Berkeley County couple faces more child abuse charges

August 21, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Police have filed additional charges against a Berkeley County couple now accused of abusing five children in their custody, depriving them of food, shooting them with BBs and bottle rockets, and other physically abusive treatment, according to court records.

Christina Ann Snyder, 40, and Nathan Allen Snyder, 26, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., each were in Eastern Regional Jail Friday night on $50,000 bonds set by Berkeley County Magistrate Joan V. Bragg, court records show.

Christina Snyder was charged with conspiracy to commit child abuse resulting in injury and Nathan Snyder was charged with child abuse resulting in injury, according to court records.

Last week, the couple waived their right to a preliminary hearing in magistrate court on four felony counts of child abuse that previously were filed against them. The Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney's office agreed to allow their bonds to be reduced so they could be released from jail.


In the new complaints filed against the couple this week, Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Deputy Steve Crites said the fifth victim was a 5-year-old girl.

The victim told police in an interview on July 22 that Nathan Snyder beat her on the leg with a metal spoon -- so hard that she was bleeding and needed stitches at the hospital, according to Crites' complaint.

"(She) also advised she got a blue eye and pink forehead from (Nathan Snyder) slamming a bat on her eye," Crites said. She also told police that Nathan Snyder beat her legs with belts, according to the deputy's complaint.

The abuse happened in April, according to Crites' complaint.

The girl told police she was staying with her grandmother in Delaware since the Snyders were in jail and also indicated she was aware of the other allegations involving her siblings.

The complaint filed against the couple in May indicates the other children abused were an 8-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and two 14-year-old boys, according to complaints by Berkeley County Sheriff's Department deputies.

The victims told police they were burned with cigarettes, beaten and punched, and one was made to run laps around a gravel road in his bare feet, according to court records.

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

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