Conner and Brinley Snyder

‘Psychological autopsy’ possible for mysterious deaths of two children found hanging by a dog leash line in basement

Months after two Pennsylvania children were found hanged in the basement of their family home, investigators are still trying to determine why the incident happened and who is at fault.

The Morning Call reports that investigators have been mulling over conducting a “psychological autopsy” in the case of Conner Snyder, 8, and Brinley Snyder, 4. The siblings were found unconscious inside their Albany Township home, off of 2442 Route 143, on September 23.

Both children were rushed to the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest but were pronounced dead four days later, and only minutes apart.

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The procedure is rare, according to the outlet, and entails experts probing into psychological clues, including criminal records of family members, school records, and medical records. The psychological clues are then combined with physical evidence to determine exactly what happened.

“It would be, basically, any record we could get our hands on about that person,” Lehigh County Coroner Eric Minnich told the outlet.

According to Minnich, the normal autopsies on the children have been completed. Authorities are now awaiting toxicology results, as well as other related tests. Once all of the tests are in, authorities will determine if a psychological autopsy is needed.

Investigators confirmed that the children were found hanging from the opposite ends of a plastic-covered dog leash line that someone had wrapped around the basement’s main support beam. Both children had the leash line wrapped around their necks, Reading Eagle reports.

Authorities found two dining room table chairs in the basement. Both chairs were tipped over around three feet away from each other.

In October, authorities seized numerous items from the family home, including Conner’s Xbox. The boy’s mother, Lisa Snyder, told police that he frequently used the Xbox to play video games and to go online. Authorities also seized two iPads and a laptop.

“The eight-year-old victim is known to play video games and view various internet websites utilizing the X-Box gaming console,” the warrant read.

Investigators later carried out another search warrant and reportedly determined that Snyder had two additional cellphones that they were not aware of.

Authorities learned about the cellphones after an interview with Snyder’s oldest son, 17-year-old Owen Snyder. Further, authorities noted that the 911 call was not placed from the first cellphone police seized from the mother.

“Normally, people only have one cellphone and now we have three,” Berks County District Attorney John Adams said.

The incident is currently being treated as a “criminal homicide,” according to Adams, who said that doesn’t necessarily mean that the case will end up as a homicide.

Connor Snyder and Brinley Snyder
Conner and Brinley Snider [Facebook]
According to a 911 dispatch call, Lisa Snyder told police that Conner was suicidal, but didn’t want “to go alone.” Investigators, however, are not convinced that suicide took place.

“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 the two children on scene,” a 911 dispatcher said.

Lisa Snyder called 911 on September 23 at around 4:33 p.m. She was home alone with the children when she made the call. Listen to the dispatch call below.

Children and Youth Services

Prior to their deaths, the children were under the observation of social services. “Assessment and ongoing case management services were provided to Connor and Brinley Snyder through Berks County Children and Youth Services,” according to a spokesperson from the state’s Department of Human Services.

The details on why the children were known to CYS remain unclear.

Adams previously said that if he could talk to the public about the case, he would squash rumors that have been circulating on social media, but he didn’t explain further. So far, no arrests have been made.

Anyone with any information about the case is urged to call the Berks County District Attorney’s Office at 610-478-6000 or the state police at 610-562-6885.

The story is developing. Check back for further updates.

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[Feature Photo: Conner Snyder and Brinley Snyder/Facebook]