Berks County woman charged with homicide after investigation of hanging deaths of her two children
BERKS COUNTY — An Albany Township woman searched for information on suicide and murder on Google just days before her two young children were found hanged from a support beam in the basement of her home, according to State Police.
Lisa Snyder, 36, of the 2400 block of Route 143, has been charged with two counts each of first- and third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of children, and one count each of having sexual intercourse with an animal, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and cruelty to animals in charging documents filed by State Police, who investigated the deaths of Snyder’s children, Brinley, 4, and Connor, 8.
The information found in charging documents was first reported by the Reading Eagle.
The children were found hanging and unresponsive by EMTs dispatched to Snyder’s home on Sept. 23, the Eagle reported. The children were rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital by ambulance, and were resuscitated on the way, but eventually succumbed to their injuries at the hospital on Sept. 26, according to police.
In the Eagle’s report of the police investigation, authorities later determined Snyder had typed “carbon monoxide in a car how long to die” into Google’s search engine on Sept. 17, and “almost got away with it” and “I almost got away with it best episodes” on Sept. 20.
Two days later, the Eagle reports, she searched for “hanging yourself” and visited a website that describes an effective way of hanging someone.
On the day the children were found, Snyder allegedly Googled the terms “does a hybrid car produce carbon monoxide” and “does a hybrid car produce carbon monoxide while idling.”
Other information reported by the Eagle says State Police allege:
- Snyder initially told investigators that Connor had been suicidal due to the constant bullying he experienced at school, and took his sister with him because he didn’t want to do it alone.
- Snyder called 911 at 4:30 p.m., reporting she had found the children hanging in the basement. EMTs from a nearby fire department arrived 10 minutes later and discovered the children were hanging about three feet apart from one another. A wire dog lead with vinyl coating was wrapped around their necks. Beneath the children were two dining room chairs that had been knocked on their sides.
- Snyder was interviewed twice by police. She told investigators that Conner had been bullied and that he had told her several times that he wanted to die. She allegedly told police she did not know all the details of the bullying, but said it was because of his weight and his academic struggles.
- The bullying had been ongoing since Connor was in first grade, Snyder told police. He was so distraught over it that he tried to kill himself a week before, and she had spoken to him about it.
- During that conversation, Snyder said her son told her he would have killed himself already, but was scared to go by himself.
- On the day he and his sister were found, Snyder allegedly told police, Connor asked if they could play in the basement and said he wanted to build a fort. That’s why he asked for the dining room chairs and the dog lead, which Snyder had bought earlier that day. Snyder said her children often played downstairs.
- Snyder said she went outside for a cigarette and to let the dog out. After about 10 minutes, she came back inside and found the children hanging. She was unable to lift them because she was “sweating from anxiety.” She immediately called 911, she told police.
- Police found holes in Snyder’s story. Another resident of the home reported the kids never played in the basement and did not use dining room chairs to build forts.
- Connor also never mentioned being bullied, the other resident told police.
- A second witness told police Snyder had texted her and asked her to pick Connor up from school, because he was being bullied and was suicidal. But when she arrived to pick him up, he was laughing and sitting with friends. He made no mention of bullying, the witness said.
- The same witness told police Snyder had mentioned feeling depressed and unable to get out of bed a few weeks before the children were found hanged. Snyder allegedly said she did not care about the children anymore, the witness said.
- Kutztown School District officials told police Connor had below-average visual motor skills and perceptual vision, which would have made it difficult for him to operate the clasp on a dog lead or maintain balance while standing on a chair. The school district was not aware of any bullying Connor might have experienced, police say.
- Authorities seized several of Snyder’s devices over the course of the investigation. Snyder allegedly did not provide all of the devices during the initial stages of the investigation, requiring police to obtain further search warrants.
- Police obtained search warrants for Snyder’s Google and Facebook records, which is where they discovered the search terms related to suicide and murder.
- They also found explicit Facebook messages discussing and sharing photos of Snyder’s dog performing sexual acts on her.
- In two of the final messages, sent just days before the hangings, Snyder tells the recipient of the explicit messages Snyder allegedly sent that “you’ll hopefully see Sunday,” before another message where she lamented that she was having trouble locating a babysitter.