Karen Abney, a longtime member of NXIVM, and was Kristin Snyder's coach.

Karen Abney, Another Mysterious Nxivm Player in the Disappearance of Kristin Snyder

Karen Abney — probably most readers never heard of her, or her role in Nxivm.

Probably less know of her role in the disappearance of Kristin Snyder, a Nxivm student from Alaska who was removed from class on Feb. 6, 2003 and never seen again.

Karen Abney was Kristin Snyder’s Nxivm coach.

In the last few weeks before Kristin disappeared, maybe no one was on the phone more with Kristin Snyder than Abney, coaching her, guiding her, leading her – along Nxivm lines.

Before she disappeared, it was Karen who was tasked with working with Nxivm ‘s problem-student Kristin Snyder.

Karen worked with Kristin, taking directions from her mentor, Nancy Salzman.

Of the various possible co-conspirators, Abney might stand the best chance of cutting a good plea deal, if there was criminality involved in the disappearance of Kristin Snyder.  Karen was not at the death scene and she was evidently only taking orders.

Snyder was 35 in February 2003 when she disappeared. An environmental consultant with a growing business, she was attending her second 16-day intensive in Anchorage, Alaska, held at the Westmark hotel.

Kristin’s first intensive was three months earlier, in November 2002, held also in Anchorage.

Kristin loved ESP.

In January 2003, she went to visit her parents and sister in Dillon, South Carolina.  Overall, her mother Jonnie said, Kristin seemed fine, healthy, happy, but was excessively gung-ho about Nxivm.

When her father, a college professor, career Marine and religious teacher, tried to quell some of that enthusiasm, suggesting that Nxivm sounded like a cult, Kristin reacted, not by confrontation, but by retiring to another room and calling her coach, Karen Abney.

Kristin’s mother, Jonnie Snyder, told me that Kristin was often on the phone with her coach at Nxivm talking for extended periods of time.

Jonnie also told Frank Report that Kristin was the same loving, stable daughter she had known all her life during her last visit.  Though bubbling over with enthusiasm about the greatness of Executive Success Programs and its founder, a man she had never met, Keith Alan Raniere, she otherwise seemed fine.

Somehow, possibly while she was on the phone with Abney, Kristin conceived the idea that she should visit Albany to see their headquarters.

Nancy Salzman would have worked hard to get Kristin into a private mentoring session with Keith Raniere.

Abney may have even arranged, through Nancy Salzman for Kristin to meet with Keith while she was in town.  Nancy knew Kristin because Nancy had taught the first five days of the first intensive Kristin attended.

Nancy would have noticed the beautiful, young woman in the class, and, since Kristin was openly gay, she would have reported to Keith that this was a woman he would want to meet.

Nancy, as much as anyone, sought to recruit young women for Keith to mentor. In reviewing some of her emails to Keith, which were revealed at trial, it is clear Nancy had a sexual relationship with Keith. They had a kind of code word sign off, a slight variation of “love and kisses” – it was  “love and wet kisses”.

Keith loved to give and get “wet kisses.”

Keith Raniere loved “wet kisses” and often signed off with a variation of “love and kisses” with “love and wet kisses”. So did Nancy Salzman when writing emails to him.

Keith would have loved to get his hands on Kristin Snyder.  She was young, intelligent, beautiful, slender, athletic and lesbian.

At the time Keith had a secret harem. This was in the days before he earned his first wave of bad publicity. That was to come later in the year when the Albany Times Union and Forbes Magazine wrote about him.

But right now he was gliding under the radar.

His harem – from Nancy on down – gave it out to students that he was celibate. A man above the mundane carnality of the world. A man absolutely to be trusted with your daughter or sister. He wanted only the good of the world.

But Keith loved – he openly admitted to his inner sex circle – to have sex with lesbians and try to convert them.

He said lesbianism was an “act of defiance” and that only heterosexual attraction, for a woman, was natural. He was especially interested in his conversion therapy if the lesbian was slender and attractive, like Kristin.

Kristin Snyder

If there is any gross crime his inner circle should forever stand accused of and damned for is that they all were having sex with Raniere and lying to other women that he was a celibate – even when they were setting these same women up to be seduced and entrapped by Raniere.

Many of these women now proclaim they are victims. Some of them are even trying to write books and capitalize financially through largely deceptive stories about how they were victims, without telling the tale of horrors and brutality they themselves engaged in. But all of them, all his women knew they were part of a giant lie – to make Keith out to be a saint when they knew he was a devil.

Kristin Snyder, safe at her home in Dillon, making her last family visit ever, was on the phone with Karen Abney – as Nancy Salzman plotted to get her to Albany to meet the glorious, saintly, super smart and compassionate Keith Alan Raniere, who secretly wanted to have sex with her.

