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That house was our dream house on the outside was a great marriage, great family, made lots of money. You go in that door. That's not how it was. That was just solving a problem.


The husband vanishes without a trace. He left a young daughter behind.


I was hearing rumors that he went to the Caribbean.


I felt hurt and betrayed, missing or hiding. The answer was deep in the desert. A lot of this isn't had enough, I believe. He fell victim to foul play. My suspicion was that there was a body under the tree. It's time to complete the. A wife with a secret. It's beyond me how anyone can do that. I can only imagine what it would be like keeping that secret. You ready for what's coming? What do you say?


You're ready. I know that it has to happen.


There's an old saying that two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. We never talked about what happened or why it happened. Every marriage has its secrets and this one was no different. But what if the secret becomes bigger than you? I was just. Solving the problem. They were two people who'd been unlucky in love the first time around. Back then, she was Ellen Sheffield in her early 30s, divorced with a young child and looking for someone to share that next chapter of her life.


And then quite literally, in walked Mike Snyder and I said, Hi, Mike, how are you doing? It was the fall of ninety one auto mechanic, Mike Snyder was visiting a friend at the car dealership where Allen worked. He was curious about the redhead who'd greeted him with a big hello. He didn't remember who I was, but he got back to work and called back over to find out who I was. Turned out they'd worked together years before this time, the quick encounter led to a fix up by mutual friends.


Great guy, you know, showed interest in me opposites, attracted the quiet and introverted Mike hit it off with the talkative and outgoing Allen.


He'd leave flowers on my car. We go out to dinner. He was nice to my son. And that was important to you. It was very important to me, absolutely.


And Ellen herself was smitten with Mike. He was a skilled mechanic, regarded as one of the very best in Albuquerque.


He probably worked at least six days a week. He was usually the first one there in the last one to leave.


Dave Syler worked alongside Mike for a decade at a Jeep dealership.


If you owned a Jeep and it was an older jeep, I could fix it. He had a wealth of experience with the Jeep product, and that wealth of experience earned Mike a six figure salary. Were you happy for his success? Absolutely. You know, it was a proud thing to say that. Oh, yeah. Mike Seiders, my boyfriend, Elon, was making a name for herself, too. She was the automotive service advisor at a neighboring dealership.


There's a perception that women don't really know about cars. That's correct. And that irritates me to no end. But Elon knew a lot, not just about cars, but how to make the customer happy. Mechanic Jim Hurtado calls her a problem solver.


You know, what can we do to fix the problem? Make it go away? So she wanted to do is take care of the customer.


This problem solver was a rising star at work and asked for her personal life. Well, Elon's was running on all cylinders. Six weeks after we started dating. He bought me diamond earrings for Christmas. So it was all very fast.


So fast that after only a few months of dating, Ellen and her eight year old son, Michael moved in with Mike. Did he seem like he was happy? He did seem like he was happy. He did. Mike had no children of his own. Now he was filling a void in young Michael's life, Mike's sister, Terri, and he treated him almost like his own son. They shared a lot of the same interests. They would tinker in the garage together.


But it wasn't long until Ellen says she noticed that Mike's affection wasn't all she'd wished for.


I'm all happy that we're going to have Valentine's Day together. We were in love and he didn't come home. He decided he was going to go out with his friends on Valentine's Day. On Valentine's Day. He couldn't understand why I was upset about that. But let's face it, not every guy makes a big deal out of Valentine's Day.


And so Ellen chalked it up to simply Mike not being the most sensitive of man. Made you sad.


I'm not sure that's the right word for it. I think I was a little confused at the time.


Confused or not, they stayed together and a few years later they married and then Ellen became pregnant. They began to build a 4000 square foot house in an upscale subdivision in the foothills of Albuquerque, Sandia Mountains. That house was our dream house.


It was ready just in time for the baby. Only Mike wasn't ready.


He wanted to stay at work on the day Ellen was giving birth. So I called his boss. I said, well, you know, I'm in the hospital having a baby. And he says, Well, Mike's here. And I said, Yeah, he is. Do you think you could send him once again? Maybe not the most sensitive husband, but Mike loved that baby girl. They named her Elizabeth.


She was just the joy of my brother's life.


He just thought the world of that child alone would come by the dealership and bring Elizabeth by Mike. We'd get her a balloon candy soda and just, you know, give his time to her. Everything else stopped.


But behind closed doors, Mike and Ellen's marriage was starting to unravel. Ellen said Mike seemed jealous of her success at work.


Once I was promoted to service manager, it basically became hurtful and he was standoffish.


Ellen says that from the time Elizabeth was conceived, Mike had moved out of the bedroom permanently.


I never slept together again.


And so Mike and Ellen began living two separate lives in that dream home. With their children, but still they stayed together. I still wanted this marriage to work. I didn't want to give up. That is until she learned about that secret, the big secret that would ultimately tear this family apart. I thought after after Christmas and everything was done that I would tell him what I knew.


The secret is revealed.


I felt hurt and betrayed. The confrontation that would launch an eight year mystery. On the outside, you'd look at our marriage as a great marriage, great family, made lots of money, you go in that door. That's not how of us. Alan Snyder says it had been eight years. He made the rules.


He made you follow them eight years in a marriage that was neither equal nor loving. And you were afraid to stand up to absolutely eight years of living a lie to the outside world in that big home that she and her husband Mike had worked so hard to build. But Ellen wouldn't leave, determined to make her marriage work. I wasn't going to be a failure at another marriage. Mike hung on as well. But his sister Terry says Mike was thinking of ending it.


I believe he was in the process of trying to leave her. He was moving belongings to my mother's house.


Mike and Ellen's daughter Elizabeth, was now six years old and very much daddy's little girl.


And Michael Ellen's son from her first marriage was 17, a high school junior.


How was Mike as a father towards Michael the older Michael got, the more harsh he was with him.


But then Mike Snyder got sick and life inside that home grew much worse for just about everyone in the Snyder family.


His body would go numb. He would pass out. He was in severe pain.


It was the summer of 2001 when Mike went to see a doctor. The doctor came in and said, we believe that it's an unsettling case of multiple sclerosis, multiple sclerosis.


There's no cure and the prognosis can range from a manageable disease to paralysis and even death. Mike was put on injection treatments to slow the progression of the disease. Ellen gave him the shots.


You know, it was my place. I was his wife. I was to take care of him. As time went on, Mike's work colleagues like Chuck Whyatt noticed a physically weaker Mike.


He was just kind of struggling to make it through the day. We weren't told what actually he had or what was going on, but he was not coming into work as often or every day when he couldn't work at the level he expected of himself.


Mike went on disability.


He was really starting to face it and try to understand how his life was going to be with me, which only added more stress to his marriage.


I'm sure my brother was going through incredible emotional turmoil about his physical condition.


