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Old 07-16-2007, 06:15 PM   #46
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But if he was encountering problems, he was only two years away from graduating high school/being able to move out, so those problems would have quickly disappeared if he could just hang on for a little while longer. People that committ suicide typically feel that all hope is lost, and I'm not sure if Norman felt that way.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were within two months of graduating when they decided to shoot up Columbine High School and finally kill themselves. I don't know that you can use standard, logical assessments of the situation and of time where desparate people are concerned. If someone's irrationally depressed enough to be contemplating suicide, they quite often can't see further than the next day, let alone two years on.

My point is that I hesitate to say who could or could not committ suicide based on what families have to say about it. People live private lives they never share with their faimilies, especially teenagers. Because his parents believed he was fine, or because he got along well enough at home, doesn't mean he didn't feel isolated or hurt by something in his school life or elsewhere. If, as I suspect, Norman liked to take drugs from time to time (why else would a 16 year old kid carry several hundred dollars with him? And what are the reasons he might like spending time in the woods alone?), he might have been high, and people often make decision they otherwise wouldn't when they are high. I'm not saying Ladner definitely took drugs, of course, that I don't know. My point is more that, rather then try to guess at someone's motivation based on what biased family members or friends think, I prefer to let the physical evidence tell me what happened as much as possible. In this case, we have a kid, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, with no obvious evidence that anyone else was there. This points most strongly to suicide.

That said, wiseguy, the missing wallet is an interesting point. Perhaps someone who knew him knew he like to go out alone with a lot of money at hand, robbed him and killed him. However, I think it would be tough to try to fight a kid for his wallet when the dude being robbed has a rifle. If Ladner was murdered to cover up a drug conspiracy, why would the wallet even be taken? Robbery wouldn't have been the motive, and it makes it that much more difficult to get a ruling of "suicide." Could be that the people who killed him were simply careless, saw the money and took it without thinking the matter through carefully, but I return to my original objection: there really isn't any evidence anyone else was there.

Perhaps, knowing he was going to kill himself, Ladner dumped the wallet himself somewhere in the woods; people about to kill themselves often relinquish personal possessions. Then, someone else, not realizing its significance but liking the money he found inside, picked it up later. When s/he realized the wallet belonged to a dead kid, this person may well have gotten scared and decided not to come forward, fearing someone would think s/he had killed Ladner for his money.

Perhaps a paramedic arriving on the scene discovered the wallet loaded with a few hundred bucks, and, figuring the kid was dead and he wouldn't have much use for it, pocketed the wallet so he could take the cash. This would hardly be the first time that happened.

Personally, I think the last of these possible explanations seems the most likely.
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:46 PM   #47
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Something that I don't remember being a part of the Norman Ladner episode was the fact that his driver's liscense was found along a roadside in New York months after his death. This was something that his father told me personally. Everyone can draw their own conclusions but I knew this family. Norman knew how to handle a gun as most teenage boys in this area do. It's a part of life here...to be in the outdoors, hunting and fishing with your buddies, etc. I've shot arrows with him at his archery targets back on his property. Norman was a great person to hang around with. He enjoyed his quite time to himself as we all do but he also loved being around his friends. Suicide? No. Accident? Not likely. My idea on what happened? I believe he was in an altercation on his property in which his gun was wrestled away from him. His gun was probably swung at him hitting him across the top of his head causing the laceration. Norman, lying on the ground, was then shot through his temples (not with his broken gun) causing the bullet and particles of blood and brain matter to be embedded under his head into the ground. This would explain why the bullet that was found by his parents did not match Norman's gun. This bullet had a peculiar nick on it and was not returned to the Ladner's after a ballistics examination. Instead, a different bullet was sent to them. This knowledge, along with the missing wallet, the driver's liscense found in NY, the stranger's message to Mrs. Charlotte at the funeral home to not pursue this case, the radio device that was found, and the investigator's lack of properly processing the scene...all of this leads me to believe he was murdered. The other two options just do not fit with these circumstances.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:31 PM   #48
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Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were within two months of graduating when they decided to shoot up Columbine High School and finally kill themselves. I don't know that you can use standard, logical assessments of the situation and of time where desparate people are concerned. If someone's irrationally depressed enough to be contemplating suicide, they quite often can't see further than the next day, let alone two years on.

