Friend Testifies Against Mom of 2 Kids Found Hanging in Basement Together That She Blamed on Suicide

Conner & Brinley Snyder
Remembering Conner & Brinley/Facebook

As soon as it made headlines this past fall, the story sounded unbelievable: Two siblings, ages 8 and 4, were found hanging in the basement of their home in September. Their mother, Lisa Snyder, claimed to have discovered them, and insisted she had no idea what was happening just one floor below, as her children "committed suicide." After weeks of investigating, authorities discovered it was far from a suicide, and they arrested Snyder on two counts of murder. Now she's set to stand trial for their deaths, and at a preliminary hearing this week, several witnesses made even more shocking claims about the Pennsylvania mother.

  • The bodies of Conner and Brinley Snyder were found hanging September 23 at their home in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

    “These children were found hanged," Assistant District Attorney Margaret McCallum reiterated at a preliminary hearing Wednesday. "Their mother was the only adult in the house."

    Indeed, there was always something curious about the way in which the siblings were found. Both children were attached to opposite ends of the same dog lead, which was tied around their necks and wrapped around a rafter in the basement. Beneath them were two chairs taken from the upstairs dining room, which appeared to to have been knocked out from under them -- either because they each jumped or because someone had pulled them away.

    Right away, there were parts of the story that just didn't make sense.

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  • There was also this lingering question: How would an 8- and 4-year-old even know how to commit suicide?

    Snyder claimed Conner had recently complained of being bullied in school and had made comments before about wanting to take his own life, but authorities were unable to find any evidence to support that. Even if Conner was behind it all and simply "didn't want to go alone," as his mother suggested to police, would he really subject his little sister to such a tragic end?

    According to prosecutors, the answer is clear: no, he would not.

    "Conner was incapable of doing this to himself," McCallum told the courtroom Wednesday. "He was incapable of doing this to his sister."

  • It wasn't just that Conner loved his sister deeply, McCallum argued -- it was that he literally couldn't commit "suicide" that way if he tried.

    According to McCallum, an occupational therapist who worked with Conner at Greenwich Elementary School told police that the third-grader "lacked the dexterity to fasten the dog lead into two nooses," the Morning Call reported.

    If this were a "suicide," as Snyder insists it was, it seems far too sophisticated for a child like Conner.

  • There were also other initial signs that things weren't what they seemed, witnesses testified.

    For example, the fact that Snyder seemed to be emotionally detached from what was going on around her, as paramedics swarmed the home September 23, seems suspicious. 

    Paramedic Eric Bubbenmoyer testified that as he rushed to get to the children in the basement, he passed by Snyder, who instead of remaining by her children's bodies was sitting on the front steps of the home, talking on her cellphone.

    Bubbenmoyer recalled the mother as being “very anxious, very nervous,” but not necessarily about the two children she had just lost. “She was not crying,” he said.

    In fact, according to reports from inside the hearing Wednesday, it seems that the first responders who came to the home were more emotionally traumatized by what they'd seen than the children's own mother.

    Trooper Jeffrey Hummel, who helped carry the Snyder children out of the home on stretchers that day, "fought back tears" as McCallum showed photos of the children and asked him to identify them, the Morning Call reported.

  • Meanwhile, Snyder was described as unemotional in the courtroom, not even reacting when her former friend took the stand to testify against her.

    In fact, it was Jessica Senft's testimony against her former friend that proved to be the most eye-opening. 

    Senft told the assistant district attorney that Snyder had sent her a text just one week after the children's deaths that read: “I need two strong drinks.”

    Later, at Senft's home, the pair sat down on the front porch to talk, and after several drinks, Snyder began to loosen up. It was then that she allegedly confessed she fully expected to be arrested for the deaths of her children, but hoped she would be released on bail soon after because she had no prior criminal record, the Morning Call reported.

    Then, her plan reportedly was to kill herself.

  • Snyder was eventually arrested in connection with the murders in December, but she was not released on bail.

    She faces several charges, including two counts of first-degree murder, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

    Other disturbing allegations also have been leveled at the 37-year-old mother -- including sexual abuse of the family dog, for which she is also charged.

  • The assault details surfaced back in December when Snyder was arrested, and they added yet another shocking twist to the upsetting case.

    According to police, after seizing several devices from the home, including computers and cellphones, images were discovered on Snyder's Facebook account that showed her engaging in inappropriate sexual acts with her own dog, the New York Post reported. She shared those images with someone on Facebook Messenger.

    It's also been revealed that Snyder made several incriminating Google searches, including methods of suicide (by hanging, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more), as well as information on the docuseries I Almost Got Away With It

    According to the Morning Call, prosecutors also say Snyder purchased the dog lead the children were found hanging from just one day before their deaths -- and it was made for a 250-pound dog, even though her dog was only 50 pounds.

    In her statements to police, Snyder insisted she only purchased the lead rated for 250 pounds because the other one was out of stock at the time. Investigators have since reached out to Walmart, where she bought it, and determined the lighter lead was available.