Maybe that was the reason Mike began waking Ellen up in the middle of the night to vent his anger.


There was yelling and demeaning and calling names and. Tell me how worthless I was. He didn't want to necessarily have the big fights in front of Elizabeth, so he would wake me up to 3:00 in the morning and yell at you and yell at me.


Of course, she was careful not to tell her colleagues about this, Elena's boss to a bunch of men. And she says she feared that if she showed a single chink in her emotional armor, she would never again be effective.


They see or emotional or that that becomes the focus. It's all about the woman thing and they won't respect you anymore.




But she did say aloud that now that Mike was sick, she'd be there for him as she'd promised through the good times and the bad. She has to see him through this. She says, what kind of wife would I be in sickness and in health? Right.


She wasn't going to leave, but Alan says he had no problem leaving her. In fact, Mike was spending more and more time away from Ellen and his family. He was going back and forth between Albuquerque and Phoenix. That's where GPS held its continuing education classes in auto mechanics. He still wanted to go to training because he'd been going to training all along through his work history.


But a two day trip became three days, then four days, then a week.


Ellen was becoming increasingly suspicious of exactly what Mike was doing on those long trips away from his family and from her. And I felt hurt and betrayed that I had gone along all this time, being the good wife first. And then one night, Mike was in the shower and his cell phone was sitting there on the table next to Allen. Curiosity, she says, got the better of her. She picked up his phone and opened it. So he listen to the messages.


So listen to messages and what a shock that was.


One message in particular from a man she never heard Mike mention, someone named Dave Simmons, a man Allen believed was the reason Mike was spending so much time in Phoenix.


He would talk about how satisfied he was with their sexual contact.


There they would be explicit as to what each had done to each other.


So there really wasn't any question. There was no question what was going on here.


No, but it was January 11th, 2002. Ellen says that like so many nights before Mike Walker for their nightly screaming match, this one was at around 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.


Ellen, who had never directly confronted Mike about anything, now told him she knew all about the affair Mike was having with Dave Simmons, the man from Phoenix who left those explicit voice messages on my cell phone. There was, Ellen says, a heated argument. And then Mike left the next morning at the Jeep dealership where Mike worked. Colleagues knew only that he'd been out sick for a while. We didn't know if it was cancer or he had come back or not come back.


We had no idea. I mean, this was like losing a star player. Pretty much, yes.


But Mike's toolbox was still at work, worth around 40000 dollars. So everyone assumed he'd return. That is until Ellen broke the news about Mike leaving town. Oh, and so how's Mike doing? She said, well, Mike moved to Phoenix, Arizona. He's living in Arizona. It was also puzzling to Mike's family they could understand why Mike wasn't talking to Elliott, but why wasn't he talking to them? Their calls went straight to voicemail. We knew that he was not doing well and we knew that he was thinking about leaving L.A. So we were very concerned as to why we hadn't heard from him.


Was everything, as it seemed, was Mike really in Phoenix? And if so, what was he doing? I was hearing rumors that he went to the Caribbean and just disappeared. Where was Mike?


The mystery deepens and suspicions begin.


I believed he fell victim to foul play in. Perhaps the loneliest place on earth is in the middle of a bad marriage, which was exactly where Ellen Snyder found herself, but in the early morning hours of January 11th, 2002, that came to an end, she had confronted her husband, Mike Snyder, with her knowledge of his love affair with another man. And in a rage, she says Mike left his home and his family and disappeared. It was so calm in the house.


It had been a very long, lonely time to be married and to be lonely every day. And loneliness was gone. But what disappeared along with Mike was Ellen's second marriage, which she says she fought so hard to save. Now, it had failed, just like her first. On the plus side, she says Mike was no longer there to torment her, to belittle her and to shout at her. Your husband isn't waking you up in the middle of the night to yell at you.


It's right. It's just you and the kids now. Just me and the kids.


Ellen says she tried to reach him but couldn't, and neither could Mike's family. He wasn't returning their calls either. Mike's sister, Terry. So your mother calls you. I learned from Michael and a couple of weeks. Right. And you're thinking his mouth is getting well. We were concerned. Terri says she knew that Mike was planning on leaving Ellen soon. The whole family knew that much or assumed it. But he wasn't supposed to leave everyone.


He would have never have done that to his mother. He would have at least given her know, look, I don't want to be contacted. Please give me my space, but I am OK at work.


Mechanic Jim Hurtado noticed his boss, Ellen, seemed more relaxed, as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.


She seemed happier. She seemed more content of more at ease.


And unbeknownst to Ellen, her collapsing marriage was the topic of office gossip.


She didn't want anybody to know what was going on in her life. She didn't talk about her marriage, but other people did. And what they said was what? It wasn't working.


Well, they said Mike was hot and Mike had a reputation at work for having a hot temper, for being intimidating. Mechanic Dave Siler worked with him for a decade.


There was a lot of tension. You could just feel it from him. And, you know, a lot of people were very careful around him, what they said, what they did, because Mike's fuse could blow.


And when it did, you didn't want to be around. He blow up at dispatchers and service advisors and the dispatcher would be crying. So it didn't come as a big surprise.


When Ellen announced that Mike had left her, he packed up his stuff and moved to Phoenix, probably going to end up living in Phoenix. So then marriage must be over. The rumors spread through the Albuquerque auto business quicker than the latest recall might have left town, took the money out of the house, took all these things and just disappeared.


And then later on, I was hearing rumors that he was gay, had a male lover, went to the Caribbean. Do you have any idea who the source of these rumors was? No, everybody heard it and it was just passed along throughout the dealerships. Did you believe it disappearing?


I was kind of is one thing, but being gay now, several months passed with no word from Mike. Now, his side of the family was so concerned they decided to go to the police.


I knew at some point we had to we had to move on. We had to not just hope that he was out there, but had to at least explore other options.


Down at the Albuquerque police station, Sister Terry filed a missing persons report. She had a feeling that something had happened to her brother. It was one thing to leave a bad marriage, but quite another to end contact with the daughter Mike loved by no.


My brother remained steadfast in his love for his daughter. She was just the joy of my brother's life. I believed he fell victim to foul play. I really did not have a concrete explanation. Besides, that's just how I felt. That was my gut.


But Terry wasn't too pleased with the response the officer gave them. The officer that took our report was a little arrogant and said, you know, that he's a grown adult and that he can come and go as he pleases. And so he really at that time didn't even want to write our report.


The police are essentially making the same argument Ellen was making. Right. Mike Snyder was entered into a national missing persons database, but there wasn't much else police could do or frankly, would do. Ray Schultz was. Albuquerque police chief at the time, it's not against the law to be a missing person unless there's suspicious circumstances.


