Mother charged in ‘horrific’ deaths of children found hanging from dog lead in Pennsylvania basement

ALBANY TWP., Pa. – A Pennsylvania mother faces several counts of murder after she allegedly killed two of her children by hanging them in the basement of their Albany Township home in September.

Lisa Snyder, 36, was charged Monday with two counts of both first- and third-degree murder, as well as two felony counts of endangering the welfare of children, Berks County District Attorney John Adams said at a press conference.

“I don’t think that I can stand up here, nor can anyone, and explain the horrific loss of two innocent children’s lives. I think it goes without explanation,” Adams said.

Police found two of Snyder’s three children, 8-year-old Conner and 4-year-old Brinley, after Snyder called 911.

“The wire was wrapped around the main support beam of the basement and each end was wrapped around the victims’ necks.” Adams said. “In the area of the victims were two wooden, bar height dining room chairs, knocked down on their sides.”

Paramedics worked to resuscitate the children, who were flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital. They were taken off life support three days later.

Adams said that evidence and Snyder’s behavior contradicted her account of what led up to the tragedy.

The 36-year-old didn’t go back to the basement while paramedics tried to revive the children, Adams said, which raised questions for investigators.

Snyder also claimed that her son was bullied at school and hung himself and his sister. However, Adams said the boy appeared to be “a happy child” in video of him getting off a school bus just before his mother called police. Family members and school officials told police Conner “never expressed that he was bullied or suicidal.”

Snyder’s internet search history in the days and hours before the siblings were found included the queries “carbon monoxide in a car how long to die,” “almost got away with it,” “I almost got away with it best episodes,” “hanging yourself,” “do a hybrid car produce carbon monoxide,” “does a hybrid car produce carbon monoxide while idling” and “hanging yourself,” Adams said. The last search brought up a website explaining how to use a short drop to hang one’s self.

Adams said Snyder ordered the plastic-coated dog lead with a 250-pound limit the day before the children were found, and picked it up from Walmart the morning of the 23rd. It’s not yet clear how Snyder allegedly got both children up onto the barstools and into the looped ends of the dog lead.

“Two children’s lives were lost here,” Adams said. “This was a very emotional investigation for all of those involved.”

Investigators say Snyder told a friend she was suffering from depression and “didn’t care about her kids,” according to The Morning Call. Adams said Snyder’s children were placed under the care of Berks County Children and Youth Services in 2014, but were returned to her in February, 2015.

Snyder also faces unrelated charges of sexual intercourse with an animal and cruelty to animals after investigators uncovered images of the family dog performing sex acts on her, Adams said.

Snyder didn’t enter a plea Monday and is being held without bail at the Berks County Jail.

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