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The mother of two young Pennsylvania children found hanging from their home’s basement ceiling by a dog leash in September picked up the leash in question just that morning, authorities say.
After months of investigation, 36-year-old Lisa Snyder, was charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, tampering with evidence, endangering the welfare of children, animal cruelty, and sexual intercourse with a dog on Monday.
While the mother originally claimed she discovered Conner Snyder, 8, and Brinley Snyder, 4, unresponsive and hanging from the basement rafters of their Albany Township home, detectives make it clear in charging documents that they believe she killed them and planned out the crime.
Snyder told investigators that she ordered the leash, designed for a 250-pound dog, online the night prior and picked it up at the local Walmart that morning, according to the documents.
The mother told investigators that prior to their deaths, her children were in the basement to build a fort, claiming that "they play downstairs in the basement all the time.” She added that her son "asked if he could use the dog lead I had on the table.”
However, the mother’s assertion that her children regularly played in the basement was challenged by Berks County District Attorney John Adams during a Monday afternoon press conference. He said a Pennsylvania State Police investigation into the deaths revealed that the victims “hardly ever” played in the basement. In fact, Adams said a witness who lived in the house said they could only recall the kids playing in the basement once, when they got scooters for Christmas.
Charging documents describe the leash as a single wired cable dog lead with vinyl coating containing swivel eye snap hooks on both ends. It was wrapped around a main support beam in the basement and each end was wrapped around the children's necks.
It's unclear if Snyder explained why she bought the leash. She told investigators that the family did have a dog, but that the dog had been given away. Snyder allegedly sent photos of herself engaging in sexual acts with a dog to an unnamed person before the deaths, according to the charging documents.
Snyder initially claimed her son had made threats of suicide, and that he mentioned not wanting to die alone, but during Monday’s press conference Adams said that there was no evidence to suggest he was ever bullied. Additionally, he said investigators determined that, because of a physical impairment that affected his motor skills and prevented him from even tying his shoe laces, Conner wouldn’t have been able to open the clasp of the dog leash.
Investigators believe Snyder researched how to kill her children. She allegedly Googled “hanging yourself" and checked out a website about how to hang a person just one day before her kids were found dead. She also allegedly searched for “how long to die” from carbon monoxide as well as “almost got away with it,” which is a reference to a true crime television series on Investigation Discovery.
Both Conner and Brinley were receiving general protective services from welfare officials, although it’s not clear why, WPVI in Philadelphia reported. Adams clarified Monday that the children were removed from the home in 2014 but were given back to Snyder in 2015.
Snyder is being held without bail. Her lawyer Dennis G. Charles did not immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
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