Nicole and Jasmine Snyder and One Sibling


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 but was not reported to be abused. 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.”

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Brogan Duhon

Brogan Duhon smiling at the camera. There is a scenic landscape background with a sunset behind him.

Brogan Duhon (b. 2009) was deprived of food by his adoptive parents, Adam and Jennifer Duhon, and died of malnourishment on October 17, 2022. He enjoyed word puzzles and reading, and he wanted to be a chef when he grew up. He lived at home with his siblings, who have not been reported to have been abused. He was homeschooled. 

Brogan was adopted by the Duhons in 2012, and by 2015 the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services began to receive reports of child abuse. They launched a “substantiated child welfare investigation” and found at least one of the allegations to be validated. Though the DCFS reportedly provided the family with services such as counseling, their monitoring only lasted until March 2016, and they never reported the allegations to the police. The DCFS has not released how many abuse allegations they have received.

Though at least two of his siblings attended public school, the Duhons homeschooled and isolated Brogan. Some neighbors interviewed by KPLC-TV said they wondered why Brogan was the only one of his siblings not boarding the bus every morning, and other neighbors did not even know that he existed. Because of his small size, most neighbors who did see Brogan assumed he was only around 5 or 6 years old. KSLA News interviewed Roxanne Zaunbrecher, a neighbor who said that Brogan would knock on her door and ask her for food. He also told her that Adam and Jennifer Duhon would starve him and lock him up. Jennifer Duhon showed up to Zaunbrecher’s house the following day to ask if she had called the cops, but Zaunbrecher had not. 

Brogan died on October 17, 2022, two months after Jeff Davis Parish deputies conducted a welfare check after receiving a call from a concerned neighbor. Brogan was 28 pounds and 42 inches at the time of his death, and the homicide was only uncovered three months after his death when the police received the results of his autopsy. Police arrested Adam and Jennifer Duhon on February 16, 2023. They have been indicted on second-degree murder charges for starving Brogan to death. 

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Ana Loera and three siblings

photo of ana loera


Ana Loera, age 11 (b. 2007, also identified as Anna Loera), was physically abused, medically neglected, and murdered by her adoptive parents, Rafael and Maribel Loera. At the time of her death, she lived with her sisters, K. (b. 2009) and L. (b. 2016),  and her brother R. (b. 2011), who were also reported to have been abused. The eldest three were homeschooled. 

Ana was born Charisma Marquez. Her biological mother, Priscilla Marquez, described her as a “very happy little girl” who was “very spontaneous” and “was going to be a little cheerleader.” Marquez, however, gave her up for adoption as she was struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, and Rafael and Maribel Loera adopted Ana between 2010 and 2014. Initially, the three eldest children attended school but the Loeras soon withdrew them. Their neighbor Claudia reported in 2020 that she used to carpool them until the children “told [her] that they were going to be home-school,” and she hadn’t seen any of them since. In 2014, police received a report which alleged that Rafael and Maribel Loera were physically abusing one of their children, but this case was closed and the claims were declared unsubstantiated. Later, Ana’s siblings reported Maribel Loera had physically abused all of them. Rafael Loera was aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. 

In July 2017, Ana became violently ill. Rafael Loera waited several days before taking her to the hospital, but by the time he took her, she was so ill that she passed on the way. Rafael Loera took her body back and hid it in the attic, claiming that he feared he would lose custody of the other children if her death was discovered. The Loeras hid the death from Ana’s siblings and told them she had been adopted and sent to Mexico or Columbia. They successfully hid her death for three years, and police report that no one had seen Ana since 2016. 

On January 20th, 2020, 11-year-old K. called the police after being left at home for two days alone, saying that she was hungry and without food. Arizona Department of Child Safety removed her from the home. Maribel Loera had taken the other two children out of town, but eight days later she returned and child services removed the other two children. An hour later, Rafael Loera set the house on fire with the intent to hide Ana’s remains and die by suicide, though both attempts were unsuccessful. Ana’s autopsy revealed injuries across her body in various stages of healing, confirming the history of abuse prior to her death. Rafael and Maribel Loera were charged with 1st-degree murder, concealment of a dead body, and two counts of child abuse. Rafael Loera has also been charged with arson of an occupied structure. There have been calls for the death penalty, but a decision has not been reported.

