Grading overall investigation 20 years later


MASON CITY, Iowa – Young and old searched for John Snyder Jr. near his home, and today we’re learning details from law enforcement on how they were able to find the child.

The main focus of the day was not only how law enforcement was able to track down the body of John Snyder Jr., but how they conducted the investigation overall.

Today, former Mason City Detectives take the stand as they go in-depth to explain how they searched for the toddler.

They say after the 911 call was placed, they quickly made their way to the area where they believed the child had disappeared from, but according to the defense, their focus should have been on the house where he lived as well.

“We did not have a crime at that time. We had a missing young person. We had no indication at that point in time that criminal matters had taken place,” said former Mason City Detective, Marvin Martin.

Despite assistance from several agencies including the FBI, it was a group of teenage volunteers from Francis Lauer in Mason City that located the first trace of Snyder Jr.

“Marty found the pajama bottoms, held them up by the corner and said look what I found. I said put it down, put it down and we all walked over there,” said Mark Folsom with Francis Lauer Youth Services.

Not far from his home on South Adams in Mason City, Snyder Jr.’s pajama bottoms were found along the Willow Creek.

Soon after, a scent dog was called in to track the scent of the child, and the animal made a startling discovery.

The dog’s trainer, Kimberly Stevens, takes the stand to explain while being questioned by Assistant Attorney General, Doug Hammerand.

“So she’s going and at some point her hair stands up correct? Yes, her ears go back. As for Charm’s trainer, what did that indicate to you? A dead scent. So Charm was trained on cadavers? Yes.”

Detectives were also asked if they secured the home after the child had been found and they said yes.

They do admit however that the investigation nowadays would be much more efficient.

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