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marylandmissing
01-23-2005, 10:10 AM
The second life of Larry Swartz: Florida friends remember murderer as 'God's gift to life'

He lived on a narrow street with ranchers and carports, where trucks park on the lawns and working-class people scrape by.

There is a lake across the street where on a good day the kids can catch catfish or bass. Neighbors often gather for a cigarette and a beer, talking long into the night about their kids and their problems with work.

It could be anywhere in middle America, but this is outside Orlando, Fla., the home of Disney World. Life here is anything but a fantasy of animal characters and amusement rides.

It was the last of many homes for Larry Swartz, who at age 38 had found the happiness that eluded him most of his short life.

Larry died near his Florida home on Dec. 29, nearly 21 years after murdering his adoptive Cape St. Claire parents. His crime, which later became the subject of a book and made-for-television movie, is one of the most remembered in county history.[size=1]

nanandjim
01-26-2005, 11:12 AM
Sounds like Larry did find some happiness before he died. For that, he was truly blessed.

Kymistry35
02-28-2005, 09:37 AM
I just finished reading a book about Larry and I was moved to tears when I read that he had died. I always felt that more went on in his house than he let on and I am so happy to hear that he was able to find peace and happiness and love before his untimely death.

cusilton
05-05-2005, 07:29 PM
Nanandjim and Teonspaleprincess, thank you for your kind words.
Nanandjim : Larry did find happyness...and more than that, he
gave happyness.
Teonspaleprincess : Larry's life speaks as a Greek tragidy,
or a parable. There is another book in the works. I work
full time as an RN, so the work of the book is slower than
I would like.
Larry's wife,
Christy

mysteriew
05-05-2005, 08:53 PM
cusilton
I am going to be very honest with you. When I first started reading this post, I wasn't real impressed. I often look at reformed murderers with some suspicion. The same thing when I hear grieving family members talk about how good the person was. I fully expected to hear that he met some violent end.
But after reading more about the challenges he faced as a child, his history, his punishment, and then the grace with which he ended up living, I was crying. I believe he had truly- I hate to say reformed, but maybe grown into the loving person he was.
Please write the book, and let us know when it is published? And thank you for reminding me that there is truly hope that people can change.

csds703
05-05-2005, 09:05 PM
Nanandjim and Teonspaleprincess, thank you for your kind words.
Nanandjim : Larry did find happyness...and more than that, he
gave happyness.
Teonspaleprincess : Larry's life speaks as a Greek tragidy,
or a parable. There is another book in the works. I work
full time as an RN, so the work of the book is slower than
I would like.
Larry's wife,
Christy
I'm sorry for your loss.

cusilton
05-07-2005, 02:05 AM
It's not that Larry was a bad person who reformed and became a good person.
Good and bad is a spectrum in all of us, I think. If given the the right (or wrong)
circumstances we're all capable of bad actions and good actions. You know the old phrase, "if not for the grace of God, there go I". Not everyone who is homeless, rejected and lonely since birth commit such an unspeakable act, but as this site tells...the statistics arn't good. I believe all of us have limits that can be reached that can render us to cross the line of self control. Being a murderer was never the essence of Larry's being. Getting to know the people from his past (from childood through his imprisonment), I've learned that he always had a good heart. He took the weak, powerless, lost ones under his wing. He watched over them and showed them acceptance. Even animals!
I have a house full of stray rescued animals that Larry brought home. He seemed to want to give what he never recieved.
A story was told to the world in the form of his life.
Thanks for your interest and for seeing the person with a more generous hearted vision.
Christy

KMM
06-22-2006, 03:41 AM
Christy,
I'm so sorry for your loss. I had read the original book years ago and at the time it scared the hell out of me. The reason being is that I'm an adoptive mother, and when reading the book in the early 1990s I realized that my adoptive son had similar behaviors as Larry did when younger. The impulse control probs, tantrums, rages, etc., were all too familiar. Crazy as it seems, I wondered if one day my son might do the same to us. Fast forward, my son is about to turn 17. We have experienced a host of behavior problems with him and up until 2 years ago had no idea why he had all the troubles. At one point we had our son arrested for domestic violence - on us. We had our son in counseling a couple of years ago and after learning about our son's behavior probs, the counselor asked if our son's birthmother drank alcohol while pregnant. The answer was yes. It turns out our son has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) which is to blame for brain damage leading to behavior problems, learning problems, and exposure to alcohol in utero can cause organ defects as well.

