ALBANY TOWNSHIP, PA- What a Pennsylvania mother is accused of is one of the most disturbing stories that we have heard and takes depravity to a whole new level.
In September, Lisa Rachelle Snyder, 36, of Albany Township, PA reported that the found her two children hanging dead in her basement. She told investigators that her son had:
“…made threats of doing this but didn’t want to go alone.”
According to The Daily Beast, authorities were skeptical of her story.
“Eight-year-olds, generally, that I am aware of, do not commit suicide. So of course, we had questions,” Berks County District Attorney John Adams said in a Monday press conference. “This is a horrific, tragic incident.”
Snyder is believed to have murdered her son Conner, 8, and daughter Brinley, 4 on Sept 23. She covered up the crime to make it appear to be bullying-related suicide.
— Jim Vasil (@JimVasilWFMZ) December 2, 2019
Snyder was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, endangering the welfare of children, animal cruelty, and sexual intercourse with a dog. You cannot make this stuff up.
She is being held without bail in Berks County Jail, according to Pennsylvania State Police. Adams said that she showed “little to no emotion” as she was taken into custody.
Adams was at a loss to try to explain Snyder’s behavior.
“I don’t know there is any explanation for her behavior at all. I don’t think I can stand up here, nor anyone, and explain the horrific loss of two innocent children’s lives. I think it goes without explanation.”
The details of the case are disturbing. According to authorities, the day before the children were murdered, Snyder searched on the internet for information about “hanging yourself,” “how long to dies” from carbon monoxide, and the Investigation Discovery television series Almost Got Away With It, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast.
She had also told a friend in the weeks before the incident that she was depressed and “didn’t care about her kids.”
On the day before the hanging, Snyder ordered the dog leash that was wrapped around the necks of Conner and Brinley. She picked it up the next morning from the Hamburg Walmart, according to police, just hours before the children were found.
The details of the case are as follows.
On Sept. 23, Snyder called police and said she found her two children unresponsive in the basement after they had gone “downstairs to build a fort.” She claimed she was putting laundry away and went outside to smoke a cigarette when Conner allegedly took dining room chairs and a dog leash to the basement.
Snyder claimed that when she got downstairs, she tried to get her children down, but she was unable to lift them, whereby she called the police. The mother never returned to the basement after calling police, prosecutors said.
The latter detail puzzled authorities.
“I would agree that we all may think that a mother of a child or children who are found hanging would make every possible effort to save them,” Adams said. “That was not done in this situation.”
A search warrant stated that two emergency responders who arrived at the scene first found the children hanging three feet apart from a “single wired cable with plastic coating and ends containing swivel eye snap hooks” with two wooden chairs knocked over nearby.
The Morning Call obtained a transcript of a call between a Berks Country emergency dispatcher and the first responders. In the transcript, a fire captain asks:
“Any indication from the caller if the scene is safe or how these children ended up there?”
The response was bizarre.
“She mentioned that the 8-year-old has been bullied and has made threats of doing this but didn’t want to go alone…At this time, it should just be the mother and two children on scene,” the dispatcher responded.
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Snyder was interviewed twice by the police, during which she told police her son was suicidal after he had been bullied because of his weight—prompting him to lose “25 pounds since school started because he was starving himself.”
“He tells me he hates school; every day he tells me he doesn’t want to talk about school. I did not really see any problems till he told me about the kids on the bus,” Snyder told police.
That’s according to court documents.
“He just comes home, and he is just angry.”
She later added that her son also suffered from a speech delay, which she said made him “a little slower to grasp things.,” the affidavit stated.
Conner, who was a third-grade student at Greenwich-Lenhartsville Elementary School, allegedly said:
“I woulda killed myself already but I am scared to go myself.”
Officials at the school denied that Conner was being bullied prior to his death.
According to Kutztown Area School District Superintendent Christian Temchatin, he told The Daily Beast that:
“Conner was a beloved member of the Greenwich Elementary School family who enjoyed his peers and teachers. He is dearly missed and is fondly remembered for the smile he brought to all who knew him.”
Prosecutors said that during the 10-week investigation, Conner was found to be a “happy child” and that the only person to ever claim that the 8-year-old was bullied or depressed was Snyder.
Adams said that interviews with Conner’s classmates and teachers, as well as a video of him getting off the bus shortly before Snyder called 911, told a different story.
“The video shows no sign that Conner was in distress whatsoever,” Adams said. “In fact, from the video he appeared to be a happy child.”
Conner also suffered from “below average visual motor skills” and suffered with “difficulty with dexterity,” according to a certified occupational therapist who worked with Conner.
The therapist told police that the “poor dexterity” would have made it difficult for Conner to operate the clasp on the dog leash and wrap it around a basement beam, according to the affidavit.
“Conner would have had a difficult time finding the middle,” the witness said.
The therapist described the child as “clumsy.”
The children were revived in a medical helicopter on the way to Lehigh Valley Hospital, according to police. However, they died in the intensive care unit three days later. The Lehigh Valley County Coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide after an “extensive investigation.”
An investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police immediately ensued and several items were seized from the scene. At least five search warrants were issued. Police seized two wooden chairs, two iPads, a computer, an Xbox game system and a wire cable.
In a strange twist, another warrant was issued on Oct. 2 requesting the family’s dog, a black 50-pound husky/pit bull mix that is still missing.
In the truly depraved department, Snyder had sent at least three sexually explicit photos of herself engaging in various sex acts with a black and white dog in the weeks leading up to the murders. The photos were found in her email during the investigation.
“It is very emotional for all of us. To have two children taken at such a young age, what appears to be two very innocent people. It’s not right, it hits us in the heart.”
It appears that there had been some previous intervention in the Snyder family. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services had previously confirmed that “ongoing case management services” were provided to the family through Berks County Children and Youth services, however they refused to provide details.
Adams said that the two children had been taken from Snyder in 2014 but were returned in February 2015.
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