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Expert identifies children’s remains as 2 daughters

PHOTO PROVIDED SNYDER and BUTLER

Investigators identified the remains of two young girls found in the backyard of a Hepburn Township residence Monday morning.

Police are investigating their deaths as homicides, and have their mother Marie Snyder, 32, and Snyder’s partner, Echo Butler, 26, both of 653 Livermore Road, in custody.

The remains were flown to Erie Monday morning for further analysis by a forensic anthropologist, according to Chris Kriner, Old Lycoming Township police chief.

Both remains were found in the backyard of 653 Livermore Road. Nicole Snyder, 6, allegedly died or was killed and buried in 2016. Meanwhile, Jasmine Snyder, 4, allegedly died or was killed and buried in 2017.

“An investigation into the manner of death, motive and the timeline of events continues to be explored by law enforcement,” Kriner said.

The Old Lycoming Township Police Department is leading the investigation with assistance from detectives from the District Attorney’s office, according to Kriner.

Kriner said other agencies assisted with the search for the childrens’ remains, including the FBI and Pennsylvania State Police.

“The gratitude owed to these agencies as well as the Hepburn Township Fire Department and Lycoming County Sheriff’s Office for scene security this weekend cannot be overstated,” Kriner said.

District Judge William Solomon will hold a preliminary hearing for Snyder and Butler on Nov. 17 at 1:30 p.m. He denied both women bail as flight risks and dangers to society.

Police arrested Snyder and Butler last week on charges of child endangerment and obstructing an investigation into child abuse.

Children and Youth Services took Snyder’s third child, a son who is alive and healthy, into custody for care, according to previous press releases.

Children and Youth Services allegedly tried to contact Snyder to determine the whereabouts of her two daughters for two months after a medical provider reported concerns of neglect for the boy in early September, according to Robert Mausteller of the Old Lycoming Township Police.

The girls were allegedly last seen by their father, Joshua Snyder, in 2015, and the last time they had contact with medical, court or other personnel was that year as well.

Another resident at 653 Livermore Road later allegedly told police that while Snyder’s son has lived at that address since 2015, the two daughters have been living at an unknown friend’s residence out of state, according to Mausteller.

Meanwhile, neighbors allegedly told Old Lycoming Township police officers that while they have seen Snyder’s son, who is in custody, they have not seen her daughters, Mausteller said.

Snyder allegedly told Children and Youth Services that her two daughters were staying with a friend because she did not have a bed, and refused to provide the friend’s name on multiple occasions throughout September, according to Mausteller.

The last such occasion allegedly occurred Sept. 25, when Children and Youth Services spoke with Echo Butler at the Livermore Road residence, and to Snyder on the phone. The next day, property owner Ronald Butler allegedly told Children and Youth Services that Snyder, her son and Echo Butler packed their belongings and left the night before.

Snyder and Echo Butler were taken into custody by a joint United States Marshals Service and Lycoming County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Task Force on an Old Lycoming Township Police arrest warrant.

State police and county detectives are assisting with the final search warrant to find the alleged remains of the girls on the Hepburn Township property.

District Judge William Solomon arraigned the two women after they were arrested Nov. 4.

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