The reason I'm telling you this is because from what I've read about Larry's origins (bio parents being pimp and teenager in New Orleans) it's likely substance abuse was involved during the pregnancy. FASD children are more likely to be abused, as parents (who don't understand what they're dealing with) get frustrated because these effected children do not learn from consequences and can be very difficult to deal with. FASD people find it much more difficult to control their anger, and difficult to stop themselves from committing serious crimes . After our son's latest run in with the police, a detective told me that about 80% of the juvenile repeat offenders in the system are Fetal Alcohol Effected. Also, statistics show that there is a much higher incidence of Fetal Alcohol exposure in Adopted children as opposed to non-adopted children.

Also with FASD there is no cure, and many struggle through life, but sometimes they will just "grow up" late (if they haven't gotten too deep into the justice system). This possibly could explain how Larry changed his life later on down the line. Because FASD can cause organ damage, I would also have to wonder if that is what could have caused Larry's death at such a young age.

Here is a link to info about FASD: http://www.come-over.to/FAS/brochures/WhatIsFASD.pdf

Was Larry ever able to find out anything more about his bio-parents? Do you know if his bio mom drank alcohol while pregnant? Do you know if his biological mother is still alive?
I hope you don't mind my insights and questions,
Karen

KMM
07-05-2006, 12:43 AM
I'm also certain that Michael is a fetal alcohol victim that I would bet my life on it, he had/has all the behavioral manifestations. Back when Larry & Michael were adopted, people weren't aware of the problems of fetal alcohol babies. Being a parent who is raising one of these children, I can say the Swartz's did not stand a chance, the parents or the children.

As an adoptive parent, you go into adoption loving your children and feeling that you are going to give them the best life possible, but also determined to do whatever is necessary to help these kids grow up to be properly educated and self sufficient. With a fetal alcohol child, those ideals quickly blow up in your face. They have behavioral problems that seem minor through grade school, many are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. They're disorganized, have difficulty with dates and time, and sometimes get suspended from the bus for fighting or being disruptive. Then, their grades begin to slide in Jr. high and keep going downhill in High School. They typically just stop doing their schoolwork and fail most if not all their classes, at that point, they are only interested in socializing in HS, not academics. Many drop out of high school. If they are not "allowed" to drop out, they will run away from home.

They are defiant to an extreme where if they are told they cannot go somewhere or do something they want, they will sneak out. I know "normal" kids may sometimes do this, but the difference is, a fetal alcohol teen can get caught after sneaking out and not be the least bit remorseful for what they did, but angry at the parent for giving them consequences. If grounded for their behavior, they will sneak out while they are grounded. They live like they have nothing to lose and are angry at anyone who tries to stop them. Most "normal" teens have some direction and a means to get to a future they have chosen for themselves, while fetal alcohol teens don't plan, can't seem to get organized, and appear to have no motivation, they just let things happen. They are usually compulsive liars, they will fantasize, and relay it to you as though it was the God's honest truth, frighteningly they tend to believe their own lies.

They are prone to fits of rage and can be a physical threat to those closest to them. Fetal Alcohol victims find it difficult if not impossible to control their impulses, for that reason, they can get into trouble for improper sexual conduct, theft, compulsive lying (for no reason), and as you can imagine, other problems that would crop up without any impulse control. Many Fetal Alcohol Effected babies end up in the prison system in their adult lives.

A detective from our town told me that 80-90% of juvenile repeat offenders in our town (small town) are Fetal Alcohol Victims.
Basically it boils down to Alcohol damaging a child's brain and thought processing ability before they are born, and it has recently been found that there is NO SAFE AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION WHILE PREGNANT.

