HEPBURN TOWNSHIP, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Officials have unsealed the criminal complaint and affidavit regarding the deaths of two young girls found buried in the yard of their Hepburn Township home.
On September 1 of 2020, Children and Youth Services of Lycoming County had inquired into a case of child neglect for 7-year-old Jesse Snyder. While there, agents questioned the child’s mother, Marie Snyder, regarding the whereabouts of her other children, 3-year-old Jasmine Snyder and 6-year-old Nicole Snyder, which sparked an investigation as to their location.
On November 6 of 2020, human remains were found on the Hepburn Township property where Snyder lived with her girlfriend, Echo Butler. Through the police investigation, officials were able to confirm that these were the remains of Nicole and Jasmine.
Police interviewed Snyder, Echo Butler and Echo’s mother, Michele Butler after their arrest in November and confirmed that the girls died as a result of starvation and physical abuse.
According to police, Echo admitted to police that she “hated” the two young girls because they were “bad.” She would “knee or push” the girls into walls and would “choke’ Nicole until her eyes rolled back into her head. Court papers indicate Marie and Echo would only feed the girls small portions of food and “two sips of water” with what little they were fed.
Witness testimony stated that the girls would be forced to eat alone in a dark room whiles others had full meals, and believed the girls received cold baths as punishment.
Echo, Marie, and Michele all told police that as punishment, the girls would be forced to stand in a dark room or a dark corner, and sometimes they would be restrained.
Michele told police that she believed that Nicole had died in May of 2016 and that in the days leading to her death she was “pale, unable to stand on her own and her hair was falling out.” Police say that Echo had admitted to burying Nicole in the back yard of the house on Livermore Road.
Snyder received benefits for both children from the time they were born until four to five years after they died.
Marie Snyder is facing 21 charges related to criminal homicide, child abuse, and theft.
Echo Butler is facing 19 charges related to abuse of corpses, criminal homicide, and tampering with evidence.
Michele Butler is charged with 10 counts relating to concealing the death of a child, abuse of corpses and endangering the welfare of children.