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For the week of July 3 - 9, 2002


Man given withheld judgment in interference with child custody case

Express Staff Writer

A Fort Bragg, Calif., man was given a withheld judgment and fined $1,500 for helping in the apparent kidnapping of a 4-year-old Ketchum resident in a custody dispute.

Judge James May handed down the sentence to Forrest Snyder, 25, in 5th District Court in Hailey on Monday.

Snyder had pleaded guilty to felony interference with child custody, in a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to cooperate in locating his half sister, Lily Thornton. Those efforts have been unsuccessful.

Lily disappeared in June 2001 after her mother, Margot Thornton, agreed to let Snyderís brother, Eli Snyder, take her from Ketchum to Eugene, Ore., to visit her father, Steve Snyder. She has not been seen since. Steve Snyder is Margot Thorntonís estranged husband and the father of Forrest and Eli from a previous marriage.

Forrest Snyder admitted to making statements to Margot Thornton shortly before Lily disappeared that she might not get her daughter back. Prosecutors interpreted his remarks as threats, while Snyder testified that he had merely been negotiating.

"It does appear that the defendant is the least culpable of the three," May said on Monday.

Snyderís probation terms include the stipulation that he continue to cooperate in finding Lily and his father and brother. Under the withheld judgment, if he abides by all the terms, he can petition the court to dismiss the charge when the probation expires in five years.

Eli Snyder remains a fugitive on kidnapping warrants from Blaine County and the FBI. Steve Snyder became a fugitive from Orange County, Calif., after pleading guilty in April 2000 to corporal injury and false imprisonment, both felonies, and to misdemeanor child abuse.


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