Authorities May Take ‘Unusual Step’ by Performing ‘Psychological Autopsy’ After 8-Year-Old Boy and His 4-Year-old Sister Were Found Hanging in Basement

A pair of siblings were discovered hanging in the basement of their home in September. Now, authorities are considering doing a psychological autopsy in hopes of learning “why?”

As the Reading Eagle reports, on September 23, an 8-year-old boy named, Conner Snyder, and his 4-year-old sister, Brinley L. Snyder, were found hanging from the rafters of their basement ceiling by their mother Lisa Rachelle Snyder.

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Upon calling for help, first responders were able to resuscitate the children, who were in cardiac arrest, and transport them to a local hospital, where they were then airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital. However, both Conner and Brinley passed away three days later after being put on life-support.

According to the Reading Eagle, an affidavit states that the children were found hanging from each end of a “plastic coated” dog leash “that had been wrapped around the main support beam of the basement ceiling.”

Two chairs taken from the home’s dining room were also found kicked over underneath the children. The children died within 14 minutes of each other on September 26. Both Conner and Brinley’s organs were donated.

The mother and her oldest son told authorities that Conner would often play video games and surf the web via an X-Box gaming console. However, the answer to the question of why, why would an 8-year-old take his own life and convince his younger sister to do it with him, is still unknown.

Now, according to The Morning Call, authorities are considering performing a “psychological autopsy” in hopes of learning more. The Morning Call says authorities have called the potential step “an unusual step” but “perhaps the only way to get to the bottom” of this tragedy.

NCBI describes this type of autopsy as “one of the most valuable tools of research on completed suicide. The method involves collecting all available information on the deceased via structured interviews of family members, relatives or friends as well as attending health care personnel. In addition, information is collected from available health care and psychiatric records, other documents, and forensic examination.”

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According to the 911 call Lisa made the morning she discovered her two children, Connor had reportedly threatened to take his own life before. The Morning Call reports that dispatchers told first responders:

“She mentioned that the 8-year-old has been bullied and has made threats of doing this, but didn’t want to go alone. … At this time, it should just be the mother and the two children on the scene.”

The investigation into Conner and Brinley’s deaths is still ongoing.

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