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Veronique conceived Noah and Arielle through the help of fertility treatments, and gave birth to the healthy pair in 2006 after a difficult, diabetic pregnancy. She was 39. From the beginning, the twins were inseparable.
“It was almost like they were a continuum rather than two different human beings,” she says. Together with Sophia, who is 22 months older, they formed a “fearsome threesome, like a tripod on a camera.”
Noah was the energetic leg of the tripod, an animated boy with big blue eyes. He loved unusual foods for a child: pickles, broccoli, salmon, cheese. And tacos — he often talked about wanting to manage a taco factory when he grew up, in addition to being an astronaut and a doctor. He already knew how to read; he had a vocabulary well beyond his years, using words like “DNA” and “dynamic.”
“He excelled academically,” says Danielle. “His teachers said he was really, really, smart.”
He was on a constant path of discovery. “It was always, ‘How does this work? Why does this happen?’ He wanted to understand cause and effect,” says Veronique.
Noah also wondered about God, asking his mother, “If God exists then who created God?” He wanted to know what happens after death. “I would always tell him, ‘You are not going to die until you are a very old man, Noah.’ He was afraid of death, I know he was. He feared the unknown,” Veronique says. “Sometimes I wonder whether he had some foretelling, some prescience about it. Of course I will never know for sure, maybe it was just the random fears of a child.”
On the morning of December 14, Veronique was at the medical center where she works as an oncology nurse when she received an automated text message alerting her that there was a reported shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. At first, she thought it might have been a false alarm, like a fake bomb threat. But then a patient following the events on her iPhone urged her to go.
Veronique drove at 80 miles per hour to the school, praying that her car’s faulty engine would hold up. The streets near Sandy Hook Elementary were so congested that she parked at a nearby Subway sandwich shop and ran to the firehouse, where other parents had gathered. She quickly located Arielle and Sophia and Lenny. But Noah was nowhere to be found.