Investigation

Mother, son charged with ‘catastrophic’ neglect

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WAYNETOWN — Two family members in Waynetown are being charged with multiple counts of neglect of a dependent following a month’s long investigation by police.

Deborah Diane Snyder, 64, and her son, Lance Wayne Snyder, 40, of Waynetown were arrested Friday at their home at 309 Blackford St. Both are charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in catastrophic injury, a Level 1 felony.

Deborah faces additional charges of two counts of neglect of a dependent-placing dependent in situation that endangers dependent’s life/health; abandons or cruelly confines dependent; or deprives dependent of necessary support and results in serious bodily injury, a Level 3 felony.

Lance Snyder faces two additional counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 3 felony.

“It was bad,” Waynetown Town Marshal Kyle Proctor said. “It’s the worst case of neglect I’ve ever seen, and I’m on my 20th year of this. A lot of the hospitals ... they all said it was the worst case of neglect they’ve seen as far as injuries.”

The arrests are a result of an investigation performed by the Waynetown Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office after receiving a tip Aug. 14 that a senior citizen was in poor condition at the home.

The 70-year-old female was reportedly covered in bed sores and riddled with infection “down to the bone.” Flesh-eating insects were also present, officials said.

Proctor said medical professionals have indicated the woman will likely succumb to her injuries in less than a month.

“It’s just a matter of time. It’s just too far,” he said. “She went from ... around 170-180 pounds and went to 70 pounds in two years. They said it’s all because of her malnutrition and the injuries were just too severe. She would never be able to walk again because of the bugs and deterioration of just laying on the couch all the time.”

The relative had come to live with the Snyders in 2018 following a successful battle with cancer, according to police. The woman’s condition was discovered and reported to Proctor after Deborah Snyder asked a friend for help lifting the older woman after she had “fallen off the couch.”

The investigation began Aug. 14 when Proctor performed a well-being check within the hour of receiving the tip. He called for medical assistance upon discovering the woman’s condition.

“It ended up being a lot worse than we thought it was,” he said. “They were not feeding her, not taking care of her, not giving her water appropriately, she hadn’t been to the doctor since she moved in, she wasn’t on her medications because they never filled them.

“Basically, they just left her there to die.”

Though the investigation is ongoing, a request for a subpoena has been submitted to observe the woman’s bank records. It is believed the mother and son were using the woman’s debit card, Proctor said.

Interviews indicate Deborah Snyder has hired legal counsel and Lance Snyder freely admitted to the neglect, Proctor said.

The woman is now being treated at a long-term care facility in Indianapolis. Adult Protective Services and the Center for At-Risk Elderly are overseeing her care and have assumed legal guardianship.

“It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t get to her sooner. But when you don’t know, you don’t know,” Proctor said. “If it wouldn’t have been for this person who called then we would’ve never known. We would’ve just ended up finding her dead one day.”

The Snyders were also the subject of a 2018 investigation of neglect concerning Deborah Snyder’s mother. However, no charges were ever filed in the case.

“Hopefully we can come back on them there too,” Proctor added.

A warrant resulting from the investigation was executed Friday by a Waynetown deputy and an Indiana State Police trooper.

Police also discovered marijuana and paraphernalia in the home, resulting in possession charges for Lance Snyder.

Lance Snyder was convicted of theft in 2005, fleeing the scene of an accident in 2013 and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon in 2015. He served three years in community corrections and later violated subsequent probation for the latter.

The pair are currently housed at the Montgomery County Jail with $10,000 cash-only bonds. Additional charges may be filed against them if the woman dies as a result of the neglect.

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