Michael and Ellen Snyder’s divorce

Ellen de Baca divorced her husband, Michael Snyder, after he went missing in 2002, on grounds of desertion. She forgot to mention to the court that he was buried under her garage. This article says:

A judge gave Ellen possession of the couple’s joint checking accounts, a speedboat, and the couple’s large northeast heights home that the two had built together.

Part of that divorce proceeding includes an affidavit, in which Ellen claimed Michael was in an unknown location. She said she hadn’t heard from Michael since Jan. 11 of that year, which is the day he was killed.


New Mexico law states that when one of the parties involved in a divorce doesn’t show up for the proceedings, the judge can enter a default judgment for the person who is present.

In this case, Michael had already been buried in his back yard, and Ellen appeared in court and was awarded the couple’s possessions.

Ellen Snyder sold the house later that year.

If Ellen Snyder did lie in court, the documents are void. All property of the estate would then be turned over to the couple’s 14-year-old daughter.

It doesn’t sound like there’s much of an estate left — Ellen declared bankruptcy later on. But if Michael’s daughter got the estate, it would at least be a moral victory. Ellen already stole her father. She doesn’t need to steal her inheritance too.

More Michael Snyder news

According to this article, the actor Christian Bale rented Michael Snyder’s former home for awhile in 2008. Of course he had no idea Snyder was buried there. This was while he was starring as John Connor in Terminator: Salvation.

In more important news, Snyder’s stepson will not be prosecuted for his role in covering up his stepfather’s death. This is due to the fact that the young man, Michael Sheffield, was only seventeen years old at the time and because he is cooperating with the investigation. The commenters on the article are hotly debating whether it was the right thing or not to let Sheffield off. I’m inclined to agree with the DA. If I were seventeen and woke up in the middle of the night to gunfire and discovered my mother had shot my stepfather to death, I think I’d be so scared I’d do whatever she told me to do. Besides, the statute of limitations on being an accessory to murder after the fact may have expired by now anyway.

So the smear campaign begins

Earlier I wrote about the death of Michael Snyder, whose body was found buried under the garage floor on his property eight years after he disappeared. His then-wife, Ellen, shot him and made her teenage son help her bury the body. Well, Ellen — setting the stage for a self-defense story — now claims Michael was abusive. No police reports were filed about this, cops were never called to the home, but she says he was abusive.

The article says Ellen’s son (the one who helped cover up the murder) told a friend that Michael used to beat him. The article also notes that Michael had multiple sclerosis. Wikipedia says: The person with MS can suffer almost any neurological symptom or sign, including changes in sensation (hypoesthesia and paraesthesia), muscle weakness, muscle spasms, or difficulty in moving; difficulties with coordination and balance (ataxia); problems in speech (dysarthria) or swallowing (dysphagia), visual problems (nystagmus, optic neuritis, or diplopia), fatigue, acute or chronic pain, and bladder and bowel difficulties.

Michael’s MS can’t have been that far advanced, since he was able to work as a mechanic — in fact, this is the first I’ve heard of it. This article says he was diagnosed in the summer of 2001, only months before his disappearance. But if he was sick, would he had been capable of beating up a seventeen-year-old boy? Would the young man not have fought back?

According to Ellen’s attorney: He wasn’t beating her up, he wasn’t hitting her with items, but he’d shove her up against a wall, grab her by the shoulders and shake her, he just kind of open-hand hit her in the chest and in the shoulders, and that was going on every night and had for a long time. The attorney also claims Michael was seeing another man: We only know of one, but when he was going to Phoenix, he was seeing a man named Dave… And Dave was calling and leaving very explicit sexual messages on Mike’s cell phone.

Of course, it’s entirely on the cards that Michael really was abusive to his wife and stepson. I know this sort of thing does happen behind closed doors and becomes a closely kept family secret. But Ellen’s actions after the shooting — and she emptied that gun into him, all eight rounds — don’t sound like self defense to me. People who kill in self defense don’t generally hire a backhoe to dig a hole, bury the body, then lie about what happened for eight years. And even if everything Ellen’s lawyer says is true, the self defense thing, so far, doesn’t seem to hold water. Nothing in that story indicates Michael was a serious risk to Ellen’s life.

One of the commenters on the first article says, Obviously this [E]llen woman wasn’t that helpless, look who’s dead.

Michael Snyder’s body found, wife charged with murder

Michael Snyder, a 43-year-old master mechanic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, disappeared in 2002. His wife, Ellen, said they got into an argument in a restaurant in Phoenix on January 15 and he just walked away. Curiously, Ellen did not report her husband missing, even though he left everything behind including a very good job, a house he’d built himself and was proud of, and a little daughter he loved. It was Michael’s mother who finally filed the MP report in May. Then, in October 2003, Ellen told the cops she’d spoken to Michael and he was all right. This statement turned out to be a lie.

Well, big surprise — Michael’s body was found buried at his former home a few days ago. The house was foreclosed on after he disappeared and a new owner built a garage over the spot where he was buried. The police had to tunnel through the garage floor. They knew exactly where to look, though. Ellen’s son told them he had helped his mother dispose of the body. He was only seventeen years old.

So Ellen is facing murder charges. Michael was shot to death, just like his stepson said. I can only imagine the guilt and anguish that young man has been carrying around for the past eight years. I think it’s horrible that Ellen used her own child to help cover up a murder. And horrible for Michael’s daughter, who will grow up knowing her daddy was murdered and her mommy did it. Presumably, before this she thought he had abandoned her.