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A Pennsylvania mother who said she found her two children dead in the basement of their home told emergency dispatchers that her son had “made threats of doing this, but didn’t want to go alone,” according to a dispatcher call released this week.
The coroner has not recorded an official cause of death for Lisa Snyder’s son Conner, 8, and daughter Brinley, 4, and the investigation remains open. The tragedy happened Sept. 23, but the details of the dispatcher call, first reported by The Morning Call, were not made public until now.
Snyder told Berks County dispatchers on Sept. 23 she found the children unresponsive. In the call between the emergency dispatcher and the responders, a fire captain asks: “Any indication from the caller if the scene is safe or how these children ended up there?”
The dispatcher responded: “She mentioned that the 8-year-old has been bullied and has made threats of doing this, but didn’t want to go alone… At this time, it should just be the mother and the two children on scene.”
A state police spokesperson told The Daily Beast the siblings were revived in a medical helicopter on the way to Lehigh Valley Hospital but died in the intensive-care unit three days later.
Snyder told The Daily Beast she is “not yet ready to make public statements.” A spokesperson for the Berks County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment, citing the “ongoing investigation.”
Pennsylvania State Police seized a number of items from the scene, according to search warrants. That includes a wire cable, two wooden chairs found overturned, a cellphone, two iPads, a laptop, and an XBox game system.
“The 8-year-old victim is known to play video games and view various internet websites utilizing the XBox gaming console,” one warrant states.
Investigators also took two additional cellphones from Snyder after learning from her 17-year-old son that she had multiple phones, according to a search warrant. Another warrant, issued Oct. 2, called for locating the family’s dog, a 50-pound black husky/pit bull, that had been missing for the last week.
“By determining the dog’s actual weight and size utilizing a scale will assist in the criminal investigation,” Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ian Keck said in the warrant application, though it was not clear why the dog was part of the probe. “All of this is important to the criminal investigation and reconstruction of the events surrounding this incident.”
According to the Kutztown Area School District, Conner was a third-grade student at Greenwich-Lenhartsville Elementary School. Officials there declined to comment on allegations the 8-year-old was bullied prior to his death.
"Conner was a beloved member of the Greenwich Elementary School family who enjoyed his peers and teachers,” Superintendent Christian Temchatin said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “He is dearly missed and is fondly remembered for the smile he brought to all who knew him.”
The state Department of Human Services confirmed to The Daily Beast that “ongoing case management services” were previously provided to the Snyder family through Berks County Children and Youth Services—but declined to provide details.