My point is that I hesitate to say who could or could not committ suicide based on what families have to say about it. People live private lives they never share with their faimilies, especially teenagers. Because his parents believed he was fine, or because he got along well enough at home, doesn't mean he didn't feel isolated or hurt by something in his school life or elsewhere. If, as I suspect, Norman liked to take drugs from time to time (why else would a 16 year old kid carry several hundred dollars with him? And what are the reasons he might like spending time in the woods alone?), he might have been high, and people often make decision they otherwise wouldn't when they are high. I'm not saying Ladner definitely took drugs, of course, that I don't know. My point is more that, rather then try to guess at someone's motivation based on what biased family members or friends think, I prefer to let the physical evidence tell me what happened as much as possible. In this case, we have a kid, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, with no obvious evidence that anyone else was there. This points most strongly to suicide.

That said, wiseguy, the missing wallet is an interesting point. Perhaps someone who knew him knew he like to go out alone with a lot of money at hand, robbed him and killed him. However, I think it would be tough to try to fight a kid for his wallet when the dude being robbed has a rifle. If Ladner was murdered to cover up a drug conspiracy, why would the wallet even be taken? Robbery wouldn't have been the motive, and it makes it that much more difficult to get a ruling of "suicide." Could be that the people who killed him were simply careless, saw the money and took it without thinking the matter through carefully, but I return to my original objection: there really isn't any evidence anyone else was there.

Perhaps, knowing he was going to kill himself, Ladner dumped the wallet himself somewhere in the woods; people about to kill themselves often relinquish personal possessions. Then, someone else, not realizing its significance but liking the money he found inside, picked it up later. When s/he realized the wallet belonged to a dead kid, this person may well have gotten scared and decided not to come forward, fearing someone would think s/he had killed Ladner for his money.

Perhaps a paramedic arriving on the scene discovered the wallet loaded with a few hundred bucks, and, figuring the kid was dead and he wouldn't have much use for it, pocketed the wallet so he could take the cash. This would hardly be the first time that happened.

Personally, I think the last of these possible explanations seems the most likely.
Well yes, it is true people about to commit suicide relenquish personal possessions, however they usually give them to somebody else. Here, Norman just dumped it. Granted, Gayle Delano ditched her wallet as well, but that's because she was trying not to be found. Here, if Norman committed suicide, he would have had to have known he was going to be found.

I don't find the fact that he had $140 on him suspcious at all. This was rural Mississppi, from what I gather, so we're probably not talking about a high crime area, at least not that I'm aware of.

To answer the question of why he liked to spend so much time alone, that's usually typical of people that like to hunt. My brother is a hunter/fisherman, and that's part of the reason he enjoys it.

As far as no evidence that anyone was there, EXACTLY. If there were drug dealers in the area, which i believe to be correct, they're going to go to an area where they can't be spotted. They're not gonna do it in broad daylight in the middle of a busy area.

As far as why would the drug dealers take the wallet if the motive was getting rid of a witness, we are talking about drug dealers here. There was probably several hundreds of dollars in transactions taking place, so the dealer taking an extra $140 doesn't seem far-fetched. He probably took the wallet to make it seem like robbery WAS the motive to throw off police.

