Norman Ladner Case

Norman Ladner Case

Norman’s parents felt that his death was a homicide and tied to drug dealers. Norman was just 17-years-old the day he died. He had left the family store to hunt on the family’s 122 acres of farmland.


His father started to worry when Norman didn’t return home at his usual time of 7:00 or 7:30pm. His father went looking for him and found him dead of a gunshot wound. Sheriff Lorance Lumpkin believed it to be a suicide and thus it was officially ruled a suicide by gunshot. The coroner thought that it was an accidental death. When the final word came, it said that their son had taken his own life because the bullet entered the head at close range.


Norman Sr. said that it was impossible that his son committed suicide because he was full of life and happy. Another disturbing fact was that the bullet existed the head and was never looked for or discussed. The gun found by his body that was his for hunting was never fingerprinted. Police could not even say if the gun found at the suicide was the gun used.


Norman had $140 in his wallet when he left the store and the money was missing. He had a cut on the top of his head that could not have come from falling backwards. Norman Sr. and the rest of the family started investigating their son’s death to find evidence that police neglected to look for.


Going back to the suicide site, Norman Sr. found the expelled bullet and it could not have been fired from the boy’s gun. It was longer than the bullets in his gun. It had hair and blood on it. The police did not believe that it was the bullet that killed Norman. State ballistics could not tell if the bullet came from Norman’s gun or not. However, when Norman Sr. got the bullet back, he said that it was not the same bullet he gave the state ballistic lab.


Norman’s dad once again returned to the scene of the shooting and found a radio type device about 300 yards from where his son was found. Police didn’t feel that it was important so a neighbor asked a ex-narcotics agent about it. The agent said that it looked like the same device that drug dealers use to signal aircraft to alert the aircraft when to drop the package. It emits a low signal for drug drops.


Police will not reopen the case and stand by the ruling that Norman Ladner killed himself on his family’s property that day. His parents will never accept the ruling and have vowed to find out who killed their son. They believe it was drug dealers that were signaling for a drug drop when Norman happened upon them. Only a mother and father can know there child and Norman’s parents know that he did not kill himself nor was he depressed or unhappy.