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Parents indicted for child’s 2016 death; 5 other kids found severely malnourished, abused


Jared Goffinet and Ken Brown  |  Fox 19

Two parents have been indicted on 26 total charges, including murder and endangering children, in connection with the 2016 death of one of their five children.

John Snyder II, 51, and Katherine Snyder, 51, are accused of purposely causing the death of their adopted child, 8-year-old Adam Snyder, around Oct. 5, 2016, according to court records from the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

The abuse allegedly happened when the couple lived on Conrad Drive in Springfield Township. They now live in New York, which is where they were arrested.

Adam died at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head, according to Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Clausing and court records.

“Adam’s death occurred within 24 hours of his prior release from Cincinnati Children's Hospital, where he had spent the majority of the day on Oct. 4, 2016,” 2019 court documents state.

The 8-year-old boy, whom the Snyders adopted from China, suffered the trauma that the Hamilton Coroner’s Office said was the cause of death on Sept. 1, 2016.

A little more than five months after Adam died, Dr. Gretel Stephens issued a death record that ”widespread acute bronchopneumonia” was a contributing factor in his death, the records show.

Dr. Stephens determined the manner of the death was a homicide.

Parents filed unsuccessful suits to overturn cause of death

In 2019 and 2020, John and Katherine Snyder filed complaints against Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Samarco in civil court to overturn the finding on Adam’s manner of death.

The court documents from the civil court hearings state that “numerous experts” retained by John and Katherine Snyder reviewed the medical records and the coroner’s report.

Those experts said medical and scientific evidence showed Adam died from “septicemia with profound neuropsychiatric illness.” Septicemia is the clinical name for blood poisoning by bacteria, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The Snyders' experts' findings went against that of the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

Both the 2019 and 2020 attempts to change the manner of death were dismissed.

Alleged abuse occurred over nearly two years

Adam was one five children adopted by John and Katherine, documents show. The couple also had one biological child.

The Snyders’ other five children were found severely malnourished and had signs of physical abuse, Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor Clausing said.

The children suffered the alleged abuse over the course of nearly two years. The earliest documented date is New Year’s Eve 2014, with the last being Oct. 5, 2016, the documents read.

Once Adam’s death record was published in February 2017, the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services filed for permanent custody of the surviving five children.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office said the information leading to the indictments came from the surviving children themselves.

Now that the kids are older and safe, the prosecutor’s office said they were able to disclose details of what happened in Springfield Township years ago.

Couple indicted on charges in death of adopted son and alleged abuse of other children

The Snyders were each indicted Tuesday on two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder and two counts of felonious assault, according to the court records. There were also 14 counts of endangering children: five against John Snyder and nine against Katherine Snyder.

They are in custody at the Clinton County New York Jail, inmate records show. A jail official said the two were in court Tuesday for an extradition hearing.

The couple said they wanted to talk with their attorney before deciding whether or not to fight extradition back to Hamilton County, according to a chief clerk with the Clinton County Court.

In New York, defendants have up to 90 days to determine if they want to fight the extradition.

John and Katherine Snyder are scheduled to appear back in court on Oct. 27.

2022 Sep 28