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Newtown victim's parents start research foundation

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel were plunged into grief when their only child, Avielle, 6, was killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As scientists, they wanted answers about what could lead a person to commit such violence.

They believe it's unlikely there ever will be a full answer as to why a man gunned down 26 people in the Newtown, Conn., school last year. But they feel more research into brain health, and how a propensity for violence is manifested, could help prevent future tragedies.

"When we started reaching out to scientists to talk about the underpinnings of violence and how this particular factor played a role in what happened to us, there is some, but no real, research going on," Hensel said.

Yesterday, they announced a scientific advisory board for the Avielle Foundation, which was established with the goal of reducing violence.

Jeremy Richman is a researcher at the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. Hensel, his wife, is a medical writer with her own company. The foundation is a way for them to harness their training and skills -- and to channel their grief.

The Avielle Foundation, funded through donations and grants, aims to raise $5 million this year and begin reviewing its first grant applications later this year. -- AP

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