By Frank Parlato
Kristin Marie Snyder, born on December 14, 1967, was last seen on February 6, 2003.
She was 35.
She allegedly drowned in Resurrection Bay near Seward, Alaska. The official story is that she committed suicide by taking a kayak out to sea and tipping it over on purpose.
Her body was never found.
Sources tell Frank Report that just before she disappeared, Miss Snyder claimed Keith Raniere got her pregnant.
Mr. Raniere, also known as Vanguard, is the founder of Executive Success Programs.
Miss Snyder was an environmental consultant in Anchorage, Alaska. She lived with her domestic partner, Heidi Clifford. A member of the Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol, she was qualified in survival training and avalanche rescue. She was an avid kayaker – and a respected business person in Anchorage.
In November 2002, Kristin attended a 16-day ESP “intensive” in Anchorage that was taught by Nancy Salzman, who is also known as Prefect.
Miss Snyder visited her parents, Robert and Jonnie Snyder, at their farm in Dillon, S.C. for Christmas.
She appeared angry and tearful but claimed Keith Raniere was incredible, her parents said. When her parents challenged her about Mr. Raniere, Miss Snyder ended discussions and telephoned her ESP “coach”.
Her parents said they saw a “descent into mental illness … that … was a direct result of the manipulation of her mind by…’Vanguard’”.
After leaving her parents, Miss Snyder visited ESP headquarters in Albany, NY in January 2003.
Sources say Mr. Raniere was excited about “mentoring” her. Mr. Raniere, a self proclaimed scientist, wanted to conduct experiments on gay women to determine if his private mentoring could convert them to heterosexual orientation. According to many other women that Mr. Raniere has mentored over the years, he does not use condoms when privately mentoring women.
After being mentored by Mr. Raniere, Miss Snyder returned to Anchorage and had a reaction to Mr. Raniere’s mentoring that supporters of Mr. Raniere described as “growth”.
She then took a second 16-day ESP “intensive”, taught by Esther Chiappone, in January-February 2003. This one was held at the Westmark Hotel in Anchorage.
Miss Clifford, her partner, also attended the second ESP “intensive”. Miss Clifford said Miss Snyder appeared sleep deprived because she was trying to emulate Mr. Raniere who says he sleep less than two hours per night.
“Vanguard doesn’t sleep, so I don’t need to sleep”, Miss Snyder said, according to Miss Clifford.
Sources say Mr. Raniere does sleep little, if at all, during the night. But they also say he regularly sleeps a full eight hours during the day.
A friend who said he saw her at the time said Miss Snyder appeared suicidal.
Alaska State Police Sgt. Brandon Anderson said there were notes purportedly written by Miss Snyder during the first week of February 2003 that indicated a “sort of a mental breakdown” was occurring.
Miss Snyder said she “remembered” she had been sexually abused as a child. She became absorbed with trying to remember details from early childhood. During her last call to her parents, Miss Snyder told them she was responsible for the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia which disintegrated and killed seven people on Feb. 1 2003. According to Miss Clifford, Miss Snyder lay in snow in an attempt at killing herself.
What was not reported until today is that Miss Snyder was also telling friends that Mr. Raniere had gotten her pregnant.
During class on February 6, which was about the 10th day of the 16-day intensive, Miss Snyder said she was going to commit suicide, according to Miss Clifford.
She also said she was pregnant with Keith Raniere’s child, sources told Frank Report.
Miss Chiappone told students that Kristin was delusional and to ignore her comments. Miss Chiappone claimed Kristin was saying things just to get attention.
According to the story ESP members told police, Miss Snyder left the seminar at 4 pm and drove off in her 1999 Toyota truck. But new sources now claim that Miss Snyder’s truck was actually parked at her home and that she came to class with other students that day.
The official story is Miss Snyder voluntarily left class, allegedly waving goodbye to Miss Clifford through a window as she walked away. But sources now tell Frank Report that Miss Snyder did not voluntarily leave the intensive but was, in fact, ordered to leave by Miss Chiappone. Miss Snyder’s removal directly followed her insistence that Mr. Raniere had sex with her and she believed she was pregnant.