Regarding the suicide, it just seems to unlikely to me. This was a responsible and mature guy for his age, his father saying "you could set your clock by him". Probably doesn't fit the typical mold for somebody committing suicide. You had a valid point about how he might have had personal problems he might not have shared with anyone, but what I was getting at is that it doesn't fit the typical mold of someone commiting suicide.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:34 PM   #49
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Something that I don't remember being a part of the Norman Ladner episode was the fact that his driver's liscense was found along a roadside in New York months after his death. This was something that his father told me personally. Everyone can draw their own conclusions but I knew this family. Norman knew how to handle a gun as most teenage boys in this area do. It's a part of life here...to be in the outdoors, hunting and fishing with your buddies, etc. I've shot arrows with him at his archery targets back on his property. Norman was a great person to hang around with. He enjoyed his quite time to himself as we all do but he also loved being around his friends. Suicide? No. Accident? Not likely. My idea on what happened? I believe he was in an altercation on his property in which his gun was wrestled away from him. His gun was probably swung at him hitting him across the top of his head causing the laceration. Norman, lying on the ground, was then shot through his temples (not with his broken gun) causing the bullet and particles of blood and brain matter to be embedded under his head into the ground. This would explain why the bullet that was found by his parents did not match Norman's gun. This bullet had a peculiar nick on it and was not returned to the Ladner's after a ballistics examination. Instead, a different bullet was sent to them. This knowledge, along with the missing wallet, the driver's liscense found in NY, the stranger's message to Mrs. Charlotte at the funeral home to not pursue this case, the radio device that was found, and the investigator's lack of properly processing the scene...all of this leads me to believe he was murdered. The other two options just do not fit with these circumstances.
Excellent post, rovinggambler. I was going to mention most of that myself, but you covered it very well. Thanks for all your insights, we're certainly willing to listen to everything you have to tell us.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:03 PM   #50
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rovinggambler, tell us more. This is one of my favorite UM cases and one that gets to me the most, among the others with teenagers. Did he or anyone ever mention seeing or finding anything on their property before the tragic incident occurred? I am also thinking it had to be more than one person, as stated, due to the fact that teenagers can be very aggressive/strong when endangered(adrenaline or what not who knows) and he could have hit someone with his rifle. I wonder if any of the suspects had any injuries/bruises etc... after the time of the incident. Anyways, from the picture, norman looked like a cool kid and it really gets to me that things like this happen. Also, the license being found in NY?????? How could UM not have mentioned that, that is almost a sure giveaway it was not a suicide. Maybe it was one of those 3 or 4 facts they hold back from a case on UM.
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:35 AM   #51
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More importantly, there is simply NO EVIDENCE anyone else was there. The "drug dropoff" theory is still essentially nothing but conjecture, two-bit coommunication devices aside. And, at any rate, since Ladner's father found the device so long after his son's death, there is really no way to assert, based on the facts at hand, what if any relationship the device and Ladner's death have, And the idea that the device was used to radio planes comes second hand from an anonymous retired officer, so again, there is no direct evidence linking the device to any specific drug activity, on the night of Ladner's death or otherwise.
I used to have a decent sized set of woods in my backyard of the house that I grew up in. Probably not as big as Ladner's, but still very decent sized. I always thought it would be cool to find something, anything back there. Buried treasure, secret symbols, or whatever. The fact is, I never found anything remotely of interest back there in all those years. Now, I was a kid when I lived at the house, and had I found the device, I would have figured it was there for a purpose. I probably would not have known for what or even about drug deals at that time, but a radio/device back there tells me it was used for something.

So the question is, if it's not related to the Norman Ladner case, then what was it doing back there?
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Old 07-17-2007, 01:46 AM   #52
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Well, this suicide and murder stuff is an interesting debate. While in my opinion Ladner was murdered it is certainly possible he committed suicide. However like Dark Dante said the problem with making that diagnosis is that Ladner at least as far as the segment goes, failed to display any of the emotions or thinking or thought process or suicidal tendencies that go into a suicide. That does not mean of course that a suicide for sure did not happen but it raises some real doubts.

The Ladner's were Mormon if I remember and right and while there is nothing wrong with being a Mormon and I even know some Mormon's and they are good people, but I remember reading a statistic where it said Mormon teenagers have the highest rate of suicide. My guess would be that this is because their religion is by most other religious standards, strict and it has high expectations and it is very easy to break the rules because there are so many in the Mormon religion.

However the fact Ladner was a loner, does not in my opinion make him any more or less likely to commit suicide than someone that was not a loner. I was a loner as a teenager and while I imagine most teenagers have their moods and have their depressed times, for most people it does not get so bad to the point they seriously consider suicide.

