Genetic genealogy testing helps solve sexual battery cold case

Cold case resolved after genetic genealogy testing.
Cold case resolved after genetic genealogy testing.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 5:06 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (PRESS RELEASE) - Efforts by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Layton Utah Police Department have led to the closure of two cold case sexual battery cases, perpetrated by the same man. He died in South Carolina in 2015.

The Okaloosa victim was 26 when robbed and attacked on Okaloosa Island in September 1986. She now lives in New York and says she is grateful the identity of her attacker is finally known. The case in Utah occurred in 1996.

The ultimate closures came through cooperative efforts of both agencies and the use of Genetic Genealogy testing and investigations. DNA and fingerprint evidence from the original sexual assault kits were used by a certified familial genealogist to develop a potential link to a person of interest.

The investigation ultimately led to Mort Snyder, Jr. who briefly lived in Freeport with his father following his 1984 retirement from the military. Snyder also lived in Utah during the timeframe the sexual battery in question was committed.

The Okaloosa victim did not want to be identified, but in learning this new information, did want to express her gratitude. She said “Although it happened 34 years ago,” she is “grateful her case was solved. I gave up thinking he would be caught.”

The victim also expressed deep appreciation towards Okaloosa County Deputy Sonya Shepard and Utah Detective Richins for having found her attacker. She said "Even though he has passed away, I learned he had been in and out of jail for other crimes. His victims will know that he paid in some way for all the mental and physical abuse they suffered. "