Although Miss Chiappone repeatedly told students that Miss Snyder was delusional, when Miss Clifford asked if she could bring Miss Snyder to a nearby hospital, she was “…told not to bring her to the hospital,” Miss Clifford said. No attempt was made to get her medical attention.
One source said, “Kristin was having a reaction to her meeting with Keith. It was affecting her relationship with Heidi and caused a meltdown because she had not been honest with Heidi with what was going on. She felt she had betrayed Heidi by having sex with Keith. She was traumatized by Keith.”
Whether she left voluntarily or was ejected, the ESP training continued without Miss Snyder. According to her “Presumptive Death Certificate”:
“At approximately 7:00 p.m. her roommate/domestic partner, Heidi Clifford, concerned because of Ms. Snyder’s recent bizarre behavior …. contacted the Anchorage Police Department to report Ms. Snyder missing. Ms. Clifford also contacted a friend of Ms. Snyder, Kenneth Powers and they began a search of the Anchorage area.
Miss Clifford told police she suspected Miss Snyder was headed for Seward, Alaska, about 130 miles from Anchorage.
The following evening [Feb. 7, 2003], Miss Snyder’s truck was discovered at Miller’s Landing, a campground, fishing and kayaking resort in Seward, on Resurrection Bay .
The driver’s door was unlocked and the key was in the door lock. Two handwritten notes were reportedly found on the passenger seat.
One note said:
“I attended a course called Executive Success Programs (a.k.a. Nexivm) based out of Anchorage, AK, and Albany, NY. I was brainwashed and my emotional center of the brain was killed/turned off. I still have feeling in my external skin, but my internal organs are rotting. Please contact my parents … if you find me or this note. I am sorry life, I didn’t know I was already dead. May we persist into the future,”
The other note read:
“No need to search for my body.”
The next morning, according to her “Presumptive Death Certificate”:
Millers Landing resort personnel discovered a storage shed containing kayaks and gear had been broken into and an old kayak was missing. The storage shed was close to where Snyder’s vehicle was located.
The missing kayak, made of wood and fiberglass with no rudder, was not outfitted for flotation. It had not been in the water for 15 years. It was described as seaworthy but would sink if tipped.
Alaska State Police began a search. They may have been aided by “investigators” and an attorney hired by Mr. Raniere. These so-called “private investigators” in California and Boston, who claimed to be ex-CIA operatives, were hired directly Mr. Raniere, according to sources – and Clare Bronfman, per Mr. Raniere’s directive, immediately wired them $500,000. They went to Alaska to “aid” or conduct their own investigation, sources said.
It is not clear if they, or any of their associates, arrived before Miss Snyder disappeared.
According to Miss Snyder’s “Presumptive Death Certificate”:
On February 8, 2003 and February 9, 2003 a large search effort was conducted in and around Resurrection Bay. The search consisted of Alaska State Troopers, Seward area fire/EMS volunteers, the US Coast Guard, Forest Service law enforcement, the Seward Police Department Civil Air Patrol and friends of Snyder, many of whom are part of an organized search and rescue team as part of the Nordic Ski Club. After two full days of active searching no sign of Ms. Snyder was located. Air flight was accomplished on 2/14/03 with negative results.
During the investigation, no one from ESP was permitted to speak with police until they cleared it with ESP leadership, sources said. Police went along with this unusual condition.
Sources said police investigators ignored evidence that might point to something other than suicide.
For instance, a set of fresh footprints was found at a nearby cabin.
The owners of Miller’s Landing provided the name of a cabin owner who might know about Miss Snyder. Her name was Nina Cowell. She was not at the cabin. She was called by police in Anchorage. She admitted she knew Miss Snyder, then admitted she had attended the ESP seminar with Miss Snyder. She further admitted she was there when Miss Snyder left the seminar on the day she disappeared but told police she thought she left to attend a Performing Arts Center show.
She terminated the phone interview abruptly in order to call friends [ESP leaders?] and said she would call police back.
The police investigator felt she acted suspicious and searched her cabin twice. But higher ups in the investigation decided not to interview her in-depth despite her suspicious behavior and the strange coincidence that she owned a cabin near where Miss Snyder allegedly drove and allegedly killed herself, and at the same time happened to be in the same ESP class with her.
“It was not right and it weighs on my conscience,” one source said of the “Raniere-influenced” investigation.
