Mason City Police: Arrest Made in 1994 Homicide

John Joseph Synder Jr

Michael Cisneros


MASON CITY, IA – Authorities in north Iowa announced they’ve made an arrest in homicide case nearly 20 years old.

Mason City Police, along with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation say they took Michael Cisneros into custody and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of 20-month-old John Joseph Snyder Jr.

In July of 1994 John Joseph Snyder Sr called authorities to report that John was missing from their apartment. Later in the day, pajama bottoms and a diaper belonging to the boy were found along Willow Creek in Mason City.

A day after he disappeared, the boy’s dead body was found in the creek. The State Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death was drowning and a crushing skull injury. They also ruled it a homicide.

In 2002, authorities were able to submit the evidence associated with this case and obtain DNA analysis. Those results were then put in the case file.

Michael Jason Cisneros was transported from one center to another and Iowa law requires, as a felon, that Cisneros was forced to submit a DNA sample.

In January of this year, the DNA database revealed a match between Cisneros’ DNA and the DNA found on John Snyder Jr’s pajama bottoms.

On Friday, an arrest warrant was issued for Cisneros, charging him with first-degree murder in the case.  He’s being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail

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