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Jasmine Snyder upclose, sister behind her

‘We starved them so they would die’: Mother Turns on Girlfriend, Admits They Starved ‘Hated’ Young Daughters & Buried Them [Court]

The mother of two dead Pennsylvania children testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing that the children were purposely starved to death.

During a hearing at the Laramie County Court in Williamsport, defendant Marie Snyder admitted that she and her girlfriend, Echo Butler, purposely starved and abused Snyder’s two daughters until their deaths. The victims have been identified as 6-year-old Nicole Snyder and 3-year-old Jasmine Snyder.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, investigators allege that the girls were also regularly pushed into walls and choked before they died. They were buried in the yard of a rural Hepburn Township home.What prompted the abuse? The mother’s girlfriend allegedly told police she “hated” the victims. In September, child welfare investigators began an investigation into allegations that a 7-year-old child was being neglected. While agents were visiting the child’s home, they questioned the child’s mother, Snyder, about the location of her other children: Nicole and Jasmine. Two months later, in November, authorities found human remains buried in the yard of the mother’s residence, which she shared with Butler. Investigators later identified the remains as belonging to Nicole and Jasmine Snyder.

Police subsequently interviewed Marie Snyder, Butler, and Butler’s mother and determined that the girls likely died from physical abuse and starvation.Butler reportedly told investigators that the children were “bad.” Butler admitted that she would “knee or push” the girls’ bodies into walls. She would also “choke” Nicole until the girl’s eyes would roll back into her head, according to court documents. Both the girls’ mother and Butler allegedly starved the girls, feeding them only tiny portions of food and “two sips of water,” according to the court records. The girls were allegedly forced to eat by themselves in a dark room while other members of the family would have full meals and better food.As punishment, the girls were forced to have cold baths or were required to stand in a dark room or corner, at times restrained.Authorities believe that Nicole died in May 2016. In the days preceding her death, she was allegedly “pale, unable to stand on her own and her hair was falling out,” court records state. Echo admitted that she buried Nicole in the backyard.Jasmine is believed to have died in 2017.

Jasmine and Nicole Snyder/Handout

Snyder allegedly received benefits intended for the children for four to five years after they died. Snyder also reportedly wrote letters to Butler. One letter reads: “If you want them gone, they’re gone,” WNEP-TV reports. Another letter states, “I started to correct them, and it went very wrong. I lost one of my babies.”Prosecutors have charged Marie Snyder with homicide, child abuse, and theft, among a litany of other charges. Butler has been charged with homicide, tampering with evidence, abuse of corpses, and numerous other crimes.Butler’s parents, Michelle and Ron Butler, are also facing multiple charges, including endangering the welfare of children and concealing the death of a child. Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan Gardner told reporters that this is among the worst crimes he’s ever seen and that he will seek the death penalty. “The death penalty will be pursued against Marie Snyder and Echo Butler,” Gardner previously said. “Prior to their death, (they) lived in and were subjected to conditions beyond comprehension.”

The judge ruled Wednesday that there is enough evidence for Echo and her father to stand trial, while Marie Snyder and Michele Butler reportedly waived their hearings. That means all four people defendants will likely head to trial.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Family Handout]