A day after deadly shooting, Newtown continues to mourn

(CBS News) NEWTOWN, Conn. - The bodies of the 12 girls, eight boys, and six adult women killed in the Connecticut school shooting Friday are being returned to their families Saturday night, just 24 hours after the brutal mass murder -- so brutal that the parents identified their children's remains through photos.

As investigators scoured Sandy Hook Elementary School for clues early Saturday morning, the bodies of the victims and the gunman were transported from the crime scene to the coroner's office.

Connecticut's Chief Medical Examiner Wayne Carver said the carnage was the worst he's seen in 31 years on the job. All of the children killed were first-graders -- each shot more than once. A team of four doctors and 10 technicians performed the autopsies.

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"Our whole staff is grieving along with the family and the town of Newtown and the state," said Carver.

Police offered little insight as to why 20-year-old Adam Lanza might have entered the school he once attended as a boy with three powerful guns, carrying out what is now the second deadliest mass school shooting in U.S. history.

"I can tell you he was not voluntarily let into the school at all," said Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police, "that he forced his way into the school. But that's as far as we can go on that."

Watch CBS News' Margaret Brennan, who grew up one town away from Newtown, discuss the area:

The guns belonged to Lanza's mother, Nancy, who was Adam's first victim and was shot in her home. Landscaper Dan Holmes knew her for five years. "She had a gun collection," he said, "and she was a real gun enthusiast. She'd go target practice shooting with her kids."

Authorities have yet to clarify Nancy Lanza's links to the school or if she was even employed there.

Newtown residents mourned their community's loss on Saturday. They gathered at an Episcopal church less than a mile from the school. "I think people are such in a state of shock now. And of course if you talk about the families who were directly involved, the shock is many, many times greater," said Rev. Mark Moore.

Lee Paulson belongs to the church and once worked at the school. She knew Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who was slain in the attack. "My heart breaks for all those babies and people. It's just so sad," she said.

The victims ranged in age from 6 to 56. Among the youngest were six-year-olds Emilie Parker and Jesse Lewis.

On Sunday, the medical examiner will conduct autopsies on Adam Lanza and his mother, and the families will begin the process of laying all of their loved ones to rest.

  • Margaret Brennan

    Principally assigned to the State Department, Margaret Brennan also serves as a CBS News general assignment correspondent based in Washington, D.C.