Karen Abney – her life coach – helped guide Kristin, navigating her against her father’s arguments that this Executive Success Programs [It was also known being referred to then as Nxivm {more on that later}] may not be what it appeared to be.

The Snyder family.Every time Kristin’s dad debated the matter with Kristin, she would excuse herself and call Abney and get something from her to rebut her father.

After a three days’ stay in Dillon, Kristin left her parents, on January 18, to go to Albany. She rented a room in the home of Esther Chiappone Carlson, a Nxivm teacher.

Kristin took a few Ethos classes at night [an inductive recruitment class to get people interested in the more expensive intensives]. Strangely Kristin was gone during the day. No one knew where she went, and some who were around at the time told me they wondered where she went during the whole day.

It is now believed she met with Raniere, in private sessions – which for Raniere always meant sex – under the guise of mentoring.

Women who were permitted to meet with Raniere were told by the inner circle that were setting it up that it was a great privilege to meet the smartest man in the world and the most ethical.

Esther Chiappone, who had sex with Raniere, spoke of his greatness and his purity. Nancy reinforced it. Karen Abney advised her to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Her growth as a student in Nxivm – with its rare and exclusive teaching – would be enhanced if she got an audience with the Vanguard – the name Keith had his followers refer to him as – and if she listened carefully and did everything he told her.

Once alone with a woman, Raniere’s practice was to tell them they were fortunate to be a woman – for only women could receive a special kind of teaching that could hasten their advancement.

He could perform a special spiritual practice with them. It required faith and dedication to attaining the high spiritual and intellectual attainment that he himself had achieved, something he called “unification.”

It also required the woman to strip naked so he could evaluate her physical and astral condition – so he could tell her what she needed to do as far as diet and other practices were concerned.

As the woman was led by the great guru, he told her that the contact of his tongue with their genitals would aid her even more.  Then he led them to the highest practice – him giving the woman some of his pure semen – is was really the highest spiritual practice, he said, life altering – and would lead, if she did it right, to the woman seeing the coveted blue light.

I believe Raniere seduced Snyder this way, the trusting woman being led, step by step, by his holiness, trusting that what he was doing was for her own good and that he was not just a filthy man trying to have sex with her for his own gratification.

I am less inclined to believe Keith raped her in the conventional sense of the word, as I am inclined to believe that he persuaded her step by step to submit to a special teaching that led to him penetrating her and ejaculating.

I don’t she think she expected it. And for weeks after she tried to get her head around what happened.

A first sign of her discomfiture occurred while she was still in Albany, although no one fully realized how serious it may have been.

Keith Raniere at one of his gatherings answering questions from his devotees.

Keith called one of his impromptu gatherings. He did this occasionally. He would tell Nancy he would be available at their headquarters to answer questions.  Nancy and the other harem women would put the word out to all the students in the area and they would drop everything they were doing to come see Keith.

Usually, within the hour, 80 or 100 people would gather. It was described by Nancy and the other women that this was so special – Keith’s appearance – that it would be a clear sign they were not interested in advancing in the tech if they didn’t show up.

And they did.

Kristin Snyder came and sat in the audience as Keith sat at the front and took questions.

This may have been on the same day he seduced her. He might have called the meeting because he expected Kristin to be there – and perhaps he had noted that Kristin did not respond well to his earlier seduction.

At the impromptu meeting, Kristin did something that no one did at a Keith meeting.

Keith spoke to his breathless acolytes, who always stayed throughout the entire session – be it an hour or three hours – as the mood struck the Vanguard.  But amazingly, Kristin stood up, right in the middle of the Q and A, and walked out the door.

She made no explanation. She had to walk right past Keith and the entire audience as she went out the door.

Kristin left to go back to Alaska

Within days, Kristin, back in Alaska, seemed to have self-doubt and recriminations.

Instead of expressing it openly, and blaming Keith, she blamed herself. It was something she messed up. Something she, alternately, should not have done – or something she should have done but did not understand why she did not get the results Keith promised.

She began the second intensive in Anchorage – a 16 day long marathon event.  Kristin began to break down. She announced to the class that Keith had sex with her and she was pregnant.  Keith who was supposed to be celibate.

Immediately the “wolf pack” – as Susan Dones calls them – went to work on Kristin.  She had to be discredited at all costs. And she was. It was extremely helpful that she was already emotionally upset. That made it easier to discredit her.

And the woman who had sex with Raniere were telling her and the class that Keith was celibate.

Between Chiappone, her co teacher Ed Kinum, and Kristin’s coach for the class, Nina Cowell in Alaska, and Nancy Salzman and Karen Abney on the phone with her  – they gaslighted her.

With Keith Raniere guiding them in the background.

They tried to get her to believe she was imagining having sex with Raniere. Kristin was adamant. She wasn’t blaming Keith. She wasn’t accusatory, She was genuinely concerned about what she should do.

