Mom of 2 Kids Found Hanging in Basement Charged With Murder & New Details are Disturbing

Conner & Brinley Snyder
Remembering Conner & Brinley/Facebook

For more than two months, residents of Albany Township, Pennsylvania, have been left stunned and saddened by the deaths of two young children, whose lives were tragically cut short in September. According to initial reports, 8-year-old Conner Snyder and his 4-year-old sister, Brinley, were found hanging in the basement of their family home by their mother, Lisa Snyder, in what appeared to be a joint suicide. The story was -- and still is -- shocking, leaving many family members, residents, and police asking why two young children would end their lives in such a way. And even more perplexing, how would they even know what to do? After an exhaustive two-month investigation by police, a shocking twist in the case has been revealed: The children's mother has been arrested on charges in connection with their deaths.

  • In a press conference held Monday, Berks County District Attorney John Adams said the case has taken an emotional toll on all who've been involved.

    "It is very emotional for all of us,” Adams said. “To have two children taken at such a young age, what appears to be two very innocent people. It’s not right -- it hits us in the heart.”

    Adams also filled in the blanks of the crime, starting with suspicions that arose shortly after the children were found hanging.

    "[Eight]-year olds, generally, that I am aware of, do not commit suicide so of course we had questions almost immediately," he said during the press conference. Adams also called out Snyder's unusual behavior after dialing 911: She didn't attempt any life-saving measures of her own or return to the basement after finding her children, even once paramedics arrived.

    “I would agree that we all may think that a mother of children who are found hanging would make every effort possible to save them,” Adams said. “That was not done in this situation.”

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  • The children were reportedly found around 4:37 p.m. September 23, both hanging from opposite ends of a dog lead just 3 feet apart.

    The plastic-coated wire lead had been strung around a support beam in the basement of a home owned by their mother. Beneath the children were wooden dining chairs that had been tipped over onto the floor.

    Lisa Snyder dialed 911, and when paramedics arrived, both children were in full cardiac arrest. They were rushed to a nearby hospital, where they were able to be revived but ultimately placed on live support and unable to survive their injuries. 

    The children both died three days later on September 26 -- just 14 minutes apart -- after they were officially removed from life support.

  • In the months since the siblings' passing, the nature of their deaths continued to plague investigators.

    According to the Morning Call, police issued several search warrants for the Albany Township home in late September and early October, when they recovered several cell phones belonging to Snyder and her 17-year-old son, as well as a computer, Xbox gaming console, and other items. 

    However, the outlet also reports that it wasn't until speaking with Snyder's older son, whose name has been withheld, that they learned Lisa owned multiple cell phones in addition to the ones they first collected. Those were later seized as well, in hopes of finding any information that could possibly provide more clues.

    Curiously, a search warrant was also issued for a dog -- a black husky-pit bull mix weighing 50 pounds -- the Morning Call reported in October. As of that report, the dog has not been found. 

    "Investigators said weighing the dog would help in reconstructing what happened but they would not say why," the outlet stated.

  • While investigators continued to work the case, the Snyder family held a memorial for the children, and Lisa launched a Facebook page in their memory.

    Remembering Conner & Brinley, a private group that was archived November 24, became a place for the Snyder family, as well as friends, relatives, and supporters, to share kind thoughts and memories about the siblings. It was run by Lisa Snyder, who often shared kind words and images of her children.

    The children's grandmother, Eileen Myers, also frequently posted to the page as a means of honoring her grandchildren and coping with their loss.

    "I would like to thank each and every member on this website for your prayers and your condolences and your respect thank you so much for all your well wishes we do appreciate it," she wrote on November 12. "God bless you all."

    It also became a place where supporters who didn't know the Snyder family could offer condolences to the grieving mother. 

    "I don’t know you, but your children are so very beautiful. Sending my deepest condolences to you and your family," one woman wrote on November 11. "By these beautiful pictures ... I could tell these children were a joy to the world and have touched so many lives."

  • But Monday, police in Berks County revealed disturbing new findings in their investigation and ruled the deaths as homicides -- not suicides.

    In a move that has rocked the small town almost as much as the initial murders, Lisa Snyder was formally charged with both of their deaths.

    In addition to first-degree murder, Snyder, 36, was charged with third-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and endangering the welfare of children, the Morning Call reported. There were also two other charges that have added an even more shocking twist to an already disturbing story: animal cruelty and sexual intercourse with a dog.

  • Police revealed that a search of Snyder's phone showed the mother Googled "hanging yourself" just one day before the murders took place.

    The mother also searched for “how long to die” from carbon monoxide. And in another detail that will send a chill up your spine: Police say Snyder made several searches for “almost got away with it” -- something the Morning Call noted is a reference to a true crime TV series on the Investigation Discovery channel. During the press conference, Adams added that the dog lead the children were found hanging from was purchased the morning of their deaths, and was made to restrain a dog of up to 250 lbs. The family dog was later found to be just 50 lbs.

    In the weeks since the children's deaths, several theories have swirled around their hangings -- one of which was apparently offered by Snyder herself. In both of her police interviews, Snyder told police that Conner had been relentlessly bullied over his weight, and had recently "lost 25 pounds since school started because he was starving himself.”

    The mother also cited a speech delay as another reason the 8-year-old was taunted, saying he was “a little slower to grasp things and kids make fun of him because he was fat.” Snyder also claimed the boy told her “I woulda killed myself already, but I am scared to go myself” when she tried to discuss things with him.

    This alleged quote, straight from the mouth of her son, would wind up being a central theory in the case -- that Conner had killed himself and convinced him sister to do the same because he was scared to go alone. However, a police report obtained by the Morning Call seemed to suggest that at least one person close to the children cast doubt on that theory.

    The individual, who was only referred to as “witness 3” in the report and lived at the Snyder home, told police that Conner had never actually mentioned being bullied before, as his mother claimed. In addition, the person cast doubt on Lisa Snyder's initial timeline of events, in which she stated that the children told her they were going downstairs to "build a fort" after school on September 23. According to the witness, it was not normal for the children to play in the basement, and if they did play, it was normally in the living room.

    Additionally, police said that camera footage capturing Conner on the school bus September 23 appeared to show a happy kid with "no signs of distress" whatsoever.

  • When police searched Snyder's many phones, they also found several images of her engaged in sexually explicit acts with a dog.

    The dog has been described as black and white, though it has not yet been confirmed if it was the same dog police issued a search warrant for several months ago. The images were sent to an unnamed person, and are presumably what led to Snyder's additional charges. 

    For now, Snyder is being held at Berks County Jail without bail while she awaits her next hearing.