For almost two years, Toni Natalie blocked contact with Kim Snyder and anyone, especially me, who was interested in finding out what she thought might have really happened to her older sister, Kristin Snyder, who disappeared on Feb. 6, 2003.
Toni told Kim, and her mother, Jonnie Snyder, that she was the media expert and had law enforcement connections to get an investigation going.
When I tried to contact Kim, Toni advised her that I was bad news and that only she could handle things. When I contacted Kim, she said Toni advised her against talking to me or anyone in the media; it might spoil the investigation.
Of course, there was no investigation. Toni was writing a book and wanted to tell the Snyder story herself. She had a podcast planned in which she wanted to be the first-ever to get Kim and Jonnie on a recording, talking about their lost sister and daughter.
When I called Toni, she, pretending to my friend, told me she tried hard to help me get an interview with the Snyders, but, after all, Kim was mentally retarded and had the maturity of an 8 year old girl, and her mother, Jonnie, just did not want to talk to me or anyone.
Toni acted almost in an admonishing manner, suggesting, “you certainly don’t want to take advantage of a retarded girl, do you, Frank?”
Well, who would?
Toni added that Kristin’s mother was very, very old, possibly suffering from dementia, and well beyond wanting to do anything but to put this sad story behind her. To forget and go to the grave and not pursue what happened to her child.
I told Toni – it was July 4, 2019 – that I was still going to pursue this – with the help of Investigation Discovery – what happened to Kristin Snyder.
Toni said, almost rebukingly, “You can’t find anything new. I’m your friend and I care about you. But don’t bother those poor people. Let them rest.”
“Sorry, Toni, even if Kim is retarded as you say, and the mother is senile, I still want to find out what happened to Kristin.”
I went to Seward Alaska and spoke to experts on the waters of Resurrection Bay to ascertain what the chances were that Kristin Snyder’s body, her kayak, and her paddle would never be found.
I asked Toni about Heidi Clifford, Kristin’s spouse at the time. Heidi used to talk to me regularly. Now she wouldn’t return my calls.
“Funny,” I said to Toni. “Heidi met you in Brooklyn during the trial of Keith Raniere and now she won’t talk to me anymore. I wonder if you had a hand in that?”
“Sweetie,” Toni said, “you know I always try to help you. I only say good things about you. But you know there is a law enforcement investigation and she can’t talk to you.”
“I can’t say. Investigators asked me not to say anything. But they were there when Heidi was there and spoke to me and I had to tell Heidi.”
This was of course bullshit and I said to Toni, “I don’t believe there is an investigation. This case has been closed for 16 years.”
“No. I wish I could tell you all I know but they came to see me. You can guess who they are. They said ‘We can talk to you, Toni, but you mustn’t say anything.'”
“Bullshit,” I said.
“Oh, it’s real and Heidi can’t talk to you or anyone until the investigation is over,” Toni said, lying.
Toni and I never spoke again. It’s funny too because we used to speak all the time. This was when I realized she was a stone cold liar and only out for herself.
I suspected she just wanted to hog these sources – Heidi and the Snyder family – for herself, exclusively, for her book and her planned podcast.
After reading her book, which came out in September, filled as it was with preposterous lies, I began writing more about Toni.
I knew she thwarted my investigation. But that was not why I wrote about her. I just could not let her get away with lying about the Nxivm story, a story I had worked on for years to report truthfully.
When I first started writing about Toni being not what I believed her to be, Heidi Clifford finally broke her silence to text me not to write about Toni.
“We’re all in this together,” she said.
I knew Heidi did not understand: Toni is a liar [and lied throughout her book.]. And she was doing something sinister. She was working to keep us apart – the people who might, by working together, be able to piece together missing information about Kristin Snyder and maybe find out what really happened.
Toni, I knew, did not have the ability to investigate this intelligently, and she was deliberately trying to thwart me from investigating.
Yes, I realized Toni was dishonest. And I wrote about it.
Heidi, I think, began to realize she had been played by Toni and finally agreed to meet me in Anchorage, Alaska, with the Discovery ID team in August.
She told me, among other things – on camera – some important revelations. She believed:
- Keith Raniere had inappropriate sex with Kristin, when she visited Albany.
- Heidi conjectured that Kristin might have missed her period which led her to believe she was pregnant.
- Kristin, just days before she disappeared, took off her ‘wedding’ ring and gave it to Heidi. This Heidi did not understand at the time, but knowing what she knows now about Raniere, led her to speculate that Keith had told Kristin that ‘once you have sex with me, you can no longer be with any other partner.’