And Chief Shultz was right in saying that Mike was totally within his rights to walk out and cut off ties with everyone in his life, the people he loved, the people he no longer loved. And so the investigation was limited to that of a missing person. Winter 2002, turn to spring. No one heard from Mike Snyder. His expensive mechanic's tools lay unused at work. Allen, now a single mom, filed for divorce. She was awarded the house the money in their joint account and sole custody of their daughter, Elizabeth.


When your daughter, Mike's daughter, would say to you, Where's Daddy? What would you say? I didn't know that he had left because he was mad at mommy a year after Mike left her. Ellen says she could no longer afford that home they built together now that she only had her salary. So she sold the house and she and her kids, Michael and Elizabeth, moved to a much smaller one. It was fall 2003 when Ellen received a follow up call from the Albuquerque Police Department.


The investigator wanted to know if she'd spoken with Mike. And you say what?


I say that I don't consider him missing, that he is right where he wants to be, that he left me with this gay boyfriend and that I haven't heard from him since.


Police seem to find it understandable that perhaps Ellen didn't really care much about Mike's whereabouts at that point. They never asked me more questions than never. Show up at your house?


No. Whatever suspicions Mike's side of the family may have had, police apparently didn't share them. And so with a few computer keystrokes and without the family's knowledge or any further investigation, Mike Snyder's name was literally wiped out of the national missing persons database. Allen had said he was not missing and back then that was good enough for the police.


There should have been obviously a little bit more investigation done other than just the word of Allen Snyder.


So all this time that you saw police were looking for him and so they weren't looking for him at all.


They weren't looking for him at all.


A new investigator takes the case and quickly uncovers something curious. That doesn't sound like a missing person. No, it doesn't. It suggests the possibility that he might be alive. We would call missing persons and they would say someone would get back with us. So I believe almost in a three year span, we had little to no contact with the police department.


And it turns out they weren't even looking for most. And during that time, he was he was not even in the database.


It was now 2005. It had been three years since Mike Snyder left his home, his family, his whole life in Albuquerque. No one had heard from the master mechanic, not even his little girl who was now nine years old, a third grader. That was one big red flag for me and maybe the leading one that kept me going because I knew there would be no way that my brother would ever have left his daughter ever.


At the Jeep dealership where Mike had worked for 10 years, his name was rarely mentioned in conversation after three or four years of Mike being gone. I didn't come up to much anymore. We knew he was sick.


We didn't really know if he was still in a hospital somewhere or if he had actually just passed away from his illness.


His tools were no longer lying there unused. Ellen's son Michael was using them. He'd followed in Mike shoes and had become a mechanic as well. And on those rare occasions when Ellen would come by the shop where Mike had once worked, his old colleague Dave Siler would ask if you heard from Mike and she would say no. There just seemed to be no concern for Mike. And she was just like, no, I haven't seen Mike.


It's often said that the happiest and saddest of occasions or what bring families together. And when Mike's family gathered together to mourn the death of Mike's father, any hope the family had left for Mike's return evaporated.


That definitely was probably the final straw where we were all on board that that my brother would have definitely have shown up for his own father's funeral. But Ellen and her children did show up. They no longer kept in touch with Mike's side of the family, but they'd seen the death announcement in the newspaper and came to pay their respects. We weren't expecting them.


So it was a little strange, kind of caught us off guard. But once again, we're in a state of mourning. We we don't want to create any kind of issues. We certainly weren't going to have them escorted out.


After all, Mike's deceased father was the grandfather to Elizabeth and step grandfather to Ellen's son, Michael.


We let them come up to the casket, you know, have their bereavement time. And then all of a sudden we noticed that Michael was just hysterical, just crying uncontrollably. And at that point, my sister and I are just looking at each other and poking each other, thinking. What Michael cried so hysterically that his mother, Ellen, had to escort the 20 year old out of the room where he and your father close, not close per say, I mean, he was no closer to my father than he was my mother.


So it was a very odd occurrence that we all just took of.


And there was something else that Terri remembers about that day, something that enraged her airline at some point comes up to my sister and asks about my father's will and wanted to know if there was anything in the will provision for his daughter, for for my daughter. And she's asking about money and she's asking about money.


And the more she thought about it, the more Terri had a sinking feeling that Ellen knew something about Mike's disappearance. She certainly wasn't acting like a woman who was trying to find the father of her child. And we could not understand why she didn't seem the least bit concerned about her child not having her father. It just didn't make sense to Mike's side of the family. They pleaded with police to take a fresh look at the case. And in the spring of 2005, the Albuquerque police agreed assigned was cold case detective Mark Wilson.


The department said, yes, we'll look into it. It's been three years. He left a young daughter behind.


He left the house. The detective began digging for any information on the missing mechanic. Did any record of him exist?


First, we look into obviously the criminal and to see if maybe he'd been stopped or maybe there might be a police report on him somewhere. And there's nothing, right? There's nothing. And we also look into the fact, could he be dead somewhere?


Check the medical investigator's office and he's not there, right?


He's not there. Then I started looking in to see if there might be any indication of financial records that might indicate he was working somewhere. And there was once again, we came into a dead in there.


But the detective did discover one very curious thing. It turns out Mike Snyder had filed state tax returns in 2004 and 2005, years after his disappearance.


That doesn't sound like a missing person. No, it doesn't. What that sounds like to me off the top of my head is a guy who doesn't particularly want to be found.


It suggests the possibility that he might be alive. Is your brother the kind of person who would either know how to or want to sort of live off the grid?


He certainly had the financial means. Did he have the know how? I wouldn't think so. I don't know what it takes to to live underground, so to speak, and be a person of a different identity. I don't know if he would even have considered something like that. Could Mike Snyder be hiding, missing? And if so, why? And from whom? The search for Mike from the Caribbean. That's where he was with Dave Simmons, correct to his own backyard.


The neighbor said she remembered Michael and Elin digging out behind the garage, digging a hole. Out of the New Mexico desert, the land is dry and vast. There are roads that lead nowhere and mysteries that go unsolved. Cold case detective Mark Wilson had been trying to unravel one of those mysteries, the disappearance of Albuquerque native Mike Snyder so he could have had a successful job anywhere in the country, one that would have shown up on your search, right?


Yes. But there was no trace of him, not anywhere, it was as if the master mechanic had simply vanished, there wasn't any indication of anything that would match up to him.


But Mike Snyder had filed income tax returns in 2004 and 25 years after he disappeared. It was quite simply, very, very odd. With the investigation seeming to stall, Detective Wilson called the local paper, the Albuquerque Journal, asking if they'd file a story on the cold case, maybe the attention would shake loose some leads. Journalist Jeff Proctor.


Police were finally willing to say publicly that they believe this may have been a homicide.


It's no secret that in any homicide investigation, the spouse is always the first to be questioned. But before the detective had a chance to reach out to Ellen, she was calling him complaining about that article. And she said, where did you get this information? She was upset that it portrayed that he was just an innocent man, father that had disappeared.


