MASON CITY – Authorities announced a breakthrough Monday at the Mason City Police Department in a long-standing unsolved murder investigation.
According to police:
At approximately 8:18 AM on July 20th, 1994, John Joseph Snyder, Sr. called 911 to contact the Mason City Police Department. Snyder advised that his 20-month-old son John Joseph Snyder Jr., was missing from their apartment.
John Snyder Jr., was the son of John Snyder Sr. and Lisa Sellman. Sellman did not reside with Snyder, who was the primary caretaker of John Snyder Jr. John Snyder Sr. and his son had moved into an apartment, at 10 S. Adams around the fîrst of July that same year.
Police officers were sent to Snyder’s apartment where police spoke with Snyder and began a search of the apartment and surrounding area. Later that day, pajama bottoms and a diaper belonging to John Snyder Jr. were located along WillowCreek in Mason City.
0n July 21, 1994 at approximately 9:56 am John Joseph Snyder Junior was found in Willow Creek just east of the Pennsylvania Avenue bridge. An autopsy was performed by the State medical examiner’s office. lt was determined that the cause of death was drowning and a crushing skull injury. Manner of death: Homicide.
In 1994 DNA analysis was not done on the evidence collected in this case as this technology was not yet available. But on December 2, 2002 the Mason City Police Department was able to submit the evidence associated with this case and obtain DNA analysis. These results were retained as part of the case file.
On December 19, 2012, Michael Jason Cisneros, 37, was transported to the Medical and Classification Center in Coralville, Iowa. Per Iowa regulations as a convicted felon, Cisneros was required to submit a DNA sample to the Iowa Department of Criminal investigation lab for entry in the DNA database otherwise known as CODIS.
On January 30, 2013 a Search of this CODIS DNA database revealed a match between the DNA Sample submitted by Michael Cisneros and the profile taken from the evidence submitted in December 02, 2002, namely John Snyder Junior’s pajama bottoms.
On Friday, July i2, 2013, an arrest warrant was issued for Cisneros charging him with First Degree Murder involving the death of John Joseph Snyder Jr. Cisneros is currently in custody and being transported to the Cerro Gordo County jail.
“Today’s arrest is a culmination of a 19-year investigation into the death of little John Joseph Snyder Junior. Spanning the years of this investigation, numerous people of interest have been scrutinized including Michael Cisneros. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the hard-working, dedicated Officers, many of whom have retired, for their determination and diligence on this case. Was it not for their hard work back in l994 and since, it would not be possible to bring justice to this little boy,” DCI Special Agent Mike Krapfl explained at today’s press conference.
If you have any anyone has information relating to the investigation, please contact the Mason City Police Department at 641-421-3636.
Watch press conference: