Police: Married veterinarian killed pregnant lover

Pictured: David Rapoport and Jennifer Snyder. Picture of Rapoport is from his profile on the Harleysville Veterinary Hospital website, where he worked. Picture of Snyder is from Facebook.

March 22, 2011 3:15:13 PM PDT
A married Pennsylvania veterinarian is accused of killing his pregnant lover and dumping her body in a nature preserve.

David Rapoport, a veterinarian at an animal hospital in Montgomery County, is under arrest and charged with one count of criminal homicide for the death of Jennifer Snyder, 27, of Lower Macungie Township, and one count of death of an unborn child. He was denied bail at a hearing Tuesday morning.

According to court documents, Snyder's roommate told police that Snyder was carrying Rapoport's baby, and he was very angry. Investigators said on Tuesday that an autopsy confirmed a pregnancy of 10 to 12 weeks.

District Attorney James Martin said that this is a first-degree murder case. It could also be a death penalty case, he said, but it was too soon to tell for sure.

Authorities would not speculate on a motive in this case.

Snyder was found dead on Friday in a wooded ravine in the Trexler Nature Preserve in North Whitehall Township. She had been shot three times in the head and torso.

According to court papers, Rapoport, of the 1200 block of Brownstown Court in Lansdale, most recently worked at Harleysville Veterinary Hospital.

Staff at the Maple Hills Veterinary Hospital, where Snyder also worked and rented an apartment in the same building, say Rapoport left about a year ago before joining the Harleysville Veterninary Hospital. Rapoport's profile has since been taken off of Harleysville Veterinary Hospital's website.

On Thursday, March 17th, police discovered Snyder's car, with a shattered window, in an industrial park near Schnecksville. Police say blood and spent bullet casings were found as well.

Court papers say police checked a security camera video that was made Wednesday and it showed a man pulling Snyder's car into the industrial park. The driver got out and put something in the dumpster before running quickly away. When police searched the dumpster they found a bleach bottle and a towel soaked with bleach, along with medical documents with Jennifer Snyder's name in a sealed bag.

During their investigation, police spoke with Snyder's roommate who said that Snyder was to meet with her boyfriend, David Rapoport, and spend the night with him. Court documents indicate that the couple, according to the roommate, had been fighting about Snyder's pregnancy but had recently made up.

The roommate said that at about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday she received a text from Snyder's phone stating that Snyder was going to stay at her mother's because "Dr. Dumba-- has to work tonight." The roommate said she thought the text message was odd because it was written differently than Snyder's usual messages.

Later on Wednesday, the roommate said she received a text from Rapoport, which was unusual because Rapoport had never sent her a text message in the past. The message from Rapoport asked the roommate to have Snyder call him, because he didn't think her cell phone was working.

State Troopers went to Rapoport's home and said they wanted to interview him and his wife about a missing person case. Police say when asked about Snyder, Rapoport initially denied having any contact with her for several months. When troopers say they have information that he had contacted Snyder recently, Rapoport said there had been an ongoing relationship and he didn't want his wife to know.

Court papers say investigators asked Rapoport if they could look in the trunk of his car. When investigators open the trunk and ask him if there is a gun, he pointed to a case holding a 9mm Glock handgun and some ammunition. They also found a container of baby wipes and a roll of duct tape. Both the duct tape and the baby wipe container appeared to have a reddish brown stain on them.

Police traced the purchase of the baby wipes, duct tape and a bottle of bleach to a Target store in North Wales near Rapoport's home. Court documents say Rapoport made the purchase on Wednesday morning, about 4 hours before the security camera video shows Snyder's car being parked at the industrial park in Schnecksville.

On Friday morning, during a state police helicopter search, Snyder's body was found in a ravine near the nature preserve.

Snyder's family has established a memorial fund, with money to be used to develop a no-kill animal shelter.

"Her biggest thing was wanting to save the ones that nobody else wanted, one she said were really on 'death row," Snyder's aunt, Trina Angelovich said.

Donations can be sent to:

Jennifer Lindsey Snyder Memorial Fund
c/o Jim Thorpe National Bank
12 Broadway
Jim Thorpe, Pa. 18229