The article didn't implicate you? Oh, yes, it did. I mean, I read it, it doesn't like lay the blame at your feet. Yes, it does. When she tell you she and Michael had a heated discussion and that the next morning when she woke up, he was he was gone and he hadn't taken a vehicle.


Ellen told the detective she was pretty sure that Mike had initially moved to Phoenix, home of his lover, Dave Simmons. But more recently, she believed he'd moved on to the Caribbean.


She said he's probably on an island somewhere. We had looked at land on St. Croix. As far as I knew.


I figured that he had gone to St. Croix and that that's where he was with Dave Simmons. Correct.


In fact, Ellen said she'd actually spoken with Mike over the years. Mike had called a couple of times that you heard his voice. Yes. And that wherever he was, he was maybe not angry at you anymore, but at least the two of you were talking in a sort of non angry way about the kids.


Oh, I think we were still angry. I think I told them that we were still angry, but that he was gone and that he wasn't coming back. Right. Mike, Sister Terri hadn't yet learned about Mike's relationship with the mysterious Dave Simmons or about the accusation that her brother was secretly gay. Ellen didn't share any of that with Terri until a few years after Mike had disappeared. She told other people about it at the time, but not us.


She she she didn't seem to throw that out to us at first. Any of that make any sense to you? Oh, goodness, no. I don't believe for one minute that my brother is gay.


That was only one of the components to Ellen's story that Detective Wilson wanted to check out. He says he asked Ellen to come down to the police department to meet with him in person. Only she wouldn't. And she said he's not missing. We said, well, we want to find find him and even asking her to come in to help us find him, she would not come in. And so Ellen and Detective Wilson never did meet face to face.


She claimed she was giving it all the information she had. What you weren't giving him what he needed. He wanted to meet with you, but you never said that. And he says he did. He never, ever asked me to come down, ever.


Instead, Ellen e-mailed the detective some paperwork that she'd found in Mike's desk, a Western Union money transfer from Mike Snyder to Dave Simmons in the amount of two hundred dollars, a U-Haul receipt with Dave Simmons name and number and a copy of Mike's cell phone bill from December 2001 right before he disappeared, which showed a number of phone calls to that same telephone number.


You gave Detective Wilson all the documentation you had on Dave Simmons. Yes. Unfortunately, Ellen no longer had the voicemail, the one she claims to have discovered on Mike cell phone, the sexually explicit one from Dave Simmons.


I mean, the only proof that they had a relationship is the voice mails, which don't exist anymore. Well, I think people if they knew, Mike would know that he would never send anybody money ever unless there was some sort of relationship there to Michael supporting this guy.


I never found enough money that he was supporting him, but he was definitely helping him out.


Police tell us Ellen's information didn't lead anywhere. The detective didn't locate Mike in the Caribbean. And when he tried to contact Dave Simmons from Phoenix, he never got a response. But that same Albuquerque Journal article, the one that so infuriated Ellen, also got Ellen's former neighbors talking about something they'd seen years before.


They'd seen Michael and Ellen digging out behind the garage, digging a hole. When was that? Around the time that Michael went missing. The neighbor said she remembered seeing them out behind the garage with shovels.


And that was pretty intriguing to the detective, it sounded like a viable lead, so in late spring 2006, with the current homeowners permission, Detective Wilson brought two search dogs and their handlers to the Snyders old property. A neighbor showed them where a flowering tree had been planted in 2002, a year after Mike disappeared.


My suspicion was that there was a body under the tree that they planted a tree to hide the body.


The handlers let the dogs loose on the property. At first they showed little interest. That is, until they went under the flowering tree. Incredibly, both dogs, independently of one another, gave their cadaver alert and the dog handler said this is an indication that possibly the scent is coming up through the tree.


But she did say that, well, the body could be 10 feet down here, 30 feet over that direction, if indeed there was a body there.


Detective Wilson had a new theory. Maybe Mike Snyder had never actually left home after all. Was this the big break the case needed? The detective discussed it with Mike sister.


And of course, I get both excited, intrigued, anxious, and I start asking him a bunch of questions. The team tried to dig deeper, but the ground was hard. What did you find? We didn't find anything and the dogs didn't. They were excited about the hole itself and soon the trail went cold.


The tip, it seemed like gold. And Mike's sister Terry was crushed. The detective was deflated.


I had to think that, well, there's a possibility that maybe his body was somewhere else. I did have a feeling that Michael Snyder was dead somewhere.


The digging was over. But metaphorically, at least, Detective Wilson still held a shovel. He was trying to get to the bottom of what Ellen Snyder had been doing around the time her husband mysteriously disappeared. And it wasn't long before he found someone Ellen worked with who had offered some very unusual help with a co-worker, said, I have a gun if you'd like to use it, if that'll help. Why in the world would Ellen Snyder need a gun?


He offered me the gun after he saw my bruises. Was there something dark at the heart of Mike and Ellen's marriage? It had been four years since Mike Snyder had gone missing, four years since he'd left his family, including his young daughter, in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2006, the Albuquerque Journal ran an article on the missing mechanic and father. The cold case, which had been virtually dead for years, was suddenly picking up steam.


Reporter Jeff Proctor.


It triggered some tips to the police department and it got people, you know, talking about this as something other than a husband who had walked off on his family for the first time.


Albuquerque police were publicly calling the case a homicide investigation, and that caught the attention of a man named Frank. He said, I'm the one that led to the gun. And if you think she's a suspect in this, I don't want my family in danger. So I want to turn the gun over to you.


Frank was retired military, a straight by the book guy who had befriended Alan Snyder when they worked together in 2001. She was telling people that he yells at her all the time.


It was Christmas 2001. Ellen says the daily fighting in the Snyder home that escalated Mike's multiple sclerosis had grown progressively worse, and with it, so had his anger.


He would push me around. He would, you know, he hit me. He hit you how many times? One time, um, three or four.


Alemao held an executive level position at a large dealership. She was the boss to 30 mechanics and making upwards of 90000 a year.


She put your feet to the fire. You make sure you get the job done and move on. So she was no pushover. She was no pushover. Stood up for herself. Right.


But inside the walls of that nice home, Ellen's rank was near the bottom. He became very condescending, controlling where I could go, who I could see at home, Mike made the rules and Ellem obeyed them.


You had a significant executive job at a big company. Yes. So you're not some little shrinking violet who's home cowering under her husband's direction.


But when it came to being home and opening that door, I was that shrinking violet. That's how things were. He ran the show. It was two different two different elements to different lives.


Detective Wilson interviewed Ellen's old boss, a man named James Cosell. He told the detective he remembered an incident when Ellem came to work with bruises. She was wearing sunglasses. I said, why are you wearing sunglasses? So she finally took her sunglasses off and she had a nice big shiner. I asked her, I said, you know, what the heck happened to you? She had stated to me that supposedly Mike and Michael got into some big old battle and Mike was beating the crap out of him.


