May 27, 2005 – Posted at 3:26 p.m. CDT
QULIN, MO – Memorial Day weekend marks a two-year anniversary for an unsolved crime in Southeast Missouri.
17-year-old Kyle Snider was killed early in the morning on May 29, 2003. It happened just outside of Qulin, Missouri on N Highway after he was hit by a pickup truck driven by a friend.
No one has ever been charged with his death and it's a case that's still being investigated.
The circumstances surrounding Kyle Snider's death still remain a mystery and his family says they continue to search for answers.
His family describes Kyle as a bit of a ham.
“When they called his name at graduation, he took off in this like Major League run and ran up the steps and started doing this ‘party boy’ dance,” said Kyle’s sister Julianne Snider, “You know you would think that I would be embarrassed or something, but I was so proud of him because he was so brave to actually do something crazy.”
Snider had only been a high school graduate for about a week before he was killed.
“The fact that we don't know what really happened to him, it drives you crazy. Because we don't know if this was deliberate, if someone deliberately killed my son or if it was an accident,” said Mary Snider, Kyle’s mom.
Snider and his friends Brant Stewart, Matt Tompkins and Jesus Valdovinos all attended a party on Memorial Day weekend. Snider disappeared from the party just after 2 a.m.
“They was leaving and they was coming down N Highway at a high rate of speed and they came around that last curve and they said they saw something in the road and Kyle was in a laid down position and we don't know how he got there,” said Mary Snider.
The truck driven by Stewart hit Snider, killing him.
“When they said these boys did it, I was shocked,” said Mary Snider, “At first you're confused, and then I was filled with anger, but within just a flash, my heart went out to them, because these were Kyle's best friends.”
But it's not known why Snider was in the road...four miles from where he was last seen at the party.
“That's the toughest part is not knowing how long my baby laid out there and suffered before he died,” said Mary Snider.
Snider's CD case was found in a nearby ditch, his wallet was 970 feet from his body, with no blood on it. His trademark glasses weren’t discovered until six days later, lying near a makeshift memorial on the side of the road.
“It haunts you, everyday it haunts you what could have happened. Why would anyone want to do that to him? Because if you knew Kyle you loved him,” said Mary Snider.
Rumors in the small town began circulating, and it was suspected the boys had been windsurfing or riding on the pickup's roof. But a report by the Missouri Highway Patrol rules that out. Snider's family believes an autopsy could have explained more, such as Kyle's time of death, but they say the Butler County Corner refused to do one.
“He said, 'Mrs. Snider, you don't seem to understand, your sons injuries were so extensive that an autopsy would not have shown anything.’ I don't believe that,” said Mary Snider, “I try not to be bitter, but yes, there is a little bitterness there. Was my sons death not worth investigating?”
Snider's mother says she has searched for answers for the last two years.
“Congressmen, state representatives, MADD, you name it and I have contacted and try to get them to help me to find out what happened to Kyle. And so far you are the first ones to come,” said Mary Snider.
“We thought that everyone had good in them, but now that he's gone, it's just seems so hard because something happened to my big brother and it's hard to think there's good in everyone,” said Julianne Snider.
“How do you get closure for that?” asked Mary Snider, “No parent should have to bury their son. I don't know how to get closure.”
Mary Snider says she doesn't harbor any hate or resentment to the teenagers who were involved the night that Kyle died, but she says she won't rest until she knows exactly what happened.
Snider's family will hold a candle light vigil memorial for Kyle this weekend at the scene of the accident on N Highway. It will be on May 29th, from midnight until 2:00 a.m., during the time they believe Kyle died.