While Bob & Kay did seem somewhat extreme because of their religious beliefs, how they transformed over time when raising the kids was typical of parents dealing with behaviorally difficult child/children. You try what should normally work to set the child on the right track, the child defies you and does what he wants anyways, and you get tougher and tougher on them to try to correct their behavior, but it is futile and explosive. The parents feel it is gradually becoming a crisis, as the child's behavior and grades continue to slide downward. It's no easier on child victims of Fetal Alcohol abuse, as they cannot help their behavior..

Garnan
07-06-2006, 11:47 AM
So sad, this story made me cry, and I am usually pretty tough.

Bobbisangel
07-06-2006, 06:06 PM
It's not that Larry was a bad person who reformed and became a good person.
Good and bad is a spectrum in all of us, I think. If given the the right (or wrong)
circumstances we're all capable of bad actions and good actions. You know the old phrase, "if not for the grace of God, there go I". Not everyone who is homeless, rejected and lonely since birth commit such an unspeakable act, but as this site tells...the statistics arn't good. I believe all of us have limits that can be reached that can render us to cross the line of self control. Being a murderer was never the essence of Larry's being. Getting to know the people from his past (from childood through his imprisonment), I've learned that he always had a good heart. He took the weak, powerless, lost ones under his wing. He watched over them and showed them acceptance. Even animals!
I have a house full of stray rescued animals that Larry brought home. He seemed to want to give what he never recieved.
A story was told to the world in the form of his life.
Thanks for your interest and for seeing the person with a more generous hearted vision.
Christy



Until I worked with troubled teens I had no idea that adoptive parents could desolve an adoption. I saw it happen twice and I saw the affect it had on the teens. I realize that some children are a handful but I believe that when you adopt a child that child is yours the same as if you gave birth to it.

For me it is easy to understand the fear that Larry must have felt when his adoptive parents rejected the one son. The fear of rejection must have been horrible. What a sad story but what a beautiful last few years Larry lived.
We will never understand why some things happen. Larry was really just beginning his life. He gave so much and had so much more to give. He sounds like a wonderful person and I'm so glad he had found so much love. Still makes me ask "why." Why do the good die so young and the evil live long lives creating pain and sorrow for so many? It just isn't fair but then so much in life isn't fair.

Could you give me the name of the book written about Larry? I would love to read it. I saw a made for TV movie not long ago that is almost idential to Larry's story but the adoptive parents adopted 3 boys. The story ended with the middle boy being found out about the murder of the parents who had kicked the older boy out and the middle boy feared he would be next because the parents were so strict with him. It's Larrys story to a T.

I'm so glad that you and Larry met and that you gave each other so much happiness. I just wish it had lasted about 50 years longer.

valkyrie024
09-28-2006, 10:12 AM
Hi Christy! I went to high school with Larry (he was a year older than I). I just recently learned of his passing ... I'm so sorry! I remember Larry being the very good looking, well liked, high school soccer star who was part of the popular "in" crowd.

I had one class with Larry ... Larry never knew my name (I was one of those painfully shy girls who sat in the back of class), but he was always so nice whenever he spoke to me (I guess what I mean is: even though he was part of the "in" crowd, he never acted like a snob and I never saw him belittle anyone).

When the incident happened, everyone refused to believe that Larry would have done it ... afterwards there were rumors and stories that circulated around school about how bad things really were in his home. I guess no one can really know how they will react if / when they reach their breaking point. It was a very sad time for alot of us.

While I was in college I dated a fellow that knew Michael and the family that took in Anne and I had the good fortune of meeting them all.

Although Larry is no longer with us, I am very happy to hear that he was able to find happiness with you and had the good fortune of touching alot of lives.

God bless.

southcitymom
09-28-2006, 08:29 PM
It's not that Larry was a bad person who reformed and became a good person.
Good and bad is a spectrum in all of us, I think. If given the the right (or wrong)
circumstances we're all capable of bad actions and good actions. You know the old phrase, "if not for the grace of God, there go I". Not everyone who is homeless, rejected and lonely since birth commit such an unspeakable act, but as this site tells...the statistics arn't good. I believe all of us have limits that can be reached that can render us to cross the line of self control. Being a murderer was never the essence of Larry's being. Getting to know the people from his past (from childood through his imprisonment), I've learned that he always had a good heart. He took the weak, powerless, lost ones under his wing. He watched over them and showed them acceptance. Even animals!
I have a house full of stray rescued animals that Larry brought home. He seemed to want to give what he never recieved.
A story was told to the world in the form of his life.
Thanks for your interest and for seeing the person with a more generous hearted vision.
Christy
Excellent post! Peace be with you, Christy.