So she jumped in the middle of it. And, of course, she took the brunt of it.


Was she giving the classic battered wife's explanation for her bruises? A few days later, Cazale says he heard yelling coming from Elon's office, I hear World War Three breaking loose in the office next to me. There was a guy screaming, OK.


Turns out the loud, angry voice belonged to none other than Mike Snyder.


He's standing on this side of the desk. She's standing on her side of the desk and he's just screaming and he stops when I barge in and he looks at me. I told him, I said, you know, you can't do this here. He basically told me I needed to mind my own business.


Her colleague Frank, having nothing but good intentions, volunteered to loan Allen a 32 caliber semiautomatic pistol, showed her how to use it, explained a bunch of things to her and was, you know, a 10 minute please don't shoot yourself, Larson.


I never had one before. He offered me the gun after he saw my bruises. I took it home, put it in the back of a closet. Why not just gather up the kids and leave? It was Christmas time we had a six year old daughter.


Detective Wilson checked for any police reports of domestic abuse or calls to 911. What he found. None did they have altercations throughout their marriage? I would imagine most couples do, but I have never seen any violent temper in my brother. You know, there are no documented visits to the police during. I know that it was a few months later when Ellen returned the gun to her colleague. He looked at it.


He looked at her. He said, Where's the bullets? Ellen said a friend had taken her to a gun range and showed her how to use it. And Detective Wilson had discovered something else, Ellen had actually tried to purchase another gun at a local pawnshop one month earlier, she was turned down after a routine background check. And you couldn't. What happened?


It was a fraud charge. What did you do to get you in trouble? I was working for a company that I wrote a check on.


It turns out that in the late 80s, Ellen had pled guilty to embezzlement. The charges were dropped after her probation. Suddenly, Ellen Snider's skeleton's we're starting to see the light of day and well, Detective Wilson was doing his investigative work like Sister Teri, a schoolteacher was doing hers. She told the detective about a second home mortgage that Ellen took out. Teri claims without Mike's knowledge.


We actually have a copy of that document of the second mortgage. And it is clearly not my brother's signature on either line.


That's true. Ellen says she did sign Mike's name, but says Mike knew all about it. The more Teri thought about Mike, the more she remembered his growing frustration with Allen.


In the months before he disappeared, he would intercept phone calls of debt collectors calling, wanting to know why their credit cards were past due and all these things that he had no idea of.


These were bills that he thought Ellen had run out, not some kind of identity theft, right. Not long after Mike disappeared, Ellen found herself in debt. She had 20 creditors and owed more than 120000 dollars on her credit cards. Did Mike know about the debt before he dropped by her work? Is that why Mike had showed up in a rage had he discovered the financial mess into which she put their family? And if Mike had been abusive, had Ellen come to the conclusion that she could solve that problem with a gun?


Detective Wilson was growing more and more skeptical of Ellen Snyder's story, and so was my sister Terri. But without any real proof that Ellen had something to do with Mike's disappearance, there was nothing that could be done about those aking suspicions.


There was nothing that could tangibly prove murder enough to get an arrest warrant for it until they had a body. And so another four years passed. Mike's sister, Terri, became more and more dissatisfied with the progress Detective Wilson was making.


I think at first he was very zealous. He felt that you're right, a lot of this isn't adding up. And I believe at first they worked very hard to find my brother.


But as the years went by, the unknown had become unbearable for the Snyder family.


They wanted answers from the police.


I think he got very upset with me that I was being pushy.


Our phone conversations got less and less. I would call and leave a message and my messages weren't being returned. And they kind of, I think, put the case on the back burner.


I believe Detective Wilson did continue to look for Mike Snyder, but Wilson also had to focus on the 20 other cold cases that needed his attention. And then one day in 2010 came the phone call that would break this case, a confidential informant who said he knew exactly where Mike Snyder was.


That must have sounded pretty good to you.


Yes, it did.


A secret meeting with a secret informant. This was revenge. Yes. And an undercover operation to solve the mystery and catch a suspect. Where are you going, Uncle Mike? Now, Mike Snyder had been missing for eight long years, his family didn't know where he was and the detective investigating the case had a hunch that Mike's wife, Elin, was somehow involved. Neighbors had even seen her and her son digging in their backyard. You'd look in the yard, not found anything, not found Mike anywhere, not being able to talk to anyone.


I mean, I'm not going to say this wasn't going anywhere, but it certainly didn't seem to be pointing immediately to any resolution. Correct. And that's when you get this call. Yes.


It was early January 2010, Albuquerque Police Detective Mark Wilson was sitting in his office when a most unexpected call came in. The caller, a confidential source who said he had information on Mike Snyder, who was this confidential source, somebody that was a friend with Michael Sheffield son, Ellen's son. The man's name was Patrick, a 26 year old motorcycle technician. He and Ellen's son, Michael Sheffield, had gone to high school together and were close friends. And he'd been living with me in my house with my son for months.


They lived there rent free, out of the goodness of your heart because it was Michael's friend. Yeah. You know, was a good kid. They needed this break.


Not only was he Michael Sheffield's good friend, Patrick was also Ellen's employee at the R.A. Kawasaki motorcycle dealership where she was now working as the service manager.


My boss was giving me a lot of heat about Patrick's productivity and his comebacks. So he told me in December that I needed to let him go, but he wanted to wait until after Christmas. I actually kept him much longer than I would have because he was a friend.


The first week of January 2010, Ellen fired Patrick. She could not have known just how life altering that decision would be. What he didn't say too much, just loaded up his stuff and left.


Of course, Ellen didn't know that Patrick knew the secret and he went to the police and he went to police.


And now Patrick was sitting in a Starbucks with Detective Wilson, letting him in on the eight year old secret.


So this guy didn't really come forward out of the goodness of his heart or his civic duty. This was revenge. Yes, but you'll take it. Yes.


Patrick told the detective that he knew that Mike Snyder had been killed and that his body was buried in the yard of the Snyder's former home. And how did Patrick know this? His best friend Michael had told him. And on more than one occasion, he said the next day he told him about it.


And then over the years, if they were together drinking or something, that he would break down and tell them, tell him again the story. You believe him? Yes. So this is one more person pointing you to the backyard. Yes. But you'd already look there. This seemed very believable, this information, and it really corroborated what we suspected.


Patrick agreed to cooperate with police. He drove an undercover police vehicle with a hidden microphone to Michael's home and told him they needed to speak privately. Patrick said the police had contacted him about the disappearance of Mike Snyder and he didn't know what to do.


