Henry R. Lanz, 40, and his wife Paula M. Lanz, 39, were the parents of two young children and had one of those relationships often described as ‘troubled’ but apparently could also be described as ‘abusive’. Paula Lanz has been variously described as a nice person, and a loving and caring mother. Paula Lanz alleged at one point that Henry Lanz had a drug problem, and neighbors have called him abusive.
In 2005 the two separated and a protection from abuse order was taken out on Henry Lanz. Lanz was accused of stalking her and threatening to burn her house down. In May, Lanz was accused and pled guilty to violating that protection from abuse order.
In Nov. Lanz filed for a protection from abuse order saying that Paula Lanz had threatened to kill him. But he later dropped the request.
Despite the PFA order, Lanz’s vehicle was frequently seen at Paula Lanz’s home. At least one report says they attempted to reconcile but she allegedly ordered him out of the house in Dec. The two shared custody of the two children. Some of the acts that Lanz allegedly committed was to stuff mothballs in her vehicle’s vents, with the vapors allegedly causing distress to Paula Lanz and their children that required medical treatment.
According to one report Lanz once told Paula Lanz that
“This won’t end until one of us is six feet under”
and that he had talked about killing her and disposing of her body
“no body, no crime.”
On Jan. 29 when the babysitter arrived at Paula Lanz’s home, Henry Lanz was there and allegedly told her that Paula Lanz had left on a business trip.
On Jan. 31 Paula Lanz was reported missing. On Feb. 1 st, Henry Lanz was arrested and held on charges he violated the protection from abuse order, by being at Paula Lanz’s home. On Friday her remains were found in a burned vehicle hundreds of miles away. The coroner’s report indicates that she had been shot in the head prior to the vehicle being set on fire.
On Saturday Lanz allegedly confessed. According to police Lanz has told them that on Jan. 28 his wife was at his home that he shared with a roommate. Allegedly he had told the roommate that he had problems and the roommate had said he would take care of them.
Allegedly while Lanz and the children were outside, Paula Lanz had gone inside the home and the roommate had shot her. Allegedly Henry Lanz had given the roommate some money and Paula Lanz’s ATM card.
Then while Henry Lanz had taken the girls to their mother’s home and put them to bed, the roommate had used her own vehicle and had driven Paula Lanz’s body hundred’s of miles away to Tennessee. Allegedly during the drive he had made several calls to Henry Lanz using Paula Lanz’s cellphone. Once in Tennessee the roommate allegedly set fire to the vehicle.
Henry Lanz was arrested on charges of homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, criminal solicitation, and hindering apprehension.
The children are now with family members. Allegedly on Jan. 28 the couple had argued over the children.
The investigation is continuing and no charges have been brought against the roommate as yet.
A protection from abuse order or restraining order is useless unless it is followed through. When the other party violates the order, it is up to the party to make a report with police.
It’s not that easy though. This is a person you presumably love. The other parent to your children. Often you don’t want to see them get into trouble. You know if that parent goes to jail, your children will be upset.
It is important to remember why you took out that protection/restraining order and the feelings you had at that time. It is also important to remember that it is not your actions that will get them in trouble- it is their own actions. And most of all, it is important to remember that failing to make that call will not guarantee that your children will not suffer distress.
Children are very often aware of the actions of the other parent- sometimes they are even directly affected by those actions. Even if you can hide the actions from the children, they usually will pick up on the stress of the parent that those actions cause. Those stress’s affect a child just as much as knowing the parent went to jail. And if worse becomes worse they could lose both parents. So take out that order, and follow through on enforcement of that order.
Exchanging the children for visitation is often a problem. Sometimes those exchanges are made in a public place, sometimes they occur through a third party. In some areas arrangements can be made for those exchanges to be made at a public agency. Remember to ask your court or advocate what arrangements can be made.
If you consider reconciling, while not something that I would recommend…..but if you are considering then at least make sure the spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend participates and completes a course on domestic violence prevention that is available in most communities. Because despite any promises that will be made, they will need to learn and practice new ways to handle problems. You can find the location of the domestic violence prevention programs by contacting your local domestic violence agency.