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Timothy Ferguson

15-year-old Timothy Ferguson (b.c. 2007) was tortured and starved to death by his mother, Shanda Vander Ark, and his 20-year-old brother, Paul Ferguson (b.c. 2002). Timothy was homeschooled. His 7-year-old brother R. (b.c. 2015) also lived in the home but was not reported to be abused.

Timothy was homeschooled because of his disabilities—he was autistic and had speech and motor impairment. In 2012, Vander Ark was the subject of previous substantiated child abuse investigations in Oklahoma, but evaded having her parental rights terminated by agreeing to vacate the family  home. She had 18 different addresses spanning multiple states before moving to Norton Shores in 2021, where she passed the bar and worked as a legal clerk. Timothy and his father N. apparently moved to Norton Shores in May 2021, but N. suffered a stroke in January 2022 and moved in with his parents in Florida, leaving Timothy in Vander Ark’s home with N. unaware of what was going on. Soon afterwards, Vander Ark began to abuse Timothy and ordered Paul to participate in the abuse.

Timothy was forced to sleep on a tarp in a closet under the stairs, which was locked with an alarm at night so Timothy had no access to a bathroom. Vander Ark monitored her sons with five surveillance cameras in the home while she was at work and instructed Paul to abuse Timothy over the speakers and by text. Vander Ark and Paul set up their work schedules to keep Timothy under constant surveillance. Vander Ark instructed Paul “to keep Timothy awake by making sure he was uncomfortable and throwing cold water on him” and by leaving the light on to prevent him from falling asleep. Other “punishments” Paul carried out on Timothy included cold showers, forced vomiting, excessive exercise, and prolonged standing. Timothy was regularly restrained with zip ties and shackles.

Vander Ark instructed Paul on what to feed Timothy. Timothy was deprived of food and water between January 2022 and his death in July 2022; he was fed only “bread with hot sauce or rice with hot sauce.” The refrigerator door was kept locked to prevent Timothy from accessing food. Vander Ark instructed Paul to force-feed Timothy hot sauce with a “severely painful” burn as punishment for “stealing food he didn’t need.” Vander Ark also instructed Paul to torture Timothy by pouring hot sauce on his genitals; Paul refused. Shortly before Timothy’s death, Vander Ark instructed Paul to taunt Timothy with a pizza roll to see if he was still coherent; when Timothy tried to take the pizza roll, she instructed Paul to take it away. Timothy weighed 69 pounds at the time of his death and his ribs were clearly visible through his skin.

Vander Ark and Paul noticed that Timothy was “shaking and struggling to walk, but they dismissed those symptoms as fake”. The day before his death, Timothy was incoherent and unable to respond. At Vander Ark’s instruction, Paul subjected Timothy to an ice bath for as long as nine and a half hours. Vander Ark told Paul that she was determined to “outlast” Timothy. Paul struck Timothy several times on the head and dropped him on his head after removing him from the ice bath. Timothy died the following morning of dehydration, malnourishment, and hypothermia. At the time of his death, his body was covered with bruises and marks.

The abuse came to light after Vander Ark called the authorities to report finding Timothy dead. R. tipped off investigators to the abuse occurring in the home, which led to Vander Ark’s arrest. Vander Arkwas charged with murder and first-degree child abuse, and Paul has been charged with child abuse in exchange for his testimony against Vander Ark. They will stand trial in July 2023.

Date: July 6, 2022

Location: Norton Shores, Muskegon County, Michigan




Documents: Date:
Ice baths, denial of food led to teen’s death by mother’s hand, Muskegon prosecutor says 2022-07-08
Teen was restrained with shackles and weighed 69 pounds at time of death, records show 2022-07-26
Man charged with abusing, torturing teen brother heading to trial in Muskegon County 2022-08-04
Judge: Michigan woman accused of torturing, starving son competent to stand trial 2022-12-02
Norton Shores mother accused of ‘intently torturing her own child’ to stand trial 2023-01-04
‘Appalling’: Mother ordered to trial in starvation death of teen son 2023-01-04
Michigan woman accused of abuse, starvation of mentally handicapped son bound over for trial 2023-01-05

Sakenlo Jr., Sakenya, and Sakendra Steele

Sakenlo Jr. Sakenya, and Sakendra Steele
The Steele family

14-year-old Sakenlo Shawn Steele Jr., (b. 2009), 12-year-old Sakenya Syretha Steele (b. 2011), and 9-year-old Sakendra Syann Steele (b. 2014) were shot to death as part of a murder-suicide by their mother, Ethel Steele. The children were homeschooled. 