It is not known if she took a pregnancy test.  But she claimed she was pregnant.  Tormented, she did not know if she could go through with it.

No doubt the wolf pack was alternately telling her that she was imagining having sex with Keith and advising her that if she was pregnant, she must get an abortion. They kept pounding away, trying to make her go insane.

She was on the phone with Abney, and Salzman.  Ed Kinum, Nina Cowell and Esther Chiappone were breathing hard down her neck telling her she was just trying to get attention. They openly mocked her. They discredited her and largely made sure the class did not believe a word she said.

And they told the class that this was the Nxivm tech working and not to worry.  Esther and Ed had seen reactions to the tech like this before and worse – she would come out of it – and her delusion about Keith would go away.

Kristin was just seeking attention.

Finally, when Kristin was too stubborn and loud about this, insisting she was not imaging things, finally someone gave the order that Kristin was to be removed from class and driven to her home.

Elaine Smiloff, a Nxivm student, was assigned to pick her up and take her home. Smiloff was given orders by Chiappone to make sure she got Kristin home and not stay with her.

Leave her home alone.

But Chiappone told the class that Elaine would stay right with Kristin until Heidi got home.

What happened next, we don’t know. Kristin was dropped off by Elaine. On the drive home, Kristin told Elaine she was pregnant with Keith’s child and she did not know what to do. By this time she sounded raving, perhaps she had been drugged unknowingly.

Elaine did not think Kristin was capable of driving anywhere.

But somehow her Toyota pickup truck, which was left back at the Westmark Hotel, while the class was still going on, left the parking lot.  We don’t know how that happened.

And somehow Kristin Snyder left her home in Anchorage. We don’t know how.

Her pickup truck was found a day later in Seward Alaska, a 2.5 hours’ drive from her home.

A “suicide note” was found inside the vehicle.

It read:

“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.”

On a separate notebook, another note read: “No need to search for my body.”

Police immediately assumed she committed suicide and when they learned that a kayak was missing at Miller Landing resort near where the pickup truck was found, they “knew” it was suicide.

A massive search party was organized and they searched by land, sea and sky, a search entirely predicated on the assumption that Kristin drove to Seward, stole a kayak and killed herself by tipping the kayak over and drowning in the cold February waters.

No trace of Kristin was ever found – no kayak, no paddle, no body, nothing.

Had an alternate investigation been conducted, it might have gone in an entirely different direction.

In one of the most shocking omissions, nobody bothered to tell police that Kristin was claiming to be pregnant with the self-help group’s founder and was deeply distressed about that.

Police didn’t bother to follow through with Nina Cowell, who just happened to have a cabin a few hundred feet from where the truck was discovered – Nina Cowell, who lied to police and told them she last saw Kristin heading for a concert when she knew damn well that Kristin was raving about being pregnant and was removed from the class almost forcibly.

Police did not check in Anchorage – check the house where Kristin lived for blood or fingerprints, for they assumed that Kristin somehow got her pickup truck and drove to Seward and died there.

They did not suspect foul play. They thought it was suicide. The note proved it.

If they had any reason to suspect that Executive Success Programs, AKA Nxivm, was involved – that was immediately quashed by the suicide note itself.

The suicide note blamed her mental condition on Nxivm.  Who would kill a woman and leave a suicide note in her car that called attention to themselves as the cause of suicide?

In any event, Kristin was never found.  The police presumed it a suicide.  No further investigation was conducted.

Still, it was funny. After it was ruled a suicide, Karen Abney, Esther Chiappone, Ed Kinum, Nina Cowell, Nancy Salzman, Keith Raniere and others of his circle including Kristin Keeffe – all gave it out that Kristin did not commit suicide.

Neither was she murdered.

The official Nxivm story – through the years – was that Kristin Snyder planned her own disappearance. They said she was involved with drug running and she had to escape the law and the drug cartels and so she arranged to disappear and change her identify.

This story was told for years and the Nxivm faithful believed it. They had to. Keith told them it was true.

Abney Knows Something?

What was Karen Abney’s role in this? She was Kristin’s coach. She knew there was a conspiracy to destroy this woman credibility. She probably knew Keith had sex with and she might be pregnant.

But Abney is a true diehard of Nxivm, A woman who would sell her soul for Keith Raniere.

Originally from Alaska, Abney moved to Albany to be nearer Raniere. She went to work full time for Nxvm at low wages and spent her money on more and more Nxivm classes.

Abney and Kathy Russell

When Kathy Russell was arrested for racketeering in July 2018, bail was set for her at $25,000 cash or property.

Kathy had no property and Abney came to court with $25,000 in cash, becoming guarantor for the bail bond of Russell

Abney worked in the bookkeeping department of NXIVM – under Russell. It seemed strange that she would be able to come up with $25,000 in cash to bail out Kathy, her boss, when Kathy was unable to do so.