What made me think it was a homicide, was besides the radio being there, and me thinking that Ladner probably observed a drug deal or something he was not supposed to and was killed to shut him up, the wallet missing did not make sense. If a person was going to kill themselves why would they get rid of their wallet? Besides the possibility of his killer taking it, the only other thing I can think of is that someone going through the woods came across the body, didnt want to get involved, but decided to see if Ladner had any money on him. However the fact the whole wallet was taken tells me drugs and murder were involved, but again, just an opinion.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:17 AM   #53
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rovinggambler, tell us more. This is one of my favorite UM cases and one that gets to me the most, among the others with teenagers. Did he or anyone ever mention seeing or finding anything on their property before the tragic incident occurred? I am also thinking it had to be more than one person, as stated, due to the fact that teenagers can be very aggressive/strong when endangered(adrenaline or what not who knows) and he could have hit someone with his rifle. I wonder if any of the suspects had any injuries/bruises etc... after the time of the incident. Anyways, from the picture, norman looked like a cool kid and it really gets to me that things like this happen. Also, the license being found in NY?????? How could UM not have mentioned that, that is almost a sure giveaway it was not a suicide. Maybe it was one of those 3 or 4 facts they hold back from a case on UM.
UM wouldn't haven't mentioned the missing driver's liscense because it was discovered after the episode was taped.
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:15 PM   #54
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The radio device in the woods was not discovered until after Norman's death. There's really no good way of determining how long it had been there beforehand. I don't recall him ever mentioning anything out of the ordinary being found on his property before his death.
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:08 PM   #55
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This is a photo that I took today of the convenience store the Ladners owned and was filmed in the Unsolved Mysteries episode. There have been several owners since then and it has also been added on to. In the episode, the teenage actor who portrayed Norman is shown walking away from this store (although in the wrong direction). Their land was behind the store.
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:16 PM   #56
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Turning off the main road, a side road leads to this gate where beyond the Ladner's built a house a few years after Norman's death. The house is situated not far from where his body was discovered. Since I haven't talked with the family in quite a few years, I am unsure as to whether any of the family lives there or not.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:08 PM   #57
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Well Mozart, comaring Norman Ladner to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to be perfectly blunt is ridiculous. Ladner had no obvious reason to kill himself and Harris and Klebold were bullied extensively and had reason to not only kill themselves but others as well. I know what that feels like to be bullied extensively in school and wanting to kill yourself. Thankfully I thought it out more and never did anything but it doesnt mean I never thought it. However comparing Harris and Klebold to Ladner is like comparing Osama Bin Laden to Bill Clinton, not a fair comparison at all. Oh well, that little comment will generate lots of controversey and the usual haters crawling out of the woodwork to debunk and discredit me, but oh well, I am used to it.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:04 PM   #58
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Well Mozart, comaring Norman Ladner to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to be perfectly blunt is ridiculous. Ladner had no obvious reason to kill himself and Harris and Klebold were bullied extensively and had reason to not only kill themselves but others as well. I know what that feels like to be bullied extensively in school and wanting to kill yourself. Thankfully I thought it out more and never did anything but it doesnt mean I never thought it. However comparing Harris and Klebold to Ladner is like comparing Osama Bin Laden to Bill Clinton, not a fair comparison at all. Oh well, that little comment will generate lots of controversey and the usual haters crawling out of the woodwork to debunk and discredit me, but oh well, I am used to it.
This discussion is going along quite well so lets not start fighting. I don't really think Mozart was comparing the three, more to the mindset someone can have when they're suicidal and not think clearly. It sounds like you have had some personal experience with this Kadrmas and no doubt its a very sensitive subject for you and thats understandable. The best thing to do would be to not get into an argument over it and stick to discussing theories and facts of the case.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:16 PM   #59
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this happen in the heart of the dixie mafia, they had freinds of politcal, and law enforcement. my knowlege of them a airplane beacon in the woods and a aiplane drug drop is how they worked.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:22 PM   #60
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This discussion is going along quite well so lets not start fighting. I don't really think Mozart was comparing the three, more to the mindset someone can have when they're suicidal and not think clearly. It sounds like you have had some personal experience with this Kadrmas and no doubt its a very sensitive subject for you and thats understandable. The best thing to do would be to not get into an argument over it and stick to discussing theories and facts of the case.
As happened a couple of times on this board, crystaldawn has said exactly what I wanted to say I did not intend to compare Ladner to Harris and Klebold in terms of the gravity of what he did or even to compare his mindset to theirs. I was simply responding to the idea that Ladner would not have been likely to want to kill himself over things that were happening high school because he would be graduating in just two years; Harris and Klebold were going to graduate in just two months, and look what they did.

Rovvinggambler, thanks for posting those photos, very interesting. I hope you don't think I am trying to desecrate the memory of your friend, it's just that I need something more concrete than a grieving family's insistence and an odd piece of radio equipment before I would think about contradicting the findings of a trained medical examiner. The license turning up in New York doesn't prove anything one way or the other to me; if Ladner tossed his wallet as a final "divesting" of his worldly possessions before killing himself, anyone could have found it, picked it up to take the money, and later ditched the license. Even if an EMT helped himself to it, as I suggested earlier, I could see how it would end up getting found far away later.

Actually, under any circumstances, I think it's a little weird it turned up so far away. But the fact that it turned up far away is in itself weird; I don't know that it more strongly supports a ruling of murder or suicide. I think it's kind of neutral with respect to that decision, but it's strange in its own right. Am I making sense?
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