They're really freaking me out. And I just want to come to you and go down with what I say. Why not stay in our house for like two hours? So I just want to know if you like what I should do. I just want to know if he was up here all night on my cell phone. I'm just scared. And they seem to know a lot of things, too. Like what? They were saying something about hearing gunshots.


And they're also that they might know what the weapon is, that I'm no good. I was worried at all. When they come, you just give them an hour. Or if they want to get information, I really like your number and they give it to you. Yeah, OK. And then came the big question, the one the police had coached Patrick to ask for this door. There was an order of explosive concrete.


It was now time for Detective Wilson to pay a visit to Michael Sheffield, Ellen Snyder's son. Mike Snyder's stepson, and to begin to unravel an eight year old mystery, you need to have it someplace where it's about.


What do you mean? The interrogation begins and it's time to come clean. Can they get at the truth after all these years?


I can only imagine what it would be like keeping that type of a secret. It was Friday, January 29th, 2010, and it was business as usual in the service department at an Albuquerque Saab dealership located on the west side of town. That is until Detective Mark Wilson and three of his colleagues from the cold case team showed up.


Oh, we would love to have. Sometimes we could sit down and talk with you. Had a chat with you today. They were there to speak with 25 year old mechanic Michael Sheffield, Ellen Snyder's son, Mike Snyder's stepson. He didn't seem to be surprised that the police showed up at his work and he said, sure, we have a break room, we can go talk in. And so we went to his break room and we conducted an interview with him there.


He worked a violent crime so that they could feel free to ask you questions. And we already know the answers that you need to stay with us. Ever since you're about 17 years old, how you answer the questions and your honesty here is really going to change your life from this moment on. OK, right. Detective Wilson there. I've been investigating the disappearance of your stepmom.


Why don't you tell me right now what you know about your dad, Michael Leiter, Michael Snyder, who helped break up at first, Michael tells the same story that Ellen, his mom, has told since the day Mike Snyder first disappeared.


You know, Michael. I remember when I told you, you know, you look at my mother. That's what your mother to think about when you're 17 years old and what you woke up to one day. You're pretty sure that's what you want your statement to be to the district attorney. We're not going to find his body up there. She's come by this time to complete until you get on some fancy restaurant you can be my sister in.


By trying to raise their voices in front of the me and he said, well, as far as I know, he ran off with a guy and left my mother and sister and I behind and denied that he knew anything.


So he's still telling the story. He's been gone for six, seven years.


Yes, we have information. All right. That you assisted your mom and buried your stepfather in this backyard. No, you think we're here by chance? You think we're making this up? I don't know where you got your information, but I lived through the terrible crime and repeatedly the detective tells Michael that it's time for him to confess.


I need you to be service and I need you right here on this picture to show us where you buried the body of. Incredible, isn't it? How long did it take him to come off that story after we told him that we had information that he knew where the body was and went a little further and told him that we heard him talking about it, he came forward after we showed him that we had evidence to tell us exactly what I mean.


Most of the detectives had broken in and the story came spilling out after eight years of lies. It was early morning, January 2002, Michael said, when he woke to the sound of gunshots and he called nine one one. My mother called.


Oh, he must have hung up just in time because there's no record of a one one call from the Snyder home that day.


He did.


You know, a few days later, in a second interview, Michael told police, this man tells me what had happened when she died.


She told me she had some defense, OK? She was scared. OK. She shouldn't have done it. I'm sorry, but. Could you help me with this, and I was I was scared to death, and so he says he reluctantly helped his mother rat Mike Snyder's dead body in a waterproof tarp, place it in a hole in the backyard and put some construction waste on top of it. What's going through your mind at this time? Got it.


I got it. Want to go to jail or am I doing.


And Michael had told detectives about the break down he had at Mr. Snyder's funeral, the one the Snyder family thought so peculiar they couldn't handle it.


I just had a breakdown. So we leave family staring at me and she's outside talking to me and she says, this is my fault. This is what happened. And I don't remember saying anything back. But now it was. I was not there. I had the feeling that he was glad to finally get it off his chest.


He broke down somewhat and I can only imagine what it would be like keeping that type of a secret, because that was the detective showed Michael photographs of the Snyders property as it looked in 2002 and had Michael's circle where he believed his stepfather's body was buried. Did Michael believe that he was on the hook legally for his part in this? I think he probably knew that he was he knew that he was an accomplice in the case.


A few miles away, Michael's mom, Ellen Snyder, was ending her workday. When I came out from work, his girlfriend came by. She was sitting in her car next to my car and she says, you need to get in the car. She told Ellen that Michael had called the police had shown up at his work and they knew the secret.


So I called my mom and I said, I need to come over. And she's like, are you OK? And I said, no.


And with that, Ellen's mother phoned an old acquaintance of hers, a defense attorney named Penny Adrian. Her mom calls me out, said, I think we have a problem. There was apparently something very wrong.


The next morning, Ellen went to meet with Adrian. By then, the story was breaking. Breaking news. Albuquerque police have an active crime scene investigation. Police tell us that a confidential source told them that the remains of Snyder are buried underneath the garage of this home. She just sat really stiffly in front of me. She said, have you heard about them digging for a body in the Northeast Heights? And I said, well, you couldn't not hear about he was on all of the television stations and all over the newspaper and she said, well, my ex-husband is buried there because I shot him.


Ellen Snyder tells her story at last. He's yelling at me, we'll never tell anybody about me. I have never been so afraid in my life. The final frightening moments of Mike Snyder's life. North Albuquerque Acres is known for its large subdivisions in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, not for crime scene vehicles and news helicopters flying overhead. But in February 2010, that was the scene in front of the home where Ellen and Mike Snyder once lived. We just spoke to the police chief and he told us that the police is here looking for the remains of Michael Snyder.


Police began cutting through the concrete of what was now a six car garage. But the job of finding Mike Snyder's remains proved difficult. The garage floor was a solid foot of steel reinforced concrete. Police say they will resume digging tomorrow. The excavation went on for two more days. Finally, on the third day, searchers uncovered a waterproof tarp. Inside were the remains of Mike Snyder. Well, it had been saying Mike was in Phoenix, Mike this, Mike that.


And all along, Mike wasn't in Phoenix.


For Mike's family, the finality was devastating to not know for eight years and to somewhat hold on to hope and to have that help finally just pulled out from under you was very difficult for all of us.


Allan Snyder sat in defense attorney Penny Adrianne's office knowing an arrest was imminent. They had found the body and she wanted to get it over with. She just said, we just can't go on like this. And so Adrian informed the police that Ellen Snyder was ready to turn herself in that poem. Friday, I met with the police detective, said her office gave a full statement.


So we ask any questions. I want to understand these are Miranda or constitutional rights. OK, she gave police a two and a half hour confession and her version of events is quite a story.


Woke me up. I was to three in the morning. We're arguing, pushing, you know, back and forth. And I told him that I know all about you and Dave Simmons. I know that you're gay.