Anyone who knows the inner workings of NXIVM knows that an inner circle member of Nxivm, a bookkeeper like Abney would not likely be allowed to have $25,000 cash of her own saved up.  She would have been required to spend it on NXIVM courses.

This inclined some to suspect the money was part of the money NXIVM routinely laundered for itself and stashed at various locations [$520,000 was found at Nancy Salzman’s house by the feds] – or that it was Bronfman money.

What Happened?

Does Kristin Snyder live somewhere else having escaped the drug cartels as Raniere, Abney and others claim?

Did she drown in the cold waters of Resurrection Bay, probably experiencing hypothermia first, then drowning?

Did her body fail to float up to the surface or get washed ashore?

Was she taken somewhere else – possibly murdered – by professionals – hired by Raniere?

Or something else?

We don’t know.  But it is a safe bet that Esther Chiappione, Ed Kinum, Nina Cowell, Nancy Salsman and Karen Abney could shed some light on this.

We know Raniere won’t talk.

So far none of the others have talked, other than to say Kristin Snyder is alive and in hiding.

Maybe one of them, perhaps Karen Abney will be first to speak out and tell what she knows.

Note to Karen Abney

Karen Abney, if you are reading this, I offer you the same message I have given others:

I can be reached at 716-990-5740 or via email at frankparlato@gmail.com.

If you fear that you may have some legal liability regarding the disappearance of Kristin Snyder [there is no statute of limitations for murder], I can help you get legal representation.

Proper legal representation might lessen your criminal exposure and perhaps procure immunity for you – if you cooperate with law enforcement and provide truthful information.

And if you are innocent, now may be the time for you to speak on the record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most acclaimed investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.

Frank’s work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Rolling Stone, and more.

He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.

50 Comments

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  • Has it ever been suggested that drugs were used to seduce women by Kieth or during intensives? Lysergic acid diethyl-amide or some other? I can’t believe people go along with this or get seduced so easily. Some of the witnesses at trial, without being a part for very long and admittedly thinking much was bullshit still stripped, were intimate and provided collateral.
    I’m suspicious that this wasn’t brainwashing but chemically induced. Food, drink or touch delivery, low dose.

    • “Seduce women with Lysergic acid diethyl-amide; Food, drink or touch delivery, low dose.”
      -Mitch Garrity

      Hey ladies do not eat dinner at Mitch’s house!

      …….Meanwhile somewhere in Texas a very excited Scott Johnson is scouring the internet for Lysergic acid diethyl-amide….stay tuned!!!!!

      • Niceguy:

        Most sex trafficking operations use drugs to keep the sex slaves compliant.
        I’ll wager that in the four months while Raniere was hiding out in Mexico before he was arrested the busy beavers of NXIVM were destroying any illegal drugs used to control people.

        • Shadowstate,

          You are 100% correct. Sex traffickers use opiates all the time. To keep there slaves sedated and addicted.

          No evidence whatsoever has emerged Nxivm was drugging anyone. I believe Frank would have uncovered it.

          Luckily, Raniere was not into drugs or guns.

          • Niceguy,
            You have forgotten that from November 2017 until Raniere was arrested in March 2018 the Gangsters of NXIVM had over four months, or about 120 days to dispose of any opiate style drugs.
            And the issue of drugs is one that the NXIVM gangsters are not likely to disclose on their own.

    • I think it’s important to understand about groups and their leaders, that the gurus may not look like much at all from afar, but they are people – typically men – who according to many reports and accounts have a certain charisma in person, and are often surprisingly able to attract the opposite sex in personal interactions.

      Drugs are not required, and I’ve never seen any indications of them having been used by Raniere; with all the accounts from people like Dani who he wanted to subdue, given no reports of drugs or of experiences in which women felt like they might have been drugged, it seems unlikely that they were used.

      • Anonymaker,

        Many of the anthropological and evolutionary psychology studies done show some women are attracted to men they perceive as alpha males and will submit to sharing a man they perceive as strong. Even some men will accept being cuckold to an extent.

        The Branch Davidians are a perfect example outside of Nxivm. David Koresh had children with multiple women who had husbands. Obviously the majority of men and women would not be okay with this kind of set up. However alpha males with harems and cuckold males is a reoccurring theme in cults as well as tribal villages.

  • What hope is there that anyone involved with Kristin’s fate will be truthful? This would require that the individual has moved away from being under these influences, and to have seen through the madness. Some people, even if now no longer involved, just want to move on and to forget and do not want to look back. Some might be afraid to be the one who decides to make waves, to confront the group or to face one’s own mixed feelings. This was supposed to be self-help. Some might feel there was some “help” found. The inner conflicts about what was good, what was awful, could still be too much to process. Communication does help, but what do you do, if you just want it all to be over, personally? Face the dragons or hope to slip away, to leave it be, if finally, one has managed to leave?

