John Snorsky, alleged child kidnapper, on his abusive childhood, time spent in prison
About a year and a half ago, before he made headlines for allegedly kidnapping an eight-year-old girl in Aurora, John Snorsky contacted me. He'd read a story I'd written about a state law that would allow counties to place abused kids at a facility for juvenile delinquents, and he wanted to let me know he thought the law was a terrible idea. He'd been abused as a boy, he said, and he proceeded to tell me a long, and sometimes complicated, story about his life.
Snorsky on Facebook.
At the time, I didn't know what to think.
But his account was intriguing, and I listened to him tell it for about an hour. Here's what he had to say:
Snorsky, who's 26, said he was born on Christmas Eve to a father who immigrated from the Soviet Union and a mother who was "mentally unstable." All his life, he said he'd been told the same story: that his father shot his mother during an attempt to take Snorsky and his siblings away from her. She survived and proceeded to move the family from state to state -- without their father, who Snorsky said he never knew much about.
But she wasn't a good parent, either, he said. According to Snorsky, she beat him, stabbed him, burned him, tried to drown him in the bathtub, and made him confess to things he hadn't done -- things she knew would elicit more beatings from Snorsky's brother. Knowing that Snorsky took pride in his hair, his mother once shaved it off with a Bic razor as punishment for drinking his brother's chocolate milk, he said, even though she'd actually drunk the milk herself.
Snorsky posted this photo on Facebook with the caption, "my siblings."
"When she was beating me, I'd never cry out," Snorsky said. Instead, he said he'd pretend he was dead. Although social workers intervened, he said, he ended up back in her care.
When he was eleven, the family moved to Aurora, and Snorsky said he ran away soon thereafter. Along with a friend and the friend's older brother, Snorsky told me he slept in abandoned buildings and ate out of dumpsters. He and his friends broke into cars to steal money and eventually became errand boys for the neighborhood crack dealers, he said.
Shortly after his twelfth birthday, a friend called the cops and told them about Snorsky's situation, and he said he was put in a group home for "abused and abandoned" children. But Snorsky said he knew that the chances he'd be taken in by a new family were slim, so he escaped and hopped a freight train in Golden. "I had a backpack full of energy bars, bananas, water and military boots stolen from Goodwill," he told me.
For the next two years, Snorsky said he hitchhiked around. At night, he crashed with family members, in strangers' hotel rooms, in laundromats and in what he described as an old "Scooby Doo van." He stole things and then sold them to survive, which is how he eventually got arrested again, he said. The cops shipped him back to Colorado.
He said he ended up at Jefferson Hills, a residential treatment center for at-risk kids in Aurora. There, he said, some older boys abused him. At age fourteen, he was paroled and proceeded to bounce from foster home to foster home. "When boys are abused, we can't just cry and break down and tell everybody what happened," Snorsky told me. "They'll say, 'You're a pussy.' We internalize it and it comes out as anger."
Continue for more of Snorsky's story.