MASON CITY, Iowa – For the first time during trial, we hear from John Snyder Sr. and how he describes the events that led to little John’s disappearance.
John Snyder Sr. testified late Monday afternoon, and as the legal guardian of the young victim at the time of the boy’s death, he’s garnering a lot of attention.
Trying to recall every detail of what happened nearly 20 years ago can be a tall order, but for Snyder Sr., there are some memories you never forget.
“What was your reaction?” asked Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen.
“It’s just empty. It was just bad. I mean there was nothing there. He’s just a little baby you know, 20 months old,” replied Snyder Sr.
In his witness testimony, Snyder Sr. describes everything from the 911 call he made that morning, to how he reacted when hearing little John’s body had been found.
Still, there was some doubt that lead investigators on the case to say that that stayed with them all these years.
“It just seemed to me that it was a little too much, a bit over-the-top,” said former Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Jack Seward.
Back in 1994, Seward was present the day Snyder Sr. found out about the death of Snyder Jr.
He says he would have to restrain Snyder Sr. from approaching the body at one point, but claims it seemed “unnatural”.
Lead Investigator in the case, Dan Raemaker also agreed that Snyder’s actions seem forced at times.
“I didn’t like the way the call came in. I would think that people would normally wake up with an intruder. The story itself bothered me,” said Ramaeker.
At one point, when describing the condition of the home the day Snyder Jr. had gone missing, Ramaeker says he has reason to believe certain elements may have been “staged”.
The story, according to Snyder Sr. is that he had left his spare house keys in the glove compartment of his car.
When he returned to the car in search for Snyder Jr. the next morning, he noticed the keys were missing.
According to investigators however, it may be too convenient of a story.
“At any point in time, did you feel that you may have been the focus of the investigation?” asked Dalen.
“I didn’t feel it, as much as I was being told that,” replied Snyder Sr.
Investigators say since Snyder Sr. was one of the last adults to see little John alive, he has always been considered a suspect.
“At some point, he is your only suspect?” asked Defense Attorney Steven Kloberdanz.
“Yes,” affirmed Ramaeker.
“That is true that he is your only suspect for a number of years, until 2013?” asked Kloberdanz.
“That is correct,” replied Ramaeker.
In cross-examinations, questions were asked about John Snyder Sr. and his connection to Michael Cisneros.
According to Snyder Sr., only a handful of people had met little John, since they had only moved into their new home for about two weeks.
Cisneros was one of those people.
Similar questions are expected tomorrow in court.