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Hamilton County parents accused of abusing, killing 8-year-old son make first court appearance


The couple is facing a total of 26 charges for murder, assault and child endangerment

By: Valerie Lyons

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Nearly six years after the death of an 8-year-old boy, his parents appeared before a judge charged with his murder.

John and Katherine Snyder are facing 26 charges combined for murder, aggravated assault and child endangerment.

The parents appeared virtually in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Thursday morning for their arraignment.

Court documents show the Snyders didn't feed their son Adam for more than a month-long period in 2016. As WCPO previously reported, the boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. The coroner ruled his cause of death as homicide due to blunt force trauma.

"Because the hematoma was on the back of his skull, there was no way that he would have the strength to do that to himself at that point, he just physically could not have done that to himself," the prosecutor said to the judge.

Five of the Snyders' six children were adopted from China. Adam was one of them.

At the time of Adam's death, the prosecutor said all five adopted children were abused and malnourished. She said the children were "skin and bones" and that Adam weighed just 36 pounds when he died — half the average weight for an 8-year-old.

The prosecutor also told the judge Adam had been taken to the hospital the day before he died but was allowed to go home because Katherine 'promised to take him back the next morning.' The boy had no visible injuries while at the hospital.

The Snyders' four other adopted children as well as their biological child were placed into the care of Katherine's sister. They were living in Springfield Township at the time of their son Adam's death but later moved to Delaware.

They were arrested in upstate New York last month while on a court-supervised visit with their children.

Despite years passing, the lead prosecutor told the magistrate there was never any doubt 8-year-old Adam Snyder was murdered and that his parents were responsible. The delay was to give the Snyders' adopted children time to mature.

The prosecutor said the kids were very young and knew little English at the time of Adam's death, but they've since had time to learn and are able to testify in a trial.

The oldest of the adopted children is now 14.

John and Katherine Snyder's cases are being heard separately. John was supposed to be arraigned after his wife, but because his lawyers were not present in court, his arraignment was moved to Friday.

John is facing 11 charges. Katherine faces 15, with three additional child endangerment charges. Her bond is set at $500,000.

2022 Oct 28