Steele was a nurse whose relatives described her as “a single mother who homeschooled her three kids” with the help of her mother, who was not named as a target of the investigation. A neighbor described the Steeles as “very reclusive,” noting that Sakenlo, Sakenya, and Sakendra only occasionally left the home to play with the other children in the neighborhood. Steele’s brother D’Mon Robinson noted that “The kids were outgoing… We have a cheerleader. We have an artist, also an anime artist.”  The children’s godfather reported the murders took place immediately after the family’s return from a vacation in Florida.

A man on FaceTime with Steele at the time of the murders, likely the children’s father, called 911. Responding officers determined that Steele shot and killed each of the children sequentially before killing herself. Evidence indicates Sakenya may have witnessed the murder of her little sister.

Date: April 11, 2023
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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Son of Shannon and Dale Hickman

A boy, G. (b. 2013), was physically abused by his mother, Shannon Hickman. G. was homeschooled.

Shannon and Dale Hickman served 6 years in prison following the death of their third child and infant son David Hickman in 2009. They were members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, which teaches the use of prayer instead of modern medicine. David was born prematurely at home and a lack of medical care resulted in his death. The couple were allowed to homeschool G. after being released from prison in 2017. 

The abuse came to light when Shannon Hickman slapped G. on the side of his head, causing his nose to bleed. G. was participating in a live virtual assessment of his homeschooling at the time, and his teacher reported the abuse after witnessing it. Hickman was convicted of criminal treatment in the first degree and was sentenced to home confinement, probation, and counseling for parenting skills. 

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Morgan Moore and 6 siblings

Morgan Moore (b. approximately 2006) died due to medical neglect at the hands of his parents, Dominique and Cynthia Moore. At the time of Morgan’s death, nine of the Moore’s children, both adults and minors, were living in the home. Moore and his six minor siblings were homeschooled. They ranged in age from 5 to 15 years old.

Morgan was fond of Japanese culture, and was excited to travel. His sister also described him as an artist. According to his sister, he was transgender, but many family members refused to accept his identity. According to Cynthia Moore, Morgan suffered from multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and symptoms of long COVID. He also had an abscess on his back that was left untreated. At the time of his death, he was unable to walk or care for himself. In spite of his worsening condition, Morgan had not seen a doctor for two years. 

The Moores isolated Morgan and his siblings from their surroundings. Their paternal grandmother, Cynthia Jones, recalls that the little contact children had outside of the immediate family was through their XBOX console. Neighbors hardly saw the children. Detectives noted that the family lived in squalor: toilets did not function, windows were covered with blankets, and animal feces was scattered throughout the home. According to some reports, the Moores belonged to a death cult and would make the entire family  lie in caskets.

The Moores homeschooled and submitted requisite documents to the Montgomery County District. The district has declined to answer questions about their records. When interviewed by police, none of the six children were able to describe what they did for school. The children showed signs of developmental delays, and had not received medical care or childhood vaccinations. 

The abuse came to light on May 10, 2022, when Morgan choked while trying to swallow apple juice. A sibling called 911 while Cynthia Moore attempted to administer CPR. Morgan was dead by the time paramedics arrived, and weighed only 79 pounds with clothes on. 

The six minor children were removed from the home and placed in foster care after Morgan’s death. After a year-long investigation, police determined that Morgan would have lived if he had received medical attention during the months leading up to his death, and Dominique and Cynthia Moore were charged with second-degree murder and neglect. The case is ongoing. 

Note: at the time of writing, several of the sources listed misgender Morgan.

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Son of Joseph and Peggy Flores

A teenage boy, L. (b. 2007), was imprisoned and tortured by his parents, Joseph and Peggy Flores. L. was homeschooled.

Joseph Flores had a conviction of sexual assault in 2002 and had a warrant for his arrest in Colorado for failure to register as a sex offender. According to L., the Floreses began to abuse him in March 2020 after the public school district was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several news articles identify L. as being homeschooled during this time, although no education occurred. 

The Floreses locked L. in a room with the window nailed shut and imprisoned him in a dog kennel, naked, with two dogs. They poured urine on L, yelled profanity at him (including racial slurs), and hit him with an extension cord. When L. was later examined, the medical examiner found bruising and scarring on his body.

