Opening statements on child’s condition and relationship to Cisneros


MASON CITY, Iowa – Prosecutors begin the day with their opening statements on the murder trial of Michael Cisneros.

According to prosecutors 20-month-old, John Snyder Jr. was brutally beaten and left along the banks of the Willow Creek.

Prosecutors also reference the fact that Cisneros was kicked out of his mother’s home the night of Snyder Jr.’s disappearance. They believe this would give him the opportunity to make it to Snyder Jr.’s residence.

“We may never know why. The evidence will not show us why, but what the evidence will show us, is who committed this crime,” said Cerro Gordo County Attorney, Carlyle Dalen.

According to prosecutors, five blood samples were taken from the pajama bottoms of Snyder Jr. that were found near a wooded area along the Willow Creek.

All of which they say nearly 20 years later, matched Cisneros DNA.

“He was beaten, he was thrown into Willow Creek alive. He drowned and was found approximately a day later,” said Dalen.

Those with the defense say they do not disagree that Cisneros may have been around that area, but had nothing to do with the death of Snyder Jr.

When it came to the blood being found on the pajamas of Snyder Jr., they claim Cisneros had accidentally cut himself at his home in a dispute with his mother.

After he was asked to leave his mother’s home by law enforcement, he would end up in a wooded area to avoid police.

He went to the bathroom in the area and may have wiped his hands on a piece of cloth he found there.

The defense claims there is very little, if anything to tie Cisneros to the Snyder family and therefore no motive for the death of Snyder Jr.

Instead, claiming that Snyder Sr. had more to do with his son’s disappearance then once believed.

“That connection is not there and there will be no evidence to show that some random person came and took his son and definitely no evidence to show that random person was Michael Cisneros,” said Defense Attorney, Latitia Turner.

After testimony, the county medical examiner in the case from 20 years ago took the stand and gave a detailed report of John Snyder Jr.’s condition after being brought from the creek.

“In drowning victims typically, not always, but often times the body does contain a frothing material. You see in this picture exuding from his left nostril,” said Former County Medical Examiner Dr. Dale Andres.

He would later conclude that the fact that Snyder Jr. died from fresh water drowning means he was alive at the time he entered the water.

Snyder suffered severe injuries to the face including a severe laceration below the lip and a fractured jaw bone which Dr. Andres believes came from a blow to the head.

Andres estimates the time of death to be around 1:00 am that morning of July 20, but says it could have also happened a couple of hours before or after.

Cisneros was kicked out of his mother’s home at approximately 2:40 am that morning.

Today jurors also had a chance to listen to the 911 tape from that day where a frantic John Snyder Sr. called Mason City Police dispatch.

“I just woke up this morning. I have a 20-month-old son named John. I live in apartment building by Principal…and he’s gone,” said Snyder Sr.

Police say the call was made around 8:30 am on July 20.

Thursday, jurors will continue to see the many witnesses from this case who are scheduled to testify in this case.

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