W.Va. couple accused of child abuse


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Berkeley County couple is accused of depriving four children in their custody of food, shooting the children with BBs and bottle rockets, and other abuse amid conditions that one child described to police as "living hell."

Nathan Allen Snyder, 25, and Christina Ann Snyder, 40, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., on Thursday were in Eastern Regional Jail on $200,000 bonds set by Berkeley County Magistrate Sandra L. Miller.

The Snyders each were arraigned by Miller on four counts of child abuse resulting in injury, according to court records.

The victims are an 8-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and two 14-year-old boys, according to complaints filed with the court that detail allegations compiled by Berkeley County Sheriff's deputies Steven Crites and C.K. Gibbons.

The girl told Gibbons in an interview last month that a cigarette was put out on her left knee, a finger on her right hand was burned, soap was put in her mouth, her eyeglasses were broken when her stepfather came into her bedroom naked and she was verbally abused, according to court records.


The 12-year-old boy told police he was burned with cigarettes, had smoke blown in his face, was punched in the stomach and arm, and was made to run laps around a gravel road in his bare feet, according to court records.

"The victim described living with (his stepfather) and his mother as living hell (in an interview with Gibbons)," according to court records.

One of the two 14-year-old victims said he was beaten on the head with a spoon until he started bleeding and that he was struck in the back with a bottle rocket that stung a lot more than it burned.

The teenager told police he was choked to the point of nearly passing out and was awakened in the middle of the night and told go to a neighbor's house about a mile away to ask for beer and cigarettes, according to court records.

He told police he had to give his stepfather and mother massages "just to eat."

"He stated it was gross, but he would just do it because he was hungry and he also (said) that they would lock up the food so he and his sibling(s) couldn't get to it," according to complaints filed in magistrate court.

The boy also said the only thing that made him happy was going to school. He also said his parents would steal money from him and take Christmas gifts that his grandfather had given him and force him to "buy them back."

"The victim stated that he moves back and forth to different places because (his stepfather) and his mother can't hold a job and they always call all of us their meal ticket," the deputies said in the complaints.

The teen's twin brother told police the massages for food had been happening since they were little, according to court records.

He said he was forced to live in some "nasty places" with his mother and stepfather and that he had to go to the bathroom in a bucket and put it in a bag and throw it in the woods, according to court records.

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