    Some could be battling their own consciences.

  • NXIVM took an emotionally fragile young woman who was conflicted about her sexual orientation.
    After the guru of this criminal gang got the emotionally fragile young woman pregnant the guru’s bloodthirsty followers bullied and harassed and pressured the young woman until she possibly committed suicide.
    Prosecutors might consider that to be prosecutable murder and the evil wicked followers of the criminal gang/ cult quickly clammed up.
    Notice how NXIVM seemed to cease most or all of their activities in Alaska after this “incident.”
    Notice how several of the people involved in this incident left (FLED) Alaska for the NXIVM lair in Albany.

    NXIVM and its fiendish followers are not experts on Mind Control.
    They are experts on bullying and ganging up on people.
    NXIVM is a gang of criminal thugs.
    Their hands are dripping with the blood of Kristin Snyder.
    Remember that the next time you see Nancy or Lauren Salzman out in public.

  • I do hope that Karen Abney makes contact with you and unburdens herself since living with a secret, such as this, for so many years would take a toll on most people of conscience. The fact that jumped out at me was the alleged suicide note stating just what Kristin’s father had been telling his daughter during her visit. You’ve reported Kristin made many calls to Karen during that visit and it’s not a stretch to imagine the two women talking about Kristin’s father’s assertions that his daughter was under ten spell of a cult and Karen explaining all that away. Karen was armed with the information to put in that note left on the seat of the car.

    It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Ms Snyder to choose to end her life even if she was pregnant. You’ve reported she was raised in a religious household so suicide would be thought to be a grievous sin and it would be compounded if she took her unborn baby with her into hell. There’s no place in heaven for people who kill themselves is what many Christians believe.

    It makes complete sense that Kristin would be upset if she had believed her sexual encounter with Raniere was somehow holy and she was so special that he broke his vow of celibacy to be with her and then she sees his true self once she tells him she’s pregnant. Knowing what we do about other women and the abortions they were made to have it isn’t a stretch to believe Kristin was told this was her fate. She would have been hurt, confused, angry and disillusioned. Her father had been right and Kristin hadn’t believed him.

    I feel so sorry for that poor woman and what she went through and for her family and their continued quest for answers. It’s long past time for the people who have information to come forward to help give the Snyder’s some peace of mind.

    • Don’t count on Abney coming forward, cults remove whatever conscience they entered the program with. Most Christians also don’t condone gays, so Snyder was already damaged goods before she joined NXIVM. A suicide on top of being gay isn’t that big of a step.

      • Abney apparently remained in until the end, and may still be a loyalist or at least in Nancy Salzman’s circle, so she’s certainly not a likely candidate for coming to see things differently and speaking out.

        And that might have been relatively more the case with respect to gays back in 2003, though marginally, but it’s not now:

        Most U.S. Christian groups grow more accepting of homosexuality
        https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/12/18/most-u-s-christian-groups-grow-more-accepting-of-homosexuality/

          • There must be at least one Homophobic site you could join and get active on – since that is your thing, likewise you have some company in your anti-semitism, I bet there’s even a site out there that guns for cancer victims, no? outrageous how all these people have experiences of life so different from your own. How very dare they.

          • I never understood the term “homophobic.” Why would anyone be afraid of a gay guy? LOL

            Also, why would I want to join any homo sites? I have better things to do with my time. LOL

            I’m also not against Jews, you are such a simpleton. LOL

            There’s probably a site for practically any topic, but I wouldn’t join any of them, no? LOL

            All these people care as much about me as much as I care about them, so we’re even. LOL

          • Scott & Everyone,

            Scott you were the first person to notice gay themed advertising on the Frankreport. In fact, I only started seeing gay advertising after you personally shared a link to it. Mmh……

            Scott I want you to know we all accept you just the way you are with your cowboy chaps and handle bar mustache.

            P.S. Does your backside get cold being fully exposed?

  • One curious circumstance sticks in my mind, regarding a private investigation agency called Canaprobe, hired by Clare Bronfman to dig up information on NXIVM’s perceived enemies. If I remember correctly, Kristen Keeffe was the liaison with this agency. Again if I remember correctly, Canaprobe was also tasked with looking into Snyder’s disappearance, and finding out if she was in hiding.

    Ironically, Canaprobe was performing a con on NXIVM. They conducted sham investigations, and then apparently told NXIVM what they wanted to hear, confirming their worst suspicions. I believe they informed Keeffe that Snyder was living in a motel in Florida under an alias, and with a new girlfriend. (Attorney Agnifilo made a big deal of this, saying that the false info from Canaprobe, given to Keeffe, justified the paranoia regarding NXIVM’s enemies.)

