SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The arrest warrant for the mother of a 3-year-old girl who drowned on Aug. 18, 2019, outlines the events that detectives say led up to the child’s death.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the mother, Tiffany Snyder, 29, has been charged with Injury to a Child by Omission, a second degree felony, after she told investigators what happened leading up to the death of her daughter, Madison Williams, age 3. Detective Sherman Dollison stated in the arrest affidavit that Snyder, as well as two men who were in the home on the night before Madison went missing, were questioned regarding the death of the child. These two men said that they daily smoked methamphetamine in the bathroom with Snyder while Madison was asleep in her room across the hall. The warrant further states that the night before Madison went missing, Tiffany Snyder admitted she went into the bathroom alone and smoked meth while Madison slept.
According to the affidavit, Snyder said she had been awakened by the child at 6 a.m. on August 19. Madison told her mother that she was hungry, so Snyder and the child had some cereal in bed and then went to the living room. She said she opened the windows and the front door, as the air conditioning had stopped working, and then they both fell asleep on the couch.
Snyder stated then that when she awakened at around 9 a.m., Madison was not in the house. She called a relative who lives in a home 60 yards away, but they had not seen Madison, either.
Snyder then called law enforcement for help. When detectives arrived, Snyder explained what had happened, and they called Chapel Hill and Arp Volunteer Fire Departments to come assist in a search for the child.
According to the warrant, Snyder told detectives that Madison had been known to go to her grandfather’s house nearby on her own, crossing a large front yard and climbing over a fence to do so. She also said on the previous Friday she had found Madison at the pond by herself, and had reprimanded her, telling her never to go there alone.
Madison was located in the pond on Aug. 19 by the Smith County Volunteer Fireman’s Association dive team. Autopsy results were consistent with a drowning death, the warrant said, and there were no other signs of trauma to Madison’s body.
According to the warrant, Child Protective Services (CPS) investigated Snyder and had her submit hair follicle and urine analysis drug tests. The drug test had returned positive for methamphetamine, the warrant states.
The charges were brought because of Snyder’s admission that she had smoked meth hours before the child drowned, and that she had not made any attempt to secure the home so that Madison was not able to leave it unsupervised. Those actions caused the drowning death of the child, the warrant states.
The arrest warrant was issued by Judge Kerry Russell of the 7th State District Court in Smith County. Judge Russell set the bond at $200,000. On September 9, Snyder was located and booked into the Smith County Jail.
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Editor’s note: A previous report stated CPS was investigating Snyder prior to the drowning. CPS later reported they did not open an investigation until after Madison’s death.