- Heidi told me that Kristin told her she was pregnant with Keith’s child.
- In fact, it was worse. Kristen yelled out in class that she was pregnant. Three or four times, she yelled this to the entire class – that she was pregnant with Raniere’s baby – and each time she was removed from class.
- The last time she yelled it in class, she was removed permanently and never seen again. That was Feb. 6, 2002.
For years, it was reported that Kristin was causing a disturbance in class and that was why she was removed. They said she was unhinged and psychotic. But no one mentioned the pregnancy part.
But Kristin may have been telling the truth and was only yelling because Nxivm leaders – Esther Chiappone Carlson, Nina Cowell, Ed Kinum, and Karen Abney – were telling Kristin [and the class] that she was imagining having sex with Raniere, who was, after all, they said, a celibate.
They were gaslighting her.
Behind the scenes were Raniere and Nancy Salzman directing the gaslighting of this poor woman, who had been possibly raped or tricked and seduced into having sex with her teacher and mentor.
This lying to her was especially savage on the part of Esther Chiappone Carlson and Nancy Salzman for they both definitely knew that Keith likely had sex with Kristin.
At the same time they took the lead in making her believe she was crazy.
There was another key thing Heidi revealed. It is an astonishing thing that this omission happened. But when Kristin disappeared after leaving the Nxivm class and the Alaska State Police began their investigation, no one, not even Heidi [and obviously not the Nxvm liars] told police that the missing woman had been claiming she was pregnant with the self-help group’s leader – and had been removed from class because of that claim.
Kristin was not only claiming it. She also had the opportunity to have become pregnant because she was in Albany with Raniere just weeks before she disappeared.
Instead, the vicious ones [I’m not including Heidi] never mentioned it. They only told police that Kristin was acting erratically, insane even. This supported the suicide theory.
The Snyder family came to Alaska. They were devastated. The father cried. The mother was in shock, and sister Kim – the supposedly mentally retarded woman – was the first to cry out that she thought this was homicide.
Nobody listened to Kim. It was all too neat. There was a suicide note. There was the pickup truck right at the edge of Resurrection Bay. And then there was the missing kayak.
One, two, three.
No more investigation. Esther and Kristin Keeffe, who flew up from Albany, handled the police. No one said Keith had a harem. No one said that Keith liked to have sex with lesbians to try to convert them.
No one said that Kristin was deeply disturbed about possibly being pregnant and that they gathered around her to tell her she was crazy to think Keith had sex with her.
No one said at the time she disappeared she might have been pregnant.
No one said that just a few months earlier another woman, who Raniere had allegedly raped, committed “suicide.”
So much was not said to police.
Nothing to see here. She was acting crazy. She committed suicide.
[Nina Cowell, before she got her marching orders from Nxivm, even lied to police and said she thought Kristin left the Nxivm class to go to a concert!]
And just one voice – Kim Snyder – cried out that this could be homicide – and just like her sister who cried out that she was pregnant – nobody listened.
That was February 2003.
In 2017, I started investigating the disappearance. In 2019, I got a big break when Discovery ID agreed to film my investigative efforts thereby giving me the ability to do some unique investigation and to reach an audience of millions of people which might in turn pressure on law enforcement to reopen this case.
The result is a gripping film that will be aired on Investigation ID, on Sunday, December 8, 2019, at 9 pm ET.
Keith Raniere was convicted of numerous crimes including sex trafficking and racketeering, But are there more serious crimes – possibly murder – as of yet uncharged?I learned a lot over the years about Raniere, while writing more than 3,000 stories about him – and how he had a motive for murder – a pregnant girl crying out that she was pregnant – and that no matter how much gaslighting anyone could do to her – Kristin might have been pregnant – and then what lie could they tell?
If she was pregnant, they were cooked. Esther, Nancy, Ed Kinum, all of them would lose their incomes. And Keith would be exposed, possibly lose the Bronfman sisters, and their money – two gullible dunces who had just joined Nxivm and were enamored of the great celibate guru Raniere.
All the hundreds of millions that Raniere and Salzman planned to fleece from the Bronfmans would be lost if a gay woman wound up being pregnant with Raniere’s child, he, her teacher, her mentor, a man who was so high up that he could teach the world, getting a poor, gay woman pregnant after promising to teach her.