The abuse came to light when L. talked to an investigator at the Child Advocacy Center in July 2020. Due to the pandemic, it took a long time to investigate the abuse and remove L. from the Floreses’ custody. The Floreses were charged with child abuse in June 2022. Read More

Child of Anthony Jerome Lewis

A 14-year-old boy (b. 2005) was choked, beaten, neglected, and imprisoned by his father, Anthony Jerome Lewis. The boy’s mother was also present and witnessed the abuse but did not stop or report it. The boy was homeschooled.

When he was growing up, Anthony Lewis’s son was often sent to live with his aunt due to incidents of abuse. At the beginning of 2019, he returned home to live with his mother and father. In January of that year, Lewis removed the boy from school to homeschool him. Instead of teaching him, though, Lewis forced him to do chores, such as cleaning the house. When he wasn’t working, the boy was forced to stay in his room with no television, phone, or access to the internet. He had only two pairs of clothes at a time. If he needed to use the bathroom, he was forced to ask Lewis for permission.

During this time, Lewis physically assaulted his son at least three times. In one incident, the boy said that Lewis choked him until he saw “weird colors” and “it started turning black.” On another occasion, he was beaten with electrical cords and belts twenty times each. At one point, the boy disclosed to his father and mother that he was having suicidal thoughts. With the boy’s mother watching, Lewis brought a shotgun, put it between the boy’s legs, and forced his fingers onto the trigger. “Do it,” he said. “Just do it. End it now.”

On November 20, 2019, police were called to the high school that Lewis’s son had begun attending to respond to a report of child abuse. The boy spoke to police, describing the abuse he experienced at Lewis’s hands between January 19th and June 30th of that year. Lewis was charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, second-degree child abuse, providing means of assisting suicide, use of a firearm in a violent crime, and failure to send his child to school, and has been ordered to have no contact with his son.

Date: November 20, 2019
Odenton, Maryland Read More

6 Children of Brian and Brittney Nelson

From left to right: Brian Nelson II holding Kurgan Nelson; Ragnar, Brantley, and Vegeta Nelson

Six children—Brian Anthony Nelson II (a 13-year-old boy b. 2009), Brantley Nelson (a 9-year-old girl b. 2013), Vegeta Nelson (a 7-year-old boy b. 2015), Ragnar Nelson (a 5-year-old boy b. 2017), Kurgan Nelson (a 2-year-old boy b. 2020), and Britannica Nelson (a 1-year-old girl b. 2021)—died as part of a murder-suicide plot conceived by one or both of their parents, Brian and Brittney Nelson. The children were homeschooled.

Brittney Nelson was raised by “mean” relatives after her single mother died young. Brian Sr. and Brittney went to high school together and married in November 2008 when she was 18 and he was 20. Their first child, Brian II, was born in March 2009 shortly after their marriage. In his early 20s Brian Sr. experienced a serious head injury at work which left him permanently disabled. While the Nelsons sent Brian II to school for kindergarten, they pulled him out of school to homeschool him in the middle of first grade because “his father didn’t get along with what they were teaching… [The school] wanted boys to dance like girls. That was the final thing.” After that, all subsequent children were homeschooled by Brittney, who did not work outside the home and also had debilitating medical issues. Brian II enjoyed playing with his younger siblings; Brantley was the “artist in the family”; Vegeta, called “Vegeta the Prince”, was mechanically inclined and loved to watch repair videos; Ragnar was the “rough-and-tumble one of the bunch”. Neighbors reported that they had no idea six children were living in the home. By December 2020, the unemployed Nelsons were hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and declared bankruptcy. The children’s paternal grandparents, Danny and Marilyn Nelson, helped as much as they could by offering babysitting and financial assistance, but the Nelsons began to distance themselves more over time.

In October 2022, the Nelsons were relying on government assistance for food, rent, and utilities. They arranged to have the children’s grandparents babysit during a planned medical appointment for Brittney. The Nelsons called their landlord and asked to have the gas line turned off. Two days later, rather than taking the children to their grandparents’ house, one or both Nelsons gathered the children in a room at the back of the house and killed them, then set the room on fire. The adults then came to the front of the house and died by violence. Numerous firearms were recovered from the home. The murders came to light when neighbors noticed the fire and tried to pull the adult Nelsons out of the house, but they were beyond help. When the authorities arrived, they determined that none of the family members were killed by the fire.

Date: October 27, 2022
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Read More