I have a child character (11 years old) whom I've had trouble getting a solid grip on. He will, in my story, kill another kid due to various circumstances, in front of his "classmates" (it's not a traditional school setting). There is drama leading up to this, of course, but somehow it hasn't seemed to be enough to actually motivate him to do such a thing, especially since he has been raised and trained not to solve conflicts with violence first-hand. I need him to snap, but being an outcast and mildly harrassed by his peers doesn't feel like a good enough reason. So I was thinking, and if he, as a baby, was left on his own, with very little physical contact and affection, that could seriously damage his empathy levels, couldn't it?
And if that's the case, I would need a reason for him to be left alone as a wee baby. A contagious disease? Since his genes were tampered with when he was still a fetus, could I just "invent" a new disease? It would be nice if I could find a real one, though, to make it feel more realistic.
So, can lack of physical affection and contact in your baby years lead to lack of empathy later on? and Is there a contagious baby disease which would cause the baby to be quarantained?
I have googled and did not find what I was looking for. Any help would be appreciated, as usual.