At that time, also, Nancy was reeling in the Bronfman sisters’ father, Edgar Bronfman Sr., who flew Nancy in by helicopter to his home in Virginia to give him special coaching. He was a billionaire and one of the most powerful men in the world. No way would Keith, Nancy and Esther, and Ed Kinum let this chance go away.
Kristin had to be silenced. She was removed from class after she yelled the last time she was pregnant.
And long before I came to the scene, there was one woman, her sister, Kim, who felt it, from logic or intuition, that something foul had happened to her sister.
Was it murder, or did they talk this girl right over the edge, drove her crazy?
Did they force her to write the suicide note – or tell her to do so as some kind of Nxivm exercise?
Kim always wanted to know, but the long years passed with no one to assist her.
Then I came along and wanted to find out. Toni Natalie quickly blocked it saying she was spokesperson for the retarded girl and her senile mother. This delayed things for months.
Then, because I had written a number of stories critical of Toni and, more importantly, Toni had published her book – misrepresenting the truth about the Snyder family – and the family’s bad reaction to that – that Kim contacted me directly.
She realized Toni had been manipulating them. She told me how Toni had almost accomplished getting them on her podcast.
Kim said, “Toni called and wanted to come down to our farm in Dillon with her assistant, Chet Hardin. They wanted to stay at our farmhouse in the same bedroom. My mother asked if they were married and Toni said, ‘No.’
“My mother is a devout Catholic and so we told Toni that she could not stay in the same bedroom with her assistant, Chet – even if he was, as she claimed, her boyfriend.
“Toni postponed the meeting, saying she would still come, but had to get her publisher to pay for their hotel room. Then I read her book and saw the lies she wrote about Kristin and so I canceled Toni and called you.”
Since then, Kim, this supposedly mentally retarded woman, has been working with me daily and with Susan Dones to try to uncover what really happened to her sister.
We all met in person, Jonnie, the mother, Kim, the sister, Susan Dones and myself at their farmhouse. The Discovery ID crew came to film it too. We were also joined by Heidi Hutchinson, whose own sister was lost to Nxivm under suspicious circumstances.
In Dillon, at her farmhouse, Jonnie told me how Toni said I was a criminal and not to be trusted. Kim told me how Toni had warned her against me and that I was dangerous.
[Heidi told me that Toni told her that I was cheap gangster – Buffalo style – not like the cool Brooklyn gangsters that she could really go for.]
I realized that Toni was obviously not my friend, though she pretended to be – while stabbing me in the back, but that was less important.
For almost 17 years, Jonnie had wondered what happened to her daughter. There was little hope of finding out until we connected and brought fresh vigor to the quest to find out.
I told Jonnie many things about the case that surprised her. She was not senile at all. She is an attractive, energetic, totally sharp, and a fine, wonderfully cultured woman – with the elegant manners of the deep south and the piety of a devout Christian.
Jonnie shared with me so many important details. Together, we were able to piece together a timeline of when Kristin was in Albany. And Jonnie shared Kristin’s diary that stopped about 10 days before she disappeared, written fresh off of her meetings with Raniere.
We will delve into this and other documents in future posts.
And then there was Jonnie’s daughter, Kim, who has suffered from anxiety and successfully conquered cancer. Unlike Toni, she fought to keep her son and was successful. She is raising her child [Toni abandoned her son and blamed it on Keith Raniere.]
And Kim is not anything like how Toni described her. She is not retarded.
She was adopted by Jonnie and her late husband, Robert, a Marine, a college professor and Sunday school teacher who died about 4 years ago.
“On his deathbed, he said to me, ‘what happened to my baby?’” Kim said. “He died wanting to know what happened to Kristin.”
Kim, who is part Cherokee, began digging into this – now that she had some support from Susan and me – with a renewed confidence that we might together find out what happened to her sister.
“It if had been up to Toni, none of this would have happened. Toni lied to me and my mother,” Kim said. “Now we have a chance to get at the truth.”
Let everyone note well that in our quest to find out what happened to Kristin Snyder – and if Keith Raniere, Nancy Salzman, Esther Chiappione Carlson, Ed Kinum, Nina Cowell and Karen Abney were co conspirators in her death and possible murder – that it was Kim Snyder who cried out first.
She was a voice in the wilderness and now she is about to be heard.
“We’ll keep the pressure on,” Kim said – and if that’s the mark of a retarded woman, then Toni be damned.
Kim Snyder has bombshell documents gathered at the time that shed new light on what happened in the days leading up to her sister’s disappearance. She has shared these with me.
Stay tuned for Part 2.