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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of August 22 - 28, 2001


Ketchum woman 
seeks return of 
missing daughter

Express Staff Writer

A Ketchum resident and mother of three is seeking help in finding her missing 4-year-old daughter.

Lily Snyder, 4, the daughter of Margot Thornton, of Ketchum, has been missing for eight weeks. Courtesy photo.

The Ketchum Police Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are working on the case.

Lily Snyder, daughter of Margot Thornton, 33, a single working mother, has been missing for eight weeks. She is petite with blue eyes and curly, blond hair.

Thornton is in the process of divorcing her estranged husband, Stephen T. Snyder, 52, of Costa Mesa, Calif., but has not seen him since last year in March and has no knowledge of his current whereabouts.

Thornton has a temporary custody order for Lily issued Aug. 9 by Magistrate Judge Robert Elgee of Fifth District Court in Hailey.

Last year, Lilyís half-brother, Eli Snyder, 28, came to stay in Ketchum with the family for an extended visit. He took care of Lily while Thornton worked. Another brother, Forrest Snyder, 24, of Eugene, Ore., sent money to help with Eliís room and board.

With Thorntonís permission, Lily traveled to Oregon twice last year with Eli to visit Forrest and his family.

This year in May, they went to Eugene again for a month. Lily was to be returned June 27 to Ketchum, according to a hand-written, signed and notarized agreement between Eli and Thornton regarding travel plans, which was subsequently turned over to police by Thornton.

But on June 26, the Snyder brothers came to Thorntonís home asking her to sign a document giving Eli Snyder full custodial rights to Lily. It also would have included permission to take Lily out of the country without Thorntonís consent. She refused to sign the document.

Thornton said Forrest then suggested she sign over custodial rights to him and his wife, and produced a second document outlining that plan. Again she refused and called the police.

Ketchum police officers Forrest Danilson and Nathan Taylor spoke to the brothers and informed them they had two days to return Lily to her mother. She was not returned, and has been missing since June 27.

Thornton then asked Ketchum police for help and provided copies of the travel agreement and the so-called custodial contract presented by the Snyder brothers. At the request of Ketchum police, Eugene Police Officer Jim McBride then questioned Forrest Snyder on June 30. He stated he had no knowledge of the whereabouts of either sibling.

An arrest warrant on a felony kidnapping charge was issued Aug. 2 for Eli Snyder by a Fifth District Court magistrate in Hailey.

Eli Snyder has blond hair and blue eyes, is 5í 7" tall and weighs approximately 135 pounds.

Thornton is co-director of child care at Light on the Mountain Church and has her own cleaning service, called Hands of Light. She claims a strong spirituality and feels her faith will carry her and Lily through their ordeal.

"Itís all up to the grace of God anyway," Thornton said. "You canít go back. I love my kids and I love living here."

Lilyís case has been entered in the FBIís National Crime Information Center data base. Thornton has contacted both The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Americaís Most Wanted television show.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has assigned a caseworker to the case, who said the organization takes a case only when police have sent reports, the case is entered with the National Crime Information Center and it has release forms from the custodial parent or guardian.

The center helps clients by distributing posters and listing cases on its Web site.

Thornton has also been in contact with Team Hope, an unofficial offshoot of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Parents whoíve been through the experience of having a missing child join a team to give emotional support to other parents going through similar situations.

F-Stop, a Ketchum photo store, has helped by giving Thornton a discount on copies of three pictures she is using for posters.

Anyone with information about Lily or who would like to help Thornton is asked to contact her or Lee Edgerton at the Ketchum Police Department.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.