Invisible Children

Nicole and Jasmine Snyder and One Sibling

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.


Nicole (b. 2010) and Jasmine (b. 2013) Snyder were emotionally and physically abused and killed by their mother, Marie Snyder, and her partner, Echo Butler. Butler’s parents Michelle and Ronald Bulter lived with them for a time, and both knew about the abuse and actively helped conceal it. Nicole and Jasmine’s younger brother, J., also lived with them. All of the children were homeschooled.

Nicole and Jasmine lived with their mother in a trailer in Hepburn Township after she won full custody over them in 2015. Snyder initially shared custody with their father, Joshua Snyder, until she claimed he sexually abused one of the girls and filed for primary custody. She later admitted the abuse claim was a lie, but Joshua Snyder lost custody and visitation of Nicole and Jasmine after he failed to appear in court. He last saw his children in 2015, which was also the last time any educational or official personnel had any contact with them. Neither girl was in public school as Marie Snyder homeschooled both of them.

Nicole and Jasmine were subject to harsh abuse. Echo Butler choked them and forced them to stand in dark hallways for long periods, often with their hands tied behind their back. Marie Snyder confessed that Echo Bulter would hit them, bash their heads against the wall, and rub feces and urine in their faces as punishment for having accidents. On at least one occasion, Echo Butler choked Nicole until she stopped breathing. Marie Snyder said that her partner hated her daughters, and police later found letters in the household in which Snyder wrote Butler that she was “sorry about these f***ing b*tches,” and that “if you want them gone, they’re gone.” Lisa Shoemaker, Echo Butler’s aunt, reported to police that the couple had even tried to sell Nicole but had backed out in fear that Joshua Snyder would find out. Marie Snyder and Echo Butler conspired to kill the children by intentionally starving them to death. A neighbor, Dale Fisher, testified that he had witnessed the entire family eating pizza, except for Nicole and Jasmine who ate only two spoonfuls of peas and some water.

On May 10, 2016, Nicole starved to death. Snyder admitted that at the time of Nicole’s death, she weighed 10 pounds and did not speak. She had been starved and dehydrated for two weeks, and her hair was falling out. Snyder claimed to have attempted to call 911, however, Echo and Michelle Butler stopped her, and they buried Nicole’s body in a shallow grave in their backyard. Marie Snyder and Echo Butler then moved to an apartment in Williamsport. Because she did not want to lose another child, Marie Snyder treated Jasmine better for a short time, but this period ended quickly. Around August 11, 2017, weighing 5 pounds, Jasmine died of the same cause as her sister. She was buried next to Nicole in Hepburn Township.

Marie Snyder kept her daughters’ deaths secret for several years and continued to collect child support and food stamps as though they were both still alive. Police only revealed the murders in November 2021. Lycoming County Children and Youth Services discovered the bodies after they came to the house to investigate reports that J. was not being properly educated, and they obtained a search warrant once they realized Nicole and Jasmine were unaccounted for. Marie Snyder and Echo Butler were arrested along with Michelle and Ronald Butler. Marie Snyder testified against her partner to avoid the death penalty. Michelle Butler pled guilty and was given credit for time served so she did not have to spend her 12–24 months long sentence. Ronald Butler was similarly given credit and avoided his six–12 month sentence. Marie Snyder and Echo Butler received two life sentences each. Giselle Bank, Nicole and Jasmine’s great-grand-aunt, said that this sentence was mild compared to what “you made my nieces suffer.”

Date: May 10, 2016 & August 11, 2017
Location: Hepburn Township, Pennsylvania





Documents: Date:
Father of Missing Girls Speaks to Newswatch 16 2021-11-10
‘Failure to appear’: PFAs, Missed Visitations in History of Snyder Parents 2021-11-12
Two Now Charged with Homicide for Death of Children in Lycoming County 2022-01-07
4th Person Charged in Starvation Deaths of 2 Pa. Girls Found in Shallow Graves 2022-03-01
Pa. Mom Testifies She and her Partner Intentionally Starved to Death her Two Daughters 2022-03-17
Pennsylvania Couple Allegedly Starved Daughters To Death, Buried Them In Backyard 2022-03-18
Attempt Was Made to Sell One of Pa. Girls Who Was Later Starved to Death, Police Were Told 2022-04-19
Mom Pleads Guilty in Child Starvation Case 2022-10-31
Marie Snyder to Avoid the Death Penalty in Exchange for Testimony Against Former Girlfriend 2022-10-31
Echo Butler Pleads Guilty, is Sentenced to Life in Prison in Hepburn Township Starvation Case 2023-01-21
Plea Deals After Children Starved, Buried 2023-07-06