A Pennsylvania woman is facing murder charges and several other felonies in connection with the deaths of two young children. Police found the children hanging by a dog cable in the basement of their Berks County home in September.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Lisa Rachelle Snyder, 36, was arrested Monday morning and charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, animal cruelty, sexual intercourse with a dog, tampering with evidence, and child negligence.
According to Lehigh County coroner Eric Minnich, the official cause of death for Snyder’s children, Conner, 8, and Brinley, 4, has been listed as hanging. Both deaths are considered homicides. There were no drugs in their system.
Snyder called 911 on September 23 at around 4:30 p.m. to report the incident. After police arrived at Snyder’s home, they found the children still hanging by the dog cable. They also found two dining room chairs found tipped over in the basement, around three feet apart from each other.
After calling 911, Snyder never returned back to the basement, according to Berks County District Attorney, John Adams.
Snyder reportedly said Conner was being bullied at school and had threatened suicide in the past. She allegedly said the boy lost over 20 pounds since starting back to school, because of taunts about his weight.
She then claimed Conner hanged himself and his sister because he didn’t want to die alone, according to the 911 call.
Snyder allegedly claimed that Conner came home from school on the day in question and said he wanted to build a fort in the basement. She said the boy asked to use a new dog leash line that was sitting on the dining room table.
Snyder said she had bought the dog cable the day prior and that it arrived in the mail on the same day Conner asked to borrow it.
Afterward, she said she went to smoke a cigarette outside, and when she walked back in, she found the children unconscious.
The arrest affidavit, however, paints a different picture. Snyder is accused of searching online for “carbon monoxide in a car how long to die,” and “hanging yourself.” She also searched for “almost got away with it” several times, apparently in reference to a popular Investigation Discovery show.
On the day the children were found in the basement, Snyder made another online search for “Does a hybrid car produce carbon monoxide?”
School officials, students, and family members indicated that Conner was a happy child and never said anything about being bullied. On the day he died, he didn’t appear to be under any distress after he got off of his school bus, according to security footage obtained by investigators.
According to authorities, Snyder explained she tried to lift her 40-pound daughter from the dog cable but started sweating due to “anxiety spikes” and couldn’t save her. She tried to lift Conner, who weighed around 150 pounds but also failed to get him down.
“I would agree that we all may think that a mother whose children were found hanging would make every effort possible to save them. That was not done in this situation,” Adams said during a Monday press release.
Investigators interviewed an occupational therapist who worked with Conner at his school, helping him with poor dexterity skills. The therapist indicated it would have been highly difficult for Conner to hang himself, as he would have had problems with the clasp.
Adams added that Snyder told a friend she was depressed and “through” with being a mother. Prior to the children’s deaths, Snyder reportedly told the friend that she couldn’t get out of bed and didn’t care about her children anymore.
“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.”
Snyder’s charges in connection to animal abuse stem from online conversations she had with someone nicknamed “daddy.” Police alleged that Snyder sent “daddy” photos of a black and white dog performing oral sex on her.
She’s also accused of taking a photo of the dog while he lied on his back. Snyder’s hand was resting on the dog’s penis, according to the arrest affidavit.
Adams said that the children’s father was not involved in their lives. No other arrests in the case are expected.
According to the children’s obituary, Conner attended Greenwich Elementary School, Krumsville. Brinley attended Pre-K at Early Learning Community in Kutztown.
Snyder remains behind bars without bail.
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[Feature Photo: Conner Snyder and Brinley Snyder/Facebook