Police investigators concluded Miss Snyder drove to Miller’s Landing and before dawn on February 7th, she paddled a creaky 16-foot kayak into the bay and intentionally capsized in the glacier-fed water.
“Everything points to the fact that she took a kayak into the bay to kill herself and she rolled over and now she’s gone,” said Alaska State Trooper Paul Randall, who supervised the search.
The kayak and her body were never found.
Sources tell Frank Report that Miss Snyder was in no condition to drive 130 miles to Seward where she allegedly broke into a shed, stole a heavy 16-foot kayak, carried it to the shore, and paddled out into the glacial waters.
They wonder if she might have been kidnapped to stop her from saying more about Mr. Raniere’s impregnating her.
According to Barbara Bouchey, a former harem member, Mr. Raniere claimed to have photographs that proved Miss Snyder was in the Grand Canyon with Miss Clifford several months after her supposed death. He never released the photos.
Mr. Raniere and his followers later claimed that Miss Snyder faked her death to escape a drug ring she had cheated – and was actually living in British Columbia. No evidence was ever offered to prove that claim.
Mr. Raniere’s attorneys claimed in a 2009 lawsuit against the newspaper Metroland that Miss Snyder’s 2003 suicide note was a fake since it mentioned NXIVM. NXIVM, they said, was not even incorporated until 2004, a year after the alleged suicide.
However, Mr. Raniere neglected to mention that in 2002, he directed Miss Bouchey to present a proposal to the planning board at Half Moon to create a “NXIVM Center” four months before the alleged suicide.
Miss Snyder’s parents held a memorial service for her in March 2003, about a month after she disappeared.
An Anchorage District Court jury determined that cause of death was suicide in 2014.
For those who think of Mr. Raniere as the compassionate Vanguard, who would not have had sex with Miss Snyder, let alone get per pregnant, sources in Clifton Park have told Frank Report that Mr. Raniere has, in fact, ordered at least eight abortions to be performed on women he impregnated. They also say he went so far as to threaten women when they indicated they did not want to have an abortion.
The only known child of Mr. Raniere was with ex-harem member, Kristin Keeffe, who is said to have hidden her pregnancy from him to save the life of her child who was born around 2007. After the child’s birth, Mr. Raniere lied about the paternity of the child to his followers.
As for his willingness to do bodily harm to women, Mr. Raniere was accused of trying to lure former girlfriends Toni Natalie and Barbara Bouchey and two former ESP coaches, Susan Dones and her partner, to Mexico. Emiliano Salinas, the son of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas, was said to have conspired with Mr. Raniere to execute his plan. The women were invited to attend an anti-cult conference. Emails were sent in the name of Yuriria Sierra, a TV reporter in Mexico with ties to the Salinas family.
Miss Keeffe said that Mr. Raniere [along with Mr. Salinas] arranged to bribe a Mexican judge to sign indictments against the women – and that once they arrived in Mexico, they were to be arrested and placed in a Mexican prison. Miss Keeffe also said Mr. Raniere wanted Miss Natalie to be raped in prison.
A reporter at the Albany Times Union was shown a copy of the email. He tried to contact Ms. Sierra but did not get a response.
On a 2009 video posted on YouTube, Mr. Raniere told two women who confronted him about his alleged unethical practices, “I’ve had people killed because of my beliefs — or because of their beliefs.”
In light of Mr. Raniere’s past actions – and the new information concerning Kristin Snyder – this “cold case” might be due for a warm re-examination.
Was Miss Snyder kidnapped? Did she drive herself to Seward? Did someone drive her to Seward? Did she go to Seward? Did Keith order her murdered?
If we accept the official story of suicide, and add what sources tell us – that Mr. Raniere seduced a student who trusted him – it may have caused Miss Snyder to become unhinged.
By all accounts, she was disturbed after her first intensive with Ms. Salzman. If she was later seduced and impregnated by Mr Raniere in Clifton Park, it might have been a tipping point.
Add to the mix, the curious fact, that, according to sources, Mr. Raniere caused Clare Bronfman to pay $500,000 to some very suspicious investigators to carry out an assignment that was never put in writing. Were they really hired to do an investigation into Kristin Snyder’s disappearance – or to cover up what happened to her?