    Why was this investigation on Snyder done? Was it all for show? Were Keeffe and Bronfman out of the loop regarding Snyder? Or is this what tipped someone in NXIVM off that these were sham investigations?

    Inquiring minds want to know,

    • Good info. Your last question is the one I really want to know the answer to. I hope Kristin Keeffe has insight she’s been providing.

    • Dianne, I searched, and all that I can find is that Interfor, but not Canaprobe, investigated Kristen Snyder’s disappearance for NXIVM. But perhaps Interfor did something similar to what Canaprobe did, by telling NXIVM what they wanted to hear, about Snyder supposedly still being alive – maybe both firms realized that they were dealing with well-heeled culty-thinkers who just wanted an “investigation” that confirmed theories and beliefs, whether or not that actually was supported by facts, evidence, and rigorous analysis.

      As I’ve noted in referring to Nancy Salzman’s deposition, apparently NXIVM had their own conspiracy theory about the suicide note being a later substitution intended to frame them. In fact, since it’s part of the legal record, it’s possibly the only thing for which we actually have formal evidence of a sort! It could be true, so does that mean it deserves as much consideration, and follow-up “investigation,” as any other theory – or at least merits some legwork, to rule out?

      I suspect it’s just a case in which the NXians were sloppy, culty thinkers – drinking their own koolaid, and credulously accepting Raniere’s ginned up conspiracy theories blaming outsiders for anything that went wrong. The Bronfmans obviously were credulous dupes who would buy – literally, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars – anything Raniere told them, and Keefe apparently accepted it all for quite a while until she had a growing child at risk and her perspective change.

      I think it fits with NXIVM themselves not knowing what actually happened to Snyder, and casting about for a theory that absolved them, presumably at their leader Raniere’s direction. It probably originates in nothing more than someone like Abney having inaccurate recollections of what was in the note, and NXians imaging that as conclusive evidence of inconsistencies that could be fit into a theory that suited them.

  • For all of the vaunted “brainwashing” of NXIVM it all came down to bullying and peer pressure.
    There’s nothing magical there.

  • Thanks for this piece, including a bit more detailed insight into just how the “coaching” process worked than I’ve ever seen before.

    Abney, besides Snyder’s partner, is probably the one in the best position to have known what was going on. Unfortunately, it sounds like she was a real diehard – though apparently no one else involved wants to say what they know about it, either.

    The original Times Union article reports the family observing more significant changes in Snyder’s behavior:

    ‘The Snyders said they knew something had changed when Kristin Snyder visited the family’s 300-acre cotton farm a few weeks after her first intensive. They say they hardly recognized the tearful, angry woman.

    When her parents challenged her about NXIVM, Kristin Snyder would cut off discussion and telephone her ESP “coach,” her mother said.’

    Also, if Snyder went to Albany on January 18, and had been claiming to be pregnant for days before she disappeared on February 6, that’s a pretty tight window for her to have been seduced by Raniere, gotten pregnant, and then for there to have been a conclusive pregnancy test, though it’s not entirely impossible. Why are we not paying more attention to these key details, and doing the analysis, to better assess the probabilities?

    • Her window for getting pregnant by Keith was between Jan. 18-25. By Jan. 26 she was in Alaska. She may have done a pregnancy test or maybe not. She started saying she was pregnant I believe around Feb 1. She might have thought it, or felt she intuited it. One thing that Elaine Smiloff said in my interview with her was that Kristin told her that Keith implied that she would have a baby and it would be a special child. I asked Elaine if she used the word ‘avatar’ and she did not remember. But it was Raniere’s MO to promise women that they would have an avatar baby that he would sire. I will have much more on this shortly and just uncovered some new documents that I expect to shed more light on the events leading up to her disappearance.

      • That has Snyder claiming to be pregnant within 10 days of her first possible opportunity to have sex with Raniere, while a pregnancy test isn’t usually accurate until about 2 weeks after at a minimum, and women don’t usually start to notice signs of pregnancy until weeks after that, so it’s improbable that she really knew that she was actually pregnant, though it’s not impossible.

        And in her suicide note (unless you give credence to Salzman’s claim that what we have is a later forgery intended to implicate NXIVM), among other things Snyder claimed that her internal organs were rotting. So she’s delusional if not psychotic regarding her physical state – though that doesn’t rule out her having had sex with Raniere, and such interactions possibly having contributed to her deterioration.

        Frank, I look forward to whatever further evidence you have, and especially if you have statements from other key people involved including especially Snyder’s partner Clifford. There is definitely at least a story here of potentially dangerous processes affecting peoples’ minds, combined with negligence and cover-up.

        Perhaps the real question and issue here, is how many others suffered similar sorts of harm, and even how many others ended up on a path to suicides whose connections to the courses and EMs were less direct?