Peter Hamilton
09-28-2006, 10:17 PM
I remember this case!--I read the true crimebook on it many years ago--wow--an incredible final chapter has been written here---Although the murders were brutal,I always felt some sympathy for the kid because his adopted parents were brutal to him and his brother---His brother was beaten mercilessly by the adopted father---those two kids didn't have much of a chance in life---but I didn't realize that Larry only spent a few years in prison--he was lucky in that sense---still,its shocking when someone that young dies of a heart attack---Thanks for posting this account of a troubled life

cusilton
10-29-2006, 05:46 PM
Hi Valkyrie024,
I sent a private message, but I don't seem to have much luck getting them through. Please check and see if the message came through in your private message box.
Thanks you so much for sharing your memories of Larry. It means so very much to me.
Christy

cusilton
10-29-2006, 05:47 PM
Thank you Southcitymom!
Christy

MustangWoman
07-16-2008, 07:38 AM
I am very glad to find out that Larry had a happy life with you. I am so sorry that it had to end so soon. I lived near Larry and went to school with him in middle and Jr High. He was a little younger than I. I do remember his mother as a teacher at the school.

I read the book and saw the movie about that horrible time in his life. I always wondered what happened to Larry. I read in the local paper about his death. I was very sorry. I just found this website. I hope you get this letter.

You really are an angel. It sounds like Larry was a really good man that was loved by many.

My friend and I rode by his house right after they arrested him. If I remember correctly there was still snow on the ground. We knew that he must have had a very cruel homelife to do something like that.

I hope all is well with you. Take care Christy and remember what a very special person you are.

MustangWoman:)

hipmamajen
07-16-2008, 08:23 AM
Welcome to the boards, Christy!

I had never heard about this case. I'm like Mysteriew, I wasn't expecting much. But, WOW, I am amazed and the wonderful person he became, especially when reading about his childhood. I'm so sorry for your loss, it's easy to tell he's missed.

Kiki
07-16-2008, 09:44 AM
To start with nothing and gain a family that loved him, friends, a home and to become a valued member of a community in just a few years is truly inspiring. Larry must have been a wonderful man. I wish I'd known him. I am very sorry Cusilton.

Grainne Dhu
07-16-2008, 10:00 AM
It's not that Larry was a bad person who reformed and became a good person.
Good and bad is a spectrum in all of us, I think. If given the the right (or wrong)
circumstances we're all capable of bad actions and good actions. You know the old phrase, "if not for the grace of God, there go I". Not everyone who is homeless, rejected and lonely since birth commit such an unspeakable act, but as this site tells...the statistics arn't good. I believe all of us have limits that can be reached that can render us to cross the line of self control. Being a murderer was never the essence of Larry's being. Getting to know the people from his past (from childood through his imprisonment), I've learned that he always had a good heart. He took the weak, powerless, lost ones under his wing. He watched over them and showed them acceptance. Even animals!
I have a house full of stray rescued animals that Larry brought home. He seemed to want to give what he never recieved.
A story was told to the world in the form of his life.
Thanks for your interest and for seeing the person with a more generous hearted vision.
Christy

I agree with every word you wrote.

The world is a better place for having had Larry in it.

I hope time eases the pain for you and leaves you with the happy memories.

cusilton
03-09-2009, 09:03 PM
Dear Stromber,
??? I'm confused. Larry Swartz is the topic.
Christy

Stromber
03-10-2009, 07:40 PM
Sounds like a helluva guy. Glad that he touched your lives in a positive way.

