Teen Mother Sentenced to Jail 40 Years After Abandoning Newborn in New Jersey Park

Mary Catherine Snyder, now known as Mary Crumlich, was sentenced to a year in jail last week after pleading guilty to manslaughter in a case that had remained unsolved for four decades. The incident occurred on Christmas Eve in 1984 when Snyder, then 17 years old, left her newborn daughter to die in a plastic bag near a stream in a wooded area of upscale Mendham Township, New Jersey.

The tragic discovery of the abandoned baby girl, wrapped in a towel with the umbilical cord still attached, shocked the community. The medical examiner determined that the infant was born alive, and her death was ruled a homicide. The local priest, Rev. Michael Drury of St. Joseph Church, baptized the baby and named her “Mary.” She was buried in the church’s cemetery, with funds collected by compassionate police officers who were deeply moved by the tragedy.

Over the years, detectives tirelessly pursued leads to identify the baby and her parents, as well as the reasons behind the abandonment. Their efforts finally paid off in 2023 when modern DNA-testing methods led them to the identity of the baby’s deceased father. This breakthrough led investigators to Snyder, who was living a seemingly normal life as a married baseball mom with two sons in a South Carolina suburb.

Snyder, now 57 years old, expressed remorse and sought forgiveness during a heartfelt conversation with Rev. Drury. “I know I did wrong. I know it’s wrong, and I asked God to forgive me,” she confessed. The priest assured her that God had forgiven her and that Baby Mary was at peace. Snyder hopes to attend the annual graveside service for her long-lost daughter next Christmas Eve.

Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll commended the relentless commitment of law enforcement across generations in solving the case. He attributed the breakthrough to a combination of new forensic DNA technology and traditional police work. Snyder was arrested in April 2023 and subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter on February 28.

The father of Baby Mary, who was 19 years old at the time, remains publicly unidentified. Authorities confirmed that he was unaware of the baby’s existence and passed away in 2009. It is worth noting that New Jersey’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, which allows families to safely and anonymously give up infants, was not enacted until 2000. Officials emphasized the importance of raising awareness about available help for young parents in similar situations.

Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. I am intrigued by this case and would like to know the author’s thoughts on the importance of solving cold cases and bringing justice to victims and their families after such a long time. Do they believe that justice delayed is still justice served?

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