        • That time frame does make it unlikely that Kristin could have known for sure that she was pregnant. A pregnancy test is not very accurate until at least a few days after a missed period. Since ovulation is normally about 2 weeks after a period (based in a 28 day cycle) that doesnt leave enough time to confirm that she was pregnant.

          She may have worried that she might be pregnant, but she could not have known for sure.

    • —When her parents challenged her about NXIVM, Kristin Snyder would cut off discussion and telephone her ESP “coach,” her mother said.’

      That sounds like brainwashing to me (presuming it exists), whether there is a scientific basis for it, or a “black magic” or “demonic” one. Those who fall for and stay in such high control groups for a long period of time often seem to have such an aggressive reactive response when the group is challenged or criticized.

      It is why anyone who was in NXIVM for a long period of time needs to seek a therapist or a “saint” to free their mind and soul from its inculcated subconscious poison. It would explain why so many women easily dropped their pants for the troll.

      A reaction like the above should never occur under normal circumstances or in psychologically healthy individuals.

      Raniere must be so far gone he can be classified as a demon or devil. He even said he was, just like he said he had people killed for his beliefs. In modern parlance, a demon is just another way of saying sociopath. A demon or devil doesn’t come to initially good people with blatant evil. He whispers and subtly cajoles them until their “frog has been boiled”, even though such an analogy is not realistic as the frog will jump out of the pot as soon as the temperature starts to become unbearable to it.

      • I think it’s best classified as undue influence. There’s plenty of evidence that it is a real phenomenon, including its acceptance in a more limited form in the law, and I think there is a growing body of understanding that in groups which have a high level of control over people for an extended period of time, it can constitute something fairly close to brainwashing.

      • The frog and water story is not meant to be literally true, it is meant to illustrate the idea that people slowly exposed to weird ideas over a period of time often fall for them, whereas if they were suddenly exposed to weird ideas would reject them. The boiling frog story may not be accurate, but the idea that slowly introducing people to weird ideas to get them to accept them is a very well-known tacic of cults and MLM scams. Don’t throw out the “slow boiling” idea of how people are mislead with the boiling water.

        • Scott,

          Wow, a parable is so complex and hard to understand. Thank you for explaining it so eloquently.

          Is the story of the frog giving the scorpion a ride, on his back, across a river untrue as well?

          You are so smart and “special”.

          Can you tie your own shoes?

          • The person I responded to obviously didn’t understand the parable. You’re welcome.

            No, the story of the frog and scorpion is true. I saw them do it again just the other day.

            You’re so stupid and not special at all.

            I can tie my shoes with my toes. Figure that one out! LOL

  • Why would no one bother to report this important detail to the police?…..

    (In one of the most shocking omissions, nobody bothered to tell police that Kristin was claiming to be pregnant with the self-help group’s founder and was deeply distressed about that.)

    Also, the fact that her body was never recovered does not mean much. Here in BC, we have had numerous incidents where shoes that contain human remains have washed ashore. Some have been identified (usually as suicide victims who jumped from a bridge) … but their bodies were never found, other than the foot. Many bodies are not recovered from the ocean.

    • “(In one of the most shocking omissions, nobody bothered to tell police that Kristin was claiming to be pregnant with the self-help group’s founder and was deeply distressed about that.)” Flowers

      The NXIVM ghouls would never mention that because that fact would provide a motive to murder Kristin Snyder
      —————————————————————————————————————————————–
      Lastly even if the body disappears the plastic kayak should be buoyant enough to not disappear.

      • As to your last point, do we even know for certain what the kayak involved was made of? And google would quickly dispel that mistaken assumption about their buoyancy:

        To put it simply, yes. A kayak can potentially sink. … With a sit-inside, however, the water can enter the cockpit and if you have no bulkheads to add buoyancy, your hull could fill with water causing your craft to sink. Oct 11, 2018
        Can A Kayak Sink? Is The Flotation Good? | SOT & Sit-In …
        https://kayakguru.com › kayak-sink-float

        (see also my other comment with further details and citations)

        • AnonyMaker

          So what you are saying is that if Kristin Snyder was MURDERED by the ghouls of NXIVM, then the best way to dispose of her body was to dump it in the cold dark, deep waters of an Alaskan Fjord.
          And that is precisely what the murderous ghouls of NXIVM did.

    • Do we even know for certain that it wasn’t reported to the police? That seems to have been assumed for some reason, but I can recall no evidence for it.

      And thanks for that further corroboration of the reality of bodies in the ocean.

    • “Why would no one bother to report this important detail to the police?”

      OMG Flowers call the police right away! Unless you are too busy shopping on the QVC network and eating your McDonald’s breakfast. Don’t forget today is Thursday and your disability check for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome comes in the mail.

      • Anonymous- how is your comment relevant to anything? Its just another example of pointless, abusive comments that, for some reason, are allowed to post.