Otise
03-11-2009, 02:59 AM
As an adoptive parent, you go into adoption loving your children and feeling that you are going to give them the best life possible, but also determined to do whatever is necessary to help these kids grow up to be properly educated and self sufficient. With a fetal alcohol child, those ideals quickly blow up in your face. They have behavioral problems that seem minor through grade school, many are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. They're disorganized, have difficulty with dates and time, and sometimes get suspended from the bus for fighting or being disruptive. Then, their grades begin to slide in Jr. high and keep going downhill in High School. They typically just stop doing their schoolwork and fail most if not all their classes, at that point, they are only interested in socializing in HS, not academics. Many drop out of high school. If they are not "allowed" to drop out, they will run away from home.

They are defiant to an extreme where if they are told they cannot go somewhere or do something they want, they will sneak out. I know "normal" kids may sometimes do this, but the difference is, a fetal alcohol teen can get caught after sneaking out and not be the least bit remorseful for what they did, but angry at the parent for giving them consequences. If grounded for their behavior, they will sneak out while they are grounded. They live like they have nothing to lose and are angry at anyone who tries to stop them. Most "normal" teens have some direction and a means to get to a future they have chosen for themselves, while fetal alcohol teens don't plan, can't seem to get organized, and appear to have no motivation, they just let things happen. They are usually compulsive liars, they will fantasize, and relay it to you as though it was the God's honest truth, frighteningly they tend to believe their own lies.

They are prone to fits of rage and can be a physical threat to those closest to them. Fetal Alcohol victims find it difficult if not impossible to control their impulses, for that reason, they can get into trouble for improper sexual conduct, theft, compulsive lying (for no reason), and as you can imagine, other problems that would crop up without any impulse control. Many Fetal Alcohol Effected babies end up in the prison system in their adult lives.




I adopted both of my daughters. My oldest daughter has ADHD & the youngest has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I still remember the birth mother proudly telling us how she loved to party & drank excessively while she was pregnant with my youngest. I wish mothers-to be who drink alcohol & use drugs could realize how much damage they are doing to their unborn child.


Rest in Peace Larry Swartz.

cusilton
03-19-2009, 07:50 PM
Just wondering who is chicolink, and how do you have a copyright for this article?

Stromber
03-25-2009, 09:05 AM
Just wondering who is chicolink, and how do you have a copyright for this article?

Chicolink is registered in Reston, VA. Pretty close to Maryland where someone we both know lived. Just a thought.

Joe Glenn
09-08-2009, 02:39 PM
I remember this case well. Although I never completely understood Larry's motive,
I always suspected there was more to the story then met the eye. I always felt that Larry was driven to this by something his parents did. I never felt it was an impulsive move on the spur of the moment. Something had to be building up inside of him for years, After reading the book "SUDDEN FURY" I have a better understanding of what Larry went through. When a child is belittled, criticized, ridiculed, bounced from one foster home to another and made to feel like an unwanted reject all his life, it eventually takes it's toll as it did with Larry. Larry's older brother Michael is currently serving a life sentence for the stabbing murder of William Bell. The motive was robbery. I believe this happened around 1990-1991. Although I never met Larry, I did meet Michael and get to know him. I was employed at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center at the time.
I also got to know Ronald Scoates who was an accomplice in this murder. Of the Swartz's 3 adopted children, Annie is the youngest. To the best of my knowledge, Annie is the only one who has not had a run in with the law. I have often wondered how her life turned out. Although Bob and Kay Swartz were highly respected and well thought of in their community, they didn't have a clue about raising children. If they loved their adopted children, they certainly didn't know how to express their love and affection. There needs to be a balance between love and dicipline and it seems that all they knew was discipline. I recently learned of Larry's death and I was saddened to find this out.
I was glad to hear that Larry had made a new life for himself and found happiness. His life's story is such a sad one. I recommend the book: "SUDDEN FURY" By Leslie Walker to anyone who wants to know more about Larry and his life.
There are so many "What ifs" What if the ax wasn't in the house? Would Larry still have killed his mother? The ax presented opportunity, and Larry reacted on impulse.
Larry's 18th birthday was quicky approaching and he feared he would be put out as Michael was. The tension and uncertainy of wondering if he would have a roof over his head had to be playing heavy on his mind. Enlisting in the military was an option that Larry should have considered. May Larry, Bob and Kay all rest in peace.
Such a sad ending...

