John Snorsky, alleged child kidnapper, on his abusive childhood, time spent in prison

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Snorsky on Facebook.
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.

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.

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Snorsky posted this photo on Facebook with the caption, "my siblings."
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.

"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.



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31 comments
Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

Way to milk this story westword. How many more times are you going to post this.

Tracey Nichols
Tracey Nichols

Human Trafficking brings big money n I bet this isn't his first abduction, he's been "OUT THERE" for a while now :( Mental Health Care should be available FOR LIFE, and PAID FOR by GOVERNMENTS for ALL foster kids on an AS NEEDED BASIS. Their first infraction should send them right into the MENTAL HEALTH system, think of all we'll save on law enforcement, imprisonment and court if we PREVENT CRIME? Crime Prevention... hmmmm o.O theres a concept we NEVER hear mentioned anymore, as FAR too much money is made on privately owned Prisons! :/ These poor foster kids grow up as a real menace to society after having been so abused. Seems his call in to the reporter was in all actuality a cry out for help and work as a public speaker eventually so he wouldn't resort back to crime. Too many foster kids fall through the cracks and it's just so sad. God Bless the poor little girl he traumatized FOR LIFE. He chose to violate her, he chose to go back to the pen, NO innocence.. HE SHOWED no remorse n no guilt or he'd of turned HIMSELF IN! Sock it to his SICK GREEDY ass!He wasn't in need he had a roof over his head or job n he had 3 squares. ((((Sigh))))

Jason Hitchcock
Jason Hitchcock

thats like asking if a serial murder is innocent, because a family member abused them and bet them and murder another person. NO its not we all have choice!

Alesia Lamar Bickford
Alesia Lamar Bickford

That does not excuse what he has done. Prior to DNA testing from the little girls clothing...he could claim it wasn't him. DNA does not lie.

Cathy Bowen
Cathy Bowen

? If he did this, his past doesn't change it. He still had a choice.

Guy Morris
Guy Morris

Innocent? No. Monarch slave? Yes.

rosevango
rosevango

Melanie, Do you think he was reaching out to you for HELP?  What did you do with his story?  Contact legislators? File a complaint on the dept of human services? Or the new Ombudsman office? Did you contact anyone?  Or help him find his father?  Refer him for food stamps? Anything?

 I'd like to see some investigative journalism into the runaways from foster care who end up on the streets. Kids disappear and no one is accountable. 

Ski Steve
Ski Steve

So this was all about getting free studio space?

Jamie Hillyer
Jamie Hillyer

Thats at Substop ..I eat there all the time.. I recognized that dude when I 1st saw him on the news... Hell of a painter.

Charlene McCune
Charlene McCune

People are inherently good... its the parents that seem to ruin the children... they choose themselves over their child's well being... every person who has committed a crime has a selfish parent behind them...

Chris Vann
Chris Vann

Like a wave on the beach....DDDOOOUUUCCCHHHEEE!

John Pagliarello
John Pagliarello

What the hell kind of sub shop is this.... the posters look like a White Supremacy meeting is going on????

Kyle Gregory
Kyle Gregory

Hey Merrill I am sure you can meet him in the aurora jail .. You might have to take turns with some of the other dudes in his cell block though

Jack Gormley
Jack Gormley

Seriously. What the fuck is going on there?

lwiles2
lwiles2

I understand exactly what you mean about the edge in his voice. We went to Sub Stop quite a bit, and the first time we met him he told us his entire story, as well. I have been trying to describe his demeanor and how we felt while listening, and I haven't been able to. You hit it right on the head.

Martin Diaz
Martin Diaz

Hope he enjoys getting planked in prison!

Clint Jahn
Clint Jahn

There is no doubt that this individual is a talented artist who apparently many people liked, but that doesn't make him any less dangerous to society. I don't care how rough a life you've had or how talented and well liked you might be . . . what he perpetrated was an irrevokable and unforgivable act. What if that child had not been able to get away? He needs to be locked in a cage FOREVER.

Carmen Ponce
Carmen Ponce

If it's true, it shows how our system failed again...Either way sounds like he needs help.

jmqpadilla
jmqpadilla

I went to Highschool with John for 2 years. My Junior & Senior years and his Sophomore & Junior years. We went to Kennedy Highschool in South Denver. My friends Romans Mom, Maggie, Took him in. He seemed like a normal dude then. He played on the football team with us, was into Magic cards. I knew he had been in Juvenal hall before but i never thought he'd do somethin like this. Crazy. 

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

Why do people like this? It is a tragic story of a failed system and a man who could not break free from his broken beginnings. Yes it is horrible what he has done, I can not justify nor would I try. As a father I would want the worst for him, but as a human being, I pity him. I met this guy a few times at art shows, we even volunteered at the B&G club, for an art program. His art is great but he seemed a bit off. You know how some folks only talk about themselves and have an arrogance that is a bit unnerving? Yeah it was like that. Telling stories of a brother killed by gangs and living on the streets. Still he came off as not totally genuine, couldn't put my finger on it. When I realized who it was, I must admit, not too surprising. Now we get to pay his way while he gets a roof and three square meals. Ah this civilized nation of ours. Violent crime starts at home folks! Love your kids!

rosevango
rosevango

@Charlene McCune 

foster care, residential treatment centers and juvenile jails ruin more kids

jwallick35
jwallick35

Wrong. People are inherently evil. Children may not understand the difference between good and evil, and if they aren't taught what's right or wrong and are left to their own devices, they will choose to do evil.

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