        Frank had mentioned in this article (reread the article, anonymous!) that the police were never informed during the investigation that Kristin had mentioned a suspected pregnancy. This fact is what my remark refers to- that not a single person interviewed during the investigation thought they should mention this to police Why?

        If Kristin was allegedly ranting about pregnancy during the class, why did that information became known only many years later?

  • It is very difficult to make a body entirely disappear.
    Moreover, Kristin Snyder’s kayak also disappeared.
    Kayaks are designed to be very buoyant.

    On top of that in today’s world, it is very difficult for a person to disappear without a trace even if they want to.
    ——————————————————————-
    “The official Nxivm story – through the years – was that Kristin Snyder planned her own disappearance. They said she was involved with drug running and she had to escape the law and the drug cartels and so she arranged to disappear and change her identity.”

    If anyone was involved with drug cartels, it was the leaders of NXIVM who were neck-deep in money laundering and Mexican banking shenanigans.

      • Well, thanks for that Scott….now I can never eat crab or shrimp again!

        I assume the conditions in Alaska are fairly similar to conditions off the coast of BC, and since those carcasses were stripped to the bone quite quickly, the same could happen to a human body. I would think that clothing might slow down the process though.

    • I’d think someone who lives on the shores of Lake Michigan would know that bodies of victims drowned in cold water, are often not found for months if at all – and that’s in a largely closed body of water, whose only outlet is a shallow set of locks. But I guess we can’t expect someone who doesn’t get out much, to know enough water safety to understand that even a kayak can sink (see end).

      To begin with, you might want to do a bit more homework, Resurrection Bay in Alaska is nearly a thousand feet deep and drains into the ocean, and because of heavy sea chop it can be very hard to find live victims, much less corpses.

      “SEWARD — Two men were rescued from Resurrection Bay after their vessel flipped Friday night about a quarter-mile offshore at Fourth of July Beach. A third man who was with them was lost and is presumed drowned following a lengthy search Friday night and Saturday morning.
      ….
      Unfortunately, this type of incident is not a rare unusual occurrence in Resurrection Bay, Squires said. There have been quite a few drownings during the many years that he has served the city, including the drownings of two city electric department employees under similar circumstances during the late ’80s or early ’90s.

      The fire department trains in the bay for such rescues, and it’s often surprisingly difficult to find people in the water, said Squires. ”
      (I can find no follow-up story, that the body was ever found)
      https://www.frontiersman.com/news/wasilla-man-presumed-drowned/article_501ccc90-dc44-11e1-80a8-0019bb2963f4.html

      Here’s what the Alaska DRN says about conditions, including currents:

      “Winds naturally produce waves, and the size and shape of waves are
      determined by wind speed or intensity, by the direction and speed of tidal
      currents, and by “fetch,” the distance the waves can travel unimpeded by
      islands or other obstructions. A sharp 4-ft. chop is plenty to swamp or capsize
      a kayak or open skiff if proper care is not applied. Much bigger seas develop
      when winds are stronger and when the tide opposes the wind. In general,
      flood (incoming) tides flow up the bay and ebbs flow down, toward the south,
      although local variations may occur. Tidal currents in most of the bay are not
      swift, although kayaks and small sailboats may have difficulty overcoming their
      force.”

      http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/boating/pdf/resurrectionbaysuppl12.pdf

      Then, Google would tell you that kayak sinkings occur several times a year just on Lake Michigan, if you checked. To begin with, a completely swamped kayak sits so low in the water that it is almost invisible – and thus could easily be missed in a search, and swept out to sea – but if it’s an older type or has had one or both of its flotation compartments open or compromised (something a deliberately suicidal person might do, and panicked people sometimes do accidentally when trying to get to emergency equipment) it can sink completely:

      ” not only will the kayak be unstable side to side because of the “free” water but it will also be unstable end for end and when they add their weight to the rear deck all the water inside will flow to that end and sink it.”

      http://www.marinerkayaks.com/flotatnw.html

          • Scott,
            Food for thought.
            Are the people who run Amway smart or stupid?
            The people who run Amway make claims all of the time that are proven false again and again.
            And one of those people at Amway, Betsy DeVos, is now Secretary of Education.

          • Digest this:
            They are evil, being smart or stupid has little to do with it.

            The people who run Amway are lying crooks.

            DeVos was born into money and married into Amway money. She literally bought her position.

      • My late husband drowned in lake Guttierez down in the south of Argentina, he and two other young men decided they would take a short cut back across the lake instead of walking back round, it was getting dark and so apparently, they took a motorboard engine off a small leaky boat and attached it with belts to a kayak, all three died, the kayak was retrieved.

        To this day my mother-in-law will not apply for a death certificate as there was no body and his father was ‘disappeared in the 70’s. She holds out hope even for this terrible alternative. The marines dragged the lake with ultrasound, but the bottom of that lake could not be fathomed in places.

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

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