Lowell homicide victims ID'd; son named suspect

2013-10-21T15:30:00Z 2014-04-30T17:49:28Z Lowell homicide victims ID'd; son named suspectBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
October 21, 2013 3:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Police arrested the son of Lowell-area couple Joyce and Clifford Snow as a suspect in their bludgeoning and strangulation deaths.

Thomas Snow, 34, of West Creek Township, is being held in Hawley, Minn., pending extradition to Indiana on a charge he robbed a Newton County service station Thursday, Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said Monday.

Buncich said investigators are still working the crime scene, the Snow homestead near 197th and Calumet Avenue, and have yet to determine a motive or when the couple died -- although it may have been earlier this month.

Buncich said the bodies of Joyce Snow, 66, and Clifford Snow, 68, were badly decomposed. He said officers found two weeks of unread newspapers piled on the doorstep Friday when they made a welfare check at the house at the request of the victims' out-of-state daughter.

Buncich said police in Clay County, Minn., captured the son Saturday afternoon near the Minnesota-North Dakota state line after authorities requested their help after tracking him there through his cellphone activity and use of his parents' credit card.

He said Newton County authorities requested Thomas Snow be returned to Indiana to face Newton County robbery charges.

Buncich said no murder charges have yet been filed because the investigation is still ongoing. He said the crime appears to be an isolated incident "targeting only the Snow family."

Buncich said Thomas Snow has a past criminal record associated with drug abuse and car theft. Lake Criminal Court records indicate he has been charged more than 40 times, most recently last week with being a habitual traffic offender and reckless driving involving an Oct. 5 high-speed car chase with county police in south Lake County and Will County, Ill.

The sheriff said Snow wasn't captured at that time, but was seen driving another car owned by his parents during the chase. He said Thomas Snow has declined to cooperate in the investigation of his parents deaths.

Buncich said Snow is charged with robbing employees of the Boseman's Marathon service station Thursday night.

Police said he walked into the business at 4541 E. Indiana 10 about 6:30 p.m., said he had a gun, threatened to shoot employees and demanded all the money in the cash registers.

Police said he fled in a white 2008 Chevrolet HHR and no attendants were injured. Buncich said the car is owned by the victims.

The victims' daughter called county police Friday afternoon to check on the couple because they hadn't talked to her in awhile. Police found their bodies inside the home in the 14500 block of West 197th Avenue in unincorporated Lowell.

Lake Coroner Merrilee Frey said Monday both victims suffered blunt force trauma and there was evidence Joyce Snow also was strangled.

The sheriff declined comment on a report that the son had been talking about his parents death before police discovered the bodies.

The sheriff said information from the victims' missing credit card indicates it was used at local motels and stores.

The sheriff said investigators are still searching for evidence, including DNA, in the Snow home. Authorities also are awaiting results of toxicology reports.

Buncich said the suspect had been living with his parents on and off. Court records indicate he had listed it as his home in 2002. He said there had been no previous reports of trouble at the home.

The sheriff said Minnesota police attempted to stop the suspect about 3:30 p.m. Saturday near Hawley for a traffic violation and he tried to flee. He said Hawley and Clay County police captured him.

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