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Lisa Snyder, 36, has been charged with first and third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of children in the deaths of her son and daughter, as well as animal cruelty including intercourse with an animal
A Pennsylvania mother has been charged with murder in the deaths of her two young children who were found hanging from a dog leash in their home earlier this fall.
Lisa Snyder, 36, was arraigned on Monday on two counts of first and third-degree murder, endangering the welfare of children, as well as animal cruelty including intercourse with an animal.
Snyder's arrest came more than two months after the deaths of her eight-year-old son, Conner Snyder, and her four-year-old daughter, Brinley Snyder.
The coroner said Monday that both children died of hanging and ruled their deaths homicides.
Snyder told authorities that she discovered her son and daughter in the basement of their Albany Township home on September 23.
The children were said to have been found suspended from opposite ends of the same plastic-covered dog leash.
Investigators said the leash, which was purchased that morning from Walmart, was tied around the main support beam in the cellar; two chairs were overturned on the floor next to the children.
Paramedics who were summoned to the scene were able to resuscitate Conner and Brinley. The kids were then rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, where they were placed on life support but died three days later and 14 minutes apart.
According to authorities, Snyder claimed her son was being bullied and was suicidal, but those who knew the eight-year-old, including his classmates and teachers, have repudiated the mother's claim.
Snyder also alleged that her four-year-old daughter was hanged because Conner did not want to die alone.
'Eight-year-olds, generally, that I am aware of, do not commit suicide, so of course we had questions,' Berks County District Attorney John Adams said.
According to the siblings' joint obituary, Conner was a third-grade student in the Greenwich Elementary School. His sister was in her second year of Pre-K at Early Learning Community.
'Conner greatly enjoyed building forts and playing video games,' the obituary read. 'Brinley loved playing dress up and she loved the movie Frozen.'
Adams said at a press conference on Monday that Conner had a disability that would have prevented him from tying nooses around his neck and that of his sister, reported NBC News.
An occupational therapist who was working with the boy told investigators Conner could not even tie his own shoelaces because of his problems with dexterity.
Adams said Snyder allegedly told a witness ‘she was depressed’ and ‘didn't care anymore about her kids,’ and in a separate conversation with a friend she allegedly said she had ‘had enough,’ reported ABC13.
'This is a horrific, tragic incident,' Adams told reporters. 'I don´t think that I can stand up here, nor can anyone, explain the horrific loss of two innocent children´s lives. I think it goes without explanation.'
He said prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty if Snyder is convicted of first-degree murder. She is currently being held without bond.
In the course of the in investigation, detectives obtained Snyder’s Google searches, which included entries such as ‘hanging yourself,’ ‘short drop, simple suspension,’ ‘carbon monoxide how long to die,’ and ‘does a hybrid car produce carbon monoxide.’ Some searches were made the day before the hanging.
There were also searches for episodes of a documentary series on crime called 'I Almost Got Away With It,' according to an affidavit of probable cause.
As police were going through Snyder’s social media content, they allegedly uncovered evidence on Facebook Messenger, including photos, suggesting the woman had sex with the family dog, previously described as a medium-sized husky-pit bull mix. The pet has been given away since the deaths of the children.
Welfare officials said Conner and Brinley, who lived with their mom and their 17-year-old brother, were known to Child and Youth Services.
The children had been removed from Snyder’s home in 2014 and returned into her custody in early 2015.