By Kim Snyder
In 2002-2003, my only sister, Kristin Marie Snyder, got sucked into the clutches of a rapist/killer cult.
Kristin was so absorbed that she even wanted me to take ESP courses. She told me how Keith was superior, but I declined to get involved in something I didn’t know anything about. I wasn’t interested in sitting 12 hours a day in an intensive.
When I traveled to Anchorage, I met the woman responsible for getting Kris involved in ESP – Wendy Irek. Wendy was a hairdresser but deeply committed to Keith and ESP. Her shop seemed nice; there wasn’t anything out of place.
When I went to Colorado with Kristin, she had already taken a course. She was not quite the same. She was too enthusiastic about ESP.
It was too good to be true.
Kris came in the 3rd week in January 2003 to our parents’ home in Dillon, SC. She was now even more gung ho on ESP.
And also decidedly more defensive.
But mainly, she was euphoric. She was so excited about ESP and Keith that she wanted mom and dad to take the course. They argued with her. She excused herself and got on the phone️ with her ESP coach. At times, I think she was crying and alternately angry on that call.
I overheard another phone call – of which there were many – where I understood she was talking to Nancy Salzman.
Mom and dad knew that Keith and his group were too good to be true. There was something not quite right. But they could not convince Kris. She was sure she was doing right.
It appears from her charge cards that she had been in Albany just before she came to us. How many times she met Keith I don’t know. But when she came to us, I believe she had just left him.
When Kris left our home for the last time, she did not seem suicidal. She seemed to believe that Keith was the greatest man living and that she was privileged to be part of it. She wanted all of us to benefit by his wondrous teachings.
Kristin left Dillon and I don’t know if she returned to Albany but she did not go straight back to Anchorage. About a week later, she was back in Anchorage and attending the Nxivm intensive.
During the first week in February 2003, I received my last phone️ call from my sister. She didn’t sound like she was in trouble – but she did tell me, she loved me, she really, really loved me.
Maybe I should have known she was in trouble then but I did not realize it. Kris had been always a tomboy, and if you said, Kris I really miss you and love️ you, she would say – yeah, yeah…..whatever.
Now she was telling me she really loved me. Why? She never said she was pregnant to my father, mother or I. But there may be a good reason for that. My parents are devout Catholics and would have been hurt because she was not married. [They were not in support of her living with a woman in a romantic relationship, but had come to accept that.] But an abortion was far worse. One was an aberration from the Lord’s Word – being lesbian. But abortion is murder, which is far worse.
This is their belief, and they are not alone. It is the belief of the Catholic Church.
My parents would never have supported an abortion. If she was pregnant, she would have kept the child, I believe. I don’t think Kristin could have ever agreed to abort a child no matter how much pressure Keith Raniere or others put on her.
This obviously could have presented a serious problem for Keith. We have learned he regularly required women to have abortions.
If Kristin was pregnant – and Keith would have known if this was possible or not – and she would not have an abortion – I believe Keith would have gone to work to make her appear crazy.
But even then, there could be a problem for Keith. If she really was pregnant there is nothing he could do if a pregnancy test was taken. I think he had to get her out of the way.
We may never know for Kristin disappeared on February 6, 2003, after being thrown out of class for claiming she was pregnant. She was driven home by Nxivm member Elaine Smiloff.
Heidi Clifford was told by Esther Chiappone that Elaine Smiloff was going to stay with Kris. But she didn’t stay – and we never saw Kris again.
I don’t understand why those involved have gotten away with no interrogation concerning Kris’ death.
We need a break in this case.
I am calling on law enforcement to take up this cold case and interrogate [Name Redacted], Ed Kinum, Esther Chiappone Carlson, Kristin Keeffe, Nancy Salzman, Karen Abney, Wendy Irek, Kathy Russell, Elaine Smiloff and everyone who was in the last intensive with Kris.
Knowing what we know now about Keith and the lengths his women would go to lie for him, there is sufficient reason to reopen this case.
And while forensics are perhaps long gone, the people involved are all still living.
It’s high time to interrogate. It is astounding to me that when they first did the investigation, they were so sure that it was a suicide that the main people who witnessed Kristin in her final week were never investigated. They made the assumption that it was suicide and followed a course bent on confirming suicide. Even without a body.
I have heard that the few people who were interviewed by the police, like Elaine Smiloff, were interviewed with Esther Chiappone present. Elaine told Frank Parlato she was afraid to tell police that Kristin said she was pregnant – with Esther there intimidating her.
Evidently, she was told to keep this secret. This information was also withheld from us, the family. We did not learn that Kristin claimed she was pregnant until Frank Parlato started his investigation.
Why was this kept from us?
Had this not been kept secret, we, the family, would have raised this issue with state police. There was a conspiracy of silence.
When I asked Heidi why she did not tell my mother and father and me at the time, she said she did not want to hurt us – and like all the rest – she did not believe Kris at the time.
But I believe Kris. If she said it, I believe her. A liar she was not. An attention seeker she was not.
I believe she was raped or seduced unethically by Raniere. I believe when she created a problem about it, he might have ordered his followers to drug her. It was done in the past, as Lauren Salzman testified. I believe they gaslighted her and I know for certain that they know more than they have told.
The people who may know something – [Name Redacted], Kinum, Chiappone Carlson, Keeffe, Salzman, Abney, Irek, Russell, Smiloff – were not thoroughly questioned in 2003. The police did not pressure them. Some of them withheld vital information that might have turned the corner on the investigation and opened it up to a potential murder investigation.
The time has come to interrogate witnesses. We know their names. This has never been done. And it is about 17 years overdue.