Three women have been arrested after the bodies of two missing children were discovered buried in shallow graves in a Pennsylvania backyard.
The remains of sisters Nicole Snyder, six, and Jasmine Snyder, four, were reportedly buried in 2016 and 2017 respectively, at a residence in Lycoming County.
The girls’ mother Marie Snyder, 32 and her live-in partner Echo Butler, 26, were arrested on the charges of child endangerment and obstruction. Butler’s mother, Michele Butler, 48, was arrested shortly afterwards on the same charges.
As reported by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, the two girls were allegedly last seen alive by their father, Joshua Snyder back in 2015. This year also marked the last time that the children were in contact with medical, court or other personnel.
At the time of writing, no charges have been filed in their deaths, however, authorities have now opened a homicide investigation into this case.
On Monday, November 8, the two bodies were taken to Erie to be examined by a forensic anthropologist, with investigators promising a full investigation was underway.
‘Both DA [Ryan] Gardner and I agree that this situation is a travesty of colossal proportions’, Old Lycoming Township Police Chief Chris Kriner said. ‘This investigation will not conclude until all evidence is gathered and analysed, interviews are conducted and justice on behalf of the two deceased innocent girls is achieved.’
In September, as reported by Fox 29, the Children and Youth Services department started looking into reports about ‘educational issues’ regarding Snyder’s seven-year-old son.
It was at this point that officials learned Snyder had two other young children who were unaccounted for, and decided to seek help from police.
The three women are being held without bail pending preliminary hearings on November 17. Snyder’s son, who is said to be alive and well, has since been taken into custody for care.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111