Third woman arrested in child homicide investigation
Bailed denied 'flight risk and a danger to society'
Another arrest has been made in the investigation into the deaths of two Hepburn Township girls.
Michele Butler, 48 of 653 Livermore Road was arrested in a Williamsport residence on Tuesday by Old Lycoming Township police officer Robert Mausteller on an arrest warrant.
Michele Butler is the mother of Echo Butler, 26, who, alongside Marie Snyder, are accused of endangering the welfare of Snyder’s two daughters whose remains were found in the backyard of their Livermore Road mobile home residence.
Michele Butler faces charges of endangering the welfare of children and obstructing a child abuse investigation, according to Mausteller.
District Judge William Solomon arraigned Michele Butler Tuesday afternoon, and denied bail. Butler’s docket states she is a flight risk and a danger to society.
Michele Butler will remain incarcerated in an out-of-county prison until her preliminary hearing before Solomon Nov. 17.
Police arrested Snyder and Echo 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.
District Judge William Solomon arraigned the two women after they were arrested Nov. 4.
Echo Butler also allegedly admitted she concealed the locations of all three of Snyder’s children, and admitted to knowledge surrounding the deaths of Snyder’s two daughters in an affidavit that was unsealed Monday afternoon.
Additionally, Police allege Echo Butler claimed she did not know the daughters’ location, before later admitting she “knew the truth regarding their circumstances.”
“It is apparent that Echo Butler has intended to obstruct Lycoming County Children and Youth from their investigation into the whereabouts of her daughters Nicole and Jasmine Snyder. Marie Snyder and Echo Butler subsequently fled the residence and has not responded to calls or messages from Children and Youth,” Mausteller said.