Ellen says she had recently grown more courageous in her dealings with Mike, and on this night she'd confronted her husband over what she says was a secret gay affair.


And I'm yelling at him and he's yelling at me. And I and I told him, I said, I'm going to tell everybody, I'm going to tell everybody about you. And he's telling me, you never tell anybody about me. You are not going to tell anything. There is nothing to tell. He's denying it. He's screaming at me. He's I have never seen him so angry ever.


She says she ran to the bedroom and got the gun from the closet, the gun that her colleague Frank had loaned her. I said, I have a gun. He's laughing at me, telling me I'm a coward and I'm never, ever going to tell anybody. So he's, like, taunting you.


He's taunting, saying you don't have the courage to shoot me, calling me, you know, a bitch and telling me what a rotten person I am screaming at me.


And in that moment of fear, Ellen says she pulled the trigger not once, not twice, but repeatedly. And I am Deepika. I have never been so afraid in my life. He turned around, ran away from you. He did. And you kept shooting? I did. He just turned around and I kept shooting afforded to get ten feet.


Then what happened? Then he fell down.


Elizabeth, Mike and Ellen, six year old daughter, was fast asleep in the bedroom. She didn't wake up. But Ellen son Michael, 17, was in his bedroom and he did.


He was calling nine one one. I told him to hang up Michael, and he hung up and he hung up. And I sat down on the steps waiting for him to come. But the police never did show.


I covered him up. I told Michael to get ready for school. I told him I shot Mike. You need to just go to school. I was Michael doing at this point, I thought he was doing OK, but evidently Michael was not OK.


He skipped school that day and he told his friend Patrick about the horror he had gone through. Did you talk to him about this or did from the first minute that this happened, that this sort of become like the thing you're not talking about? Right. We never talked about once you said to him, I shot my go to school.


We didn't talk about it.


Later with Michael and Elizabeth at school, Ellen planned to move the body into the garage.


But there was a problem trying to get him situated to where I could get him a board under him to move him into the garage. And you couldn't do it alone? I couldn't do it alone. So you asked your son. Perhaps the. You asked Michael. Help you move the body? Yes, he didn't want to. I asked him, please. He said, OK.


17 year old Michael reluctantly agreed. Were you aware that you were asking him to essentially help you commit a crime?


I wasn't in the frame of mind to believe it as such.


And yet at the time, you were willing to do that instead of the other option, which is call the cops and face the music.


Yes. So at that point, I was just solving the problem.


So the tears and regret that I'm seeing now, you weren't feeling that then?


No, I never cried because at the time Ellen says she was on autopilot and needed to dispose of a body.


And how did she do that? In the want ads? She found a guy with a backhoe who came out of the house and dug a hole. You told the guy while you were doing this, he didn't ask. Ellen and her son Michael wrapped Snyder's body in a tarp and put plastic bags on his hands. And then in the dark of night, they moved him onto a dolly and into the hole. Your son helping you this time or not?


Yeah. I ask him to help me throw some dirt on top of it. He said, OK, they filled the hole with leftover construction waste so the body couldn't be seen the next day. Ellen went back to the paper, found a different guy who had a bobcat and hired him to fill in the hole. And you bury the body. And I buried the body and then she came up with her story. You got better at telling that story as time went on?


Yeah, yeah. As time went on, it became a bigger and bigger story.


It was the end of her two and a half hour statement to police. And Ellen Snyder wanted to get one last thing on the record there.


Anything else you want to say before we go interpret? What they want to say is I'm not a horrible killer.


And with that, 50 year old Ellen Snyder was charged with first degree murder and held on one million dollars bail.


Albuquerque police announced they've arrested the ex wife of an Albuquerque man who vanished eight years ago.


An eight year old cover up was over, but another storyline was just beginning. Did Mike Snyder have it coming? Was Ellen guilty of anything? And what could be proven after so many years? A startling police discovery.


It appeared to me that Michael Snyder was laying in his bed when he was shot. And something more startling still, she could walk away from this. She might have committed first degree murder and gotten away with it. You thought he was going to kill you even though you had the gun? Yes. I did I have never seen such anger ever. I thought him because I was afraid.


There are some things Allan Snyder admits. She admits that she shot and killed her husband, Mike Snyder, in the early morning hours of January 11th, 2002. She admits that she buried his body and then lied about his disappearance for years. But she does not admit to being guilty of murder. You don't think of yourself as a murderer? No, I don't. I was saving my own life. It came down that night to me or him.


She says it's a case of survival. But ask Detective Mark Wilson and he calls it something else.


I believe this is an evil woman who who planned this from the beginning.


Maybe she did fear for her life. There are people who say they saw her with bruises. Sure. And it's a possibility. Possibility there was a bruise error could have been something she set up to look like that, to go along with her story because it was getting closer to the time when she was going to kill him.


But even if it was an act of self-defense that caused Ellen Snyder to shoot her husband, why hadn't she called the police? Usually when abused, women kill their abusers. They call the police and they're sitting there with the gun when the police drive up. OK, they don't try to evade responsibility.


They admit what they did and they say, I didn't have any choice, pretty much as you're saying to me now, but they don't bury the body. And tell a series of pretty good lies over a long period of time, that's pretty unusual. OK. Which suggests to some people that there's more to this story than you're telling. They didn't live through what we lived through. They weren't there that night.


With Ellen Snyder now sitting in jail, Detective Wilson was trying to determine if the shooting happened the way Ellen now said it did, because after all, how believable was Ellen when we tried to gather information six, seven years later? We don't have the actual crime scene at that time. They would have seen bloodstreams from where he first got shot to where the body was lain to where the bullet projectiles had stopped.


Helen claimed that Mike woke her up yelling and that they fought in the family room where Mike slept.


I'm in the middle of the family room and he is about as far as you and I chase me and what happened.


And he comes steps forward and I start using some creative detective work. Wilson had an idea. He remembered something that Michael Ellen's son had mentioned in his interview with police, something about a stereo speaker.


Apparently not all of the bullets the body went through the speaker like the bottom of the speaker. OK, I still have the speaker.


The detective went back to the House with Michael, asked him to show where the speaker was position on the floor and where it was in relation to where Mike slept. And Detective Wilson came to this hypothesis.


It appeared to me that Michael Snyder was laying in his bed when he was shot, not up and advancing on Ellen to do her harm.


Exactly. And the the officer, the medical investigator reported that the projectiles came up through the victim's body from from down stomach area up into the shoulder area, almost as if the person was lying flat and the shooter was standing at his feet. Yes. My estimation was that the body was on the mattress when he was being fired, that he may have gotten up and started running if it didn't kill him right away.