Blue_Dolphin308
09-08-2009, 07:03 PM
Anyone have any links, that I can read about this case, and his childhood?

Recovering-Lurker
09-09-2009, 12:15 PM
Anyone have any links, that I can read about this case, and his childhood?

I found this site which has some archived articles:

http://www.geocities.com/murder_stories3/a_family_torn_apart.html

robert180197
11-21-2009, 09:40 AM
Yesterday morning I went to a friends House to help him put windows in and there was a news story and it was a bad crime and me and him started talking about the death penalty he said that he was thought that for murder it was O.K. and I am against it except for multiple Rape or child molestation I had told him that I knew someone who had killed his parents and that he had only got 12 years and we went an I looked up the name Larry Swartz on line and found out he had died.


Flashback 1984 I was 20 years old and sitting in the Baltimore county detention center for the tenth time in two years I was arrested for attempted daytime house break in and I had been there before for shoplifting twice and criminal trespassing twice the other six times where for violation of probation. I had run away from home at age 17 weighing 87 pound at six foot one inch tall and I knew how to survive but I did not know how to live life. From the time I had run away till then I had basically lived in the wood and behind the old luskins building on rt. forty across from the old golden ring mall I would steal change from the water fountain in golden ring mall to eat and that was the criminal trespassing charge. Several months prior to my 18Th birthday while I was living in and abandon bus in Essex I was also raped. I had run from a life of physical and verbal abuse from the hand of my father then step father and mother.

The one who was the worst was my mothers physical abuse Thinking back it always reminds me of the song "life is a lemon" from "meatloaf" My mothers eyes would go blank as she hit me again and again - with her stating I was no good and I was just like my father. I could never remember anything before my sixth birthday because that was right after my brother died (unknown causes) and at seven years old I knew that it was easier to get hit then to watch my 5 older brothers and sisters be hit so even at seven years old I was a hard child to handle and my mother had me when she was 24 years old yes she had her first child at 16 and she kicked out one a year for six years and she always blamed me because she could have no more.


I had a presentence investigation done and it stated that I needed help but would not get it on my own and that they believed that I should go to patuxent institution. I was sentenced to seven years with the courts recommendation for patuxent( I later found out that it was an illegal sentence because the charge only carried 3 years but seven years was the minimum sentence for patuxent).

I was fast tracked through M.R.D.C.C and a week later I was sitting in Patuxent Institution with Larry as my first cell mate and for approximately four months he was my cellie while we worked through our problems but you can imagine my shock when that first night he had told me he was in for killing his mother and father.

Watching the movie or reading the book will in no way tell you what Larry went through in that Hell house but as I got to know Larry and the more that I found out the more I excepted him and what he had done Yes it was wrong but he had his reasons and I believe that yes it was pent up anger but so much more that was happening that he finally did what he did and I believe that at the time the anger was not about what was happening to him. I will not say anything more about this except that I heard what the police reports said and I heard what Larry said happened that night and the book and movie is about 65% fiction. I believe Larry was a torchered soul and I hope God forgives him for what he did and he will be in heaven when and if I get there. Except the lawyer and maybe his wife ( I believe he may have told her everything ) people have no ideal of who Larry was at 18 years old and what was happening in that house.

Larry I will always remember you as a good person rest in peace.

Robertmiller429@hotmail.com

robert180197
11-21-2009, 10:17 AM
Please read this link for the history of patuxent Institution


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patuxent_Institution

believe09
01-26-2013, 07:01 PM
I am bumping this thread because I just read an amazing blog/story about this case and listened to an incredible episode of This American Life...

The Story (http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/larry-swartz-murderer-adopted)

This was written by the daughter of the people who adopted Larry after he left prison.

The Episode of This American Life (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/485/surrogates?act=2)

Check out Act 2. Not only does this cover the story I referenced above, but it includes an interview with Amity's dad. Listen all the way to the end. It is amazing.