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

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 3:42 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - 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 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 read.

The 8-year-old boy, who 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.

In 2019 and 2020, John and Katherine filed motions in civil court to overturn Adam’s manner of death.

The court documents from the civil court hearings states that “numerous experts” retained by John and Katherine 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, Johns Hopkins Medicine says.

Their findings went against that of the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

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

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, 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.

The Snyders were indicted on four counts of aggravated murder, four counts of murder, four counts of felonious assault and 14 counts of endangering children, according to the court records.

Currently, John and Katherine are in custody at the Clinton County New York Jail, inmate records show.

A jail official tells FOX19 NOW 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 are scheduled to appear back in court on Oct. 27.

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