And there was something else the detective uncovered that appeared a lot more sinister than a woman in fear for her life. It seemed Ellen Snyder had actually made a pretty penny off Mike's death. Just months after she shot her husband and filed for divorce, Ellen was awarded the couple's home and the cash in their joint account. And remember those tax returns that had been filed in Mike's name after he disappeared? Turns out it was Ellen who'd filed them in order to get a refund.


She also cashed out Mike sixty thousand dollar 401k and she continued to collect the disability checks that Mike had been getting because of his multiple sclerosis.


You kept cashing those checks for a year. Those checks were deposited into my account. Yes. Totaling about how much money? Four grand a month. That must have helped. It did. So the argument could be made that you made some money out of this.


So are you implying that it was because of that that that it occurred and that what you're implying? I'm not implying it. I'm saying you made money out of the death of your husband.


I did not make substantial amount of money out of the death of my husband, though it was now the job of prosecutor David Wehmeier to put together a case for a jury to hear covering up the crime.


I think it would be in our best evidence in terms of trying to convince a jury that her intent at the time of the killing was something along the lines of a premeditated murder.


But the prosecution found itself in a rather unusual predicament. Eight years had passed since the shooting, and in that time, the statute of limitations has run out on any charge other than first degree murder. That man, in order to get any conviction at all, prosecutors will have to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Alan Snyder planned Mike Snyder's murder. And with no crime scene and little in the way of forensics, that was going to be hard to prove.


So in her view, it was self-defense, but maybe she was guilty of manslaughter or second degree murder. But you couldn't prosecutor for either of those offenses?


That's correct. The statute of limitations here in New Mexico on a state case like this prohibited us from going forward on any of those lesser types of offenses.


Ellen Snyder's defense attorney, Penny Adrian, knew of first degree murder conviction could mean a life sentence for Allen, but felt the prosecution would have a tough time making their case.


The premeditation would be hard to prove, but even harder would be to prove that she did not act in self-defense, given all the things that were going on with Mike, Adrian says Ellem acted after years of emotional and physical abuse.


This guy was treating her horribly.


That's right. And had been for a long, long time. And she couldn't leave him? No, no. And that's what the cycle of abuse is all about. There's an isolation, there's a dependency, there's a demeaning factor. And those things all go together until the abuser has turned the abused into someone who thinks that he or she, because it happens both ways, is a worthless person.


Would Ellen Snyder spend the rest of her life behind bars or had she committed the perfect murder, is it possible she's going to walk? I mean, it's certainly possible in this case she could walk away from this.


She might have committed first degree murder and gotten away with it.


The case heads into court. Ellen Snyder is about to learn her fate. You ready for what's coming? I know that it has to happen for this to be over, so I don't know that I can say, yes, I'm ready, but it's going to happen.


Mike Snyder's side of the family had spent many years waiting. They'd waited for Mike to call after he disappeared. He never did. They'd waited for the police to call when investigators first said they'd look for him. That didn't happen either. And years later, with Ellen Snyder sitting in jail facing a murder charge for killing Mike, they waited for justice. Finally, Ellen Snyder would pay the price for the murder of Mike Snyder and the cover up that followed.


At least that's what Mike's side of the family fully expected. But there was that problem with the statute of limitations expired on anything less than first degree murder. There was the chance Ellen Snyder could be found not guilty. Mike's family was willing to risk that.


We felt that strongly, that it was premeditated. And, you know, that was a gamble we were willing to take.


But when it comes to murder, prosecutor David Waymon isn't willing to gamble. Maybe she gets convicted of first degree murder and maybe that's what she did all along.


And that would have been justice. But with an all or nothing where you're trying to convince beyond a reasonable doubt 12 jurors, you didn't want to roll the dice. That's a huge risk for to roll the dice and not have somebody held accountable at all for the death of another human being.


And it was a risk for Ellen, too. She knew that going to trial could mean a possible life sentence. One month before the case was set for trial, prosecutors offered Ellen a plea deal, which she accepted.


Ultimately, Ellen Snyder agreed to waive the statute of limitations, restrictions and plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Admitting that she shot her husband, she also pled guilty to tampering with evidence for the burying and concealment of Mike's body, falsifying tax returns and to one count of tax fraud for filing Mike's tax returns after his death. In all, the maximum sentence possible was not life in prison, but just 11 years. Mike Side of the family was devastated.


She's definitely getting away with murder.


Nothing that's going to be long enough for us in July 2011. Family and friends of both Alan and Mike gathered in the Bernalillo County District Courthouse for Ellen's sentencing. Alan's son Michael was there in support of his mom, just as he had been on the day she shot her husband.


Michael was still a minor when the killing happened, and so in exchange for his cooperation, he was given immunity and face no charges. As we sit here, you're about to go into that courtroom. And a judge is going to pronounce sentence, yeah. You ready for what's coming? How do you say you're ready? I know that it has to happen and I know it has to happen for this to be over.


So I don't know that I can say, yes, I'm ready, but it's going to happen. We have what became eight years of concealment of lies.


The prosecution asked the judge to give Ellen Snyder the maximum sentence of 11 years so she could have been looking at all.


Three hundred, thirty nine years.


Ellen's defense attorney asked the judge for some leniency.


She had to ask, your Honor, that the court. Sentenced her to five years in prison, which will allow her to at least be at her daughter's graduation college.


The judge addressed Ellen directly, focusing on that construction waste she buried on top of her husband's body. It was reported that you unceremoniously threw trash in the same hole that that that Mr. Snyder had been placed. And with that, Ellen was given the maximum sentence of 11 years behind bars. Miss Snyder, hopefully once you are released, you can get things together and go forward in life until that time, Allen said what she worried about most was her children.


Daughter Elizabeth was only six when her father disappeared from her life. She told her that you'd been lying to her all those years. I did what she said.


She was most concerned about losing her mom. She's been to see me every week. She's such a remarkable young woman. She loves me.


But Ellen says the greatest regret of her life was putting her son Michael in the middle of a cover up. You said that you always looked out for him and that he always looked out for you. I didn't do such good.


You didn't need such a remarkable man.


I know you wish you'd shielded him from that. Yeah. I get the feeling you have way more regret about that than about what happened. Oh, absolutely. The shooting happened for a reason. Shooting happened. There was too much to give, Michael in twenty eighteen, Allan Snyder was released from prison, she may be the only one who knows exactly what happened inside the walls of that dream home in the early morning hours of January 2002. That will remain a mystery.


What's clear is that Allan Snyder was something of an expert. On how to live a life of secrets and lies, one thing we know about you for sure is that you're pretty good at telling a lie. OK, and the truth is, if you hadn't fired the wrong person, I think you'd still be told that lie today. You're right. I can't dispute that you have some sense of regret now. Absolutely. I'm sorry that it never happened.


I'm sorry for you, Mike. I'm sorry for my family. I'm sorry for his family.