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The mother of two young Pennsylvania siblings found hanging from their home’s basement ceiling by a dog leash in September has now been accused of killing them, in addition to having sex with the family dog.
Lisa Snyder, 36, originally claimed she found Conner Snyder, 8, and Brinley Snyder, 4, hanging from the basement rafters of their Albany Township home and that they were unresponsive.
Both children were found hanging from the home's basement rafter beams at opposite ends of the same dog leash. Two tipped-over chairs from the home's dining room were found near the bodies. While the mother initially claimed her son had made threats of suicide, investigators have now determined that suicide wasn’t the culprit.
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, local outlet Morning Call reports.
“We are pleased that today we filed these charges,” Berks County District Attorney John Adams said during a Monday afternoon press conference.
Adams claimed that during an investigation into the children’s deaths, a friend of Snyder's said the mother was depressed and that she didn’t care anymore about her kids anymore.
Court records obtained by the outlet accused Snyder of Googling “hanging yourself" and checking out a website about how to hang a person just one day before her kids were found hanging. She also allegedly searched for “how long to die” from carbon monoxide. She also searched for “almost got away with it,” which is a reference to a true crime television series on Investigation Discovery.
As for the animal abuse charges, Snyder allegedly sent at least three photos of herself engaging in sexual acts with a dog to an unnamed person, the local outlet reports.
Conner and Brinley died three days after Snyder called 911, claiming she found them unresponsive in the basement in the home she shared with them and a teen son. She told first responders that Conner had been bullied and threatened suicide but “didn’t want to go alone,” Crime Online reported. The children were revived on their way to their hospital, but they both soon had to be placed on life support. The siblings died just minutes apart from one another.
Snyder changed her Facebook profile to a photo with the phrase “Words scar, rumors destroy, bullies kill” following their deaths, the Morning Call reported.
Adams said during Monday’s presser that there is no evidence that Conner was ever bullied. He said that surveillance footage from a school bus recorded hours before his death showed “he appeared to be a happy child.”
"Eight-year-olds, generally, that I am aware, do not commit suicide so of course we had questions almost immediately,” he explained, adding that witnesses said he was never bullied and that he never said he was bullied.
Adams also noted that an occupational therapist told detectives that Conner would not have been able to open the clasp on the dog leash himself, saying Conner had issues tying his own shoes.
Adams said that when interviewed, Snyder claimed that the kids had gone down to the basement to play before she found them unresponsive, but a Pennsylvania State Police investigation 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.
Both children were receiving general protective services from welfare officials, although it’s not clear why, WPVI in Philadelphia reported.
Adams clarified that the children were removed from the home in 2014 but were given back to Snyder in 2015.
Snyder is being held without bail. Adams claimed she showed little to no emotion when she was arrested on Monday.
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