounts this doesn't seem to be the case, but all of our accounts are critically limited. If Norman ever (and I am not implying that he absolutely did) have a problem with drinking, that might seal the deal for me on a suicide ruling.

However, I have been considering lately that this could have been something else entirely.

I turned over the theory that Norman could've been shot accidentally by a trespasser illegally hunting deer, perhaps, on the Ladner property. Then I remembered: there were powder burns around the entrance wound, so it had to have been close contact.

I then considered whether a trespasser could've unintentionally chanced upon Norman in the woods and shot him simply because they weren't up to anything good, perhaps theft or some other kind of rather petty misdeed, and because they saw Norman was carrying a firearm himself. Not wanting to be dusted themselves, they shot Norman before he could fire first, and gave themselves an opportunity to flee the area.

But the fact still remains that the entrance wound showed clear characteristics of a close contact injury, two feet away or less. If one is attempting to mitigate a threat from a firearm, why would they come within such a short distance of the person holding the gun?

I concede that it's unusual that Norman's wallet apparently wasn't cataloged among the items recovered from the scene, but the kid was basically at home on his family's property. Would he have carried the wallet on him under those circumstances? And what happened to it?
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:03 PM   #44
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Was watching this segment again yesterday and for some reason, a detail on the autopsy report jumped out at me, although I'd seen it before: Fatty change of the liver.

Although seventeen year-old boys certainly can develop fatty livers, they're typically overweight or obese. Although I'm nearly certain the portrait of Norman shown in the segment wasn't a recent one, he doesn't appear to fit either of those descriptors. People without excess weight problems can and do develop fatty liver, although they're usually "metabolically obese" and have a host of other problems, noteably excess visceral (around organs) fat which may not be apparent from an outward assessment. One would think if this was the case with Norman, that would be noted at autopsy as that is an abnormal finding.

This leaves genetic susceptibility and excessive alcohol consumption.

We know absolutely little about Norman himself except that he was 17 years old, came from a family of seven, enjoyed hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors, and crafting in his barn workshop. That he was reportedly a punctual kid, and would always show up to help clean up the family store at closing. And that's it! Almost nothing!

I would love to know more about Norman's health history and whether he may have had a known or suspected alcohol use problem. By all accounts this doesn't seem to be the case, but all of our accounts are critically limited. If Norman ever (and I am not implying that he absolutely did) have a problem with drinking, that might seal the deal for me on a suicide ruling.

However, I have been considering lately that this could have been something else entirely.

I turned over the theory that Norman could've been shot accidentally by a trespasser illegally hunting deer, perhaps, on the Ladner property. Then I remembered: there were powder burns around the entrance wound, so it had to have been close contact.

I then considered whether a trespasser could've unintentionally chanced upon Norman in the woods and shot him simply because they weren't up to anything good, perhaps theft or some other kind of rather petty misdeed, and because they saw Norman was carrying a firearm himself. Not wanting to be dusted themselves, they shot Norman before he could fire first, and gave themselves an opportunity to flee the area.

But the fact still remains that the entrance wound showed clear characteristics of a close contact injury, two feet away or less. If one is attempting to mitigate a threat from a firearm, why would they come within such a short distance of the person holding the gun?

I concede that it's unusual that Norman's wallet apparently wasn't cataloged among the items recovered from the scene, but the kid was basically at home on his family's property. Would he have carried the wallet on him under those circumstances? And what happened to it?
I love your medical analysis! You're obviously a health care professional and I'm obviously not, but everything I know about fatty liver stuff is right on the nose with what you said. (The Husband leans towards having one. He's not a big drinker, nor is he obese. He's been hit with the genetic stick and we asked a lot of questions to the doctor about it.)

Anyway, I digress. You're right that we know very little about Norman as a person, other than he was a "good kid." I would also like to know if he was a heavy drinker... because The Husband, who is in pretty good shape and not a drinker, was not given the "fatty liver" diagnosis until he was in his late 30's.

Meg, in your experience, do you typically see 17 year old kids with this diagnosis? Because I'm with you. If he was a heavy drinker, I absolutely would lean towards suicide or accident.

Good eye on the autopsy report!
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:49 PM   #45
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The ID being found in New York eliminates the chance of accident for me.
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