Berks County District Attorney John Adams discusses Lisa R. Snyder

Berks County District Attorney John Adams discusses the murder charges leveled Dec. 1 against Lisa R. Snyder of Albany Township in the hanging deaths of two of her children in September. 

John T. Adams spoke calmly, detailing in a professional tone the heinous crimes Lisa R. Snyder is alleged to have committed.

But as he stood behind a wooden podium on the 13th floor of the Berks County Services Center, facing a wide bank of television cameras, the Berks County district attorney made clear his demeanor didn't describe his true feelings about what transpired in Albany Township on Sept. 23.

"This is not a simple situation; this was a very difficult investigation," Adams said. "It all hits us in the heart."

Adams was speaking at a press conference Dec. 1 to announce Snyder's arrest. She was taken into custody at her home by state police about 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 1.

The 36-year-old is accused of killing her 8-year-old son Conner and 4-year-old daughter Brinley, whose bodies were found hanging by a dog lead in the basement of Snyder's home in the 2400 block of Route 143. The children died in a Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown on Sept. 26.

Adams called the investigation into the children's deaths very emotional, saying the crime was a "horrific, tragic incident."

"It's just not right," he said. "And it's not fair."

The press conference didn't reveal much more information about the case against Snyder than what was included in the court documents filed earlier Monday. But there were a few new pieces.

Like the fact that two of Snyder's children, Conner and an older son, had been removed from her home by Berks County Youth Services in July 2014. Brinley had not yet been born at the time.

The boys were returned to Snyder in February 2015, and youth services continued to be involved with the family until that November. Adams declined to provide specifics about that case.

Adams also revealed that how, exactly, Snyder managed to hang her two children from a support beam remains an unanswered question, along with her motive for the killings. Snyder, he said, continues to claim, as she did in initial interviews with police, that Conner was suicidal and convinced his sister to join him in ending their lives.

Suspicion fell on Snyder almost immediately, Adams said, with the story she was telling investigators and her actions not quite adding up.

"It would be safe to say we immediately had questions," he said. "Eight-year-olds, generally, that I am aware, do not commit suicide. So, of course, we had questions."

And Conner had physical limitations, Adams said, that made it difficult for him to do things like tie his shoes. That makes it unlikely he would be able to wrap a vinyl-coated dog lead over a ceiling beam and secure it to his and Brinley's necks.

Snyder's claim that Conner was suicidal because of bullying was not corroborated by any of the witness spoken to by investigators, Adams added. Video of Conner getting off his school bus the day of the hangings did not show him in any visible distress.

Adams said it hasn't been determined if the death penalty will be sought in the case. However, he did say there were several aggravating factors in the crime but declined to elaborate.

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