Mother of two Albany Twp children charged with murder
Lisa Rachelle Snyder, 36, of Albany Township, was charged Dec. 2 with first- and third-degree murder for the deaths of her two children in September.
Lehigh County Coroner Eric Minnich announced just before noon Dec. 2 the cause of death for Brinley L. Snyder, 4, and Conner Snyder, 8, of the 2400 block of Route 143, Albany Township, was hanging.
“Following an extensive investigation and collaboration with the Pennsylvania State Police — Hamburg Barracks and the Berks County District Attorney’s Office, our office has ruled the cause of death for Brinley and Conner Snyder is hanging,” he said. “I have ruled the manner of death for both children to be homicide.”
“I’d like to thank all of the involved agencies for their assistance and cooperation with these investigations.”
The children died three days after they were found hanging Sept. 23 in the basement of their home.
Autopsies on the two children were performed Sept. 30.
Berks County District Attorney John Adams announced earlier on Monday that Snyder was arrested for the homicide of her children who died Sept. 26 in Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township.
In addition to first- and third-degree murder, Snyder was charged with child endangerment, and tampering with evidence, Adams said.
“This is a horrific, tragic incident,” Adams said. “I don’t think that I can stand up here, nor can anyone, explain the horrific loss of two innocent children’s lives. I think it goes without explanation,”
According to Adams, Snyder was linked to Internet searches for episodes of a crime series called “I Almost Got Away With It,” and the day before the bodies were found the account was used to search hanging methods.
On the day the bodies were found, a search was made on whether a hybrid car could produce carbon monoxide, Adams said.
Adams said Snyder ordered a dog lead from the Walmart in Hamburg the day before her children’s deaths, and she picked it up the day it was used in the hanging.
Snyder has said Connor killed himself and his sister, but Adams said authorities were suspicious about the case from the beginning.
“Eight year olds, generally, that I am aware of, do not commit suicide, so of course we had questions,” Adams said.
Snyder said Connor was bullied, but, according to Adams, there was no evidence of that, and the young boy showed no sign of distress on bus security video the day the children were hung.
Adams also noted the cellphone, a Samsung Galaxy Note, used to make the call to Walmart, remains missing.
Pennsylvania State Police search warrant applications obtained from the office of District Judge Kim Bagenstose, Hamburg, state Snyder reportedly found both children hanging by the plastic-coated dog line in the basement of their home.
According to the affidavit of probable cause attached to the Oct. 2 search warrant application, the youngsters were located at 4:41 p.m. Sept. 23 by two Kempton Fire Department EMTs hanging approximately 3 feet apart from a plastic coated single wire cable with ends containing swivel eye snap hooks.
The affidavit further states the wire was wrapped around the main support beam in the basement and each end of the wire was wrapped around the two children’s necks.
Alongside the siblings were two wooden dining room chairs which had been knocked over.
The two youngsters were airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where they were admitted to the Pediatric Care Unit on full life support.
Before arriving at the hospital, both were in full cardiac arrest and were resuscitated.
Kutztown, Hamburg and Cetronia ambulance corps personnel also assisted at the scene.
Their mother, according to the affidavit, allegedly told state troopers she owned a black, medium-size dog, described as a Husky-pit bull mix, weighing approximately 50 pounds.
She has also been charged with animal cruelty and having inappropriate relations with the dog.
State Trooper David Boehm, public information officer for Troop L, Reading, said in a news release emailed to The Press on Dec. 2, that Snyder was taken into custody at her home.
She was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Bagenstose.
Her preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 9 before Bagenstose.
She is being represented by Atty. Dennis George Charles, Allentown.