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Son Charged With Killing Parents Last Fall

Thomas Snow (Credit: Lake County Sheriff)

Thomas Snow (Credit: Lake County Sheriff)

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LOWELL, Ind. (STMW) – After months of investigation, murder charges have been filed against the son of a Lowell-area couple whose bodies were found in their home in October.

Thomas J. Snow, 34, is charged in the deaths of his father, retired Hammond Morton High School teacher Clifford Snow, 68, and mother, Joyce Snow, 66, whose decomposed bodies were found Oct. 18 in their house in the 14500 block of West 197th Avenue.

Their daughter had called Lake County sheriff’s police, asking that they check on her parents’ well-being. Thirteen newspapers were piled up in the driveway when police arrived and forced their way inside after getting no response.

The bodies were found in separate areas of the house with plastic bags over their heads and fractured skulls, police said. Joyce Snow also was strangled and had a telephone cord wrapped around her ankles, “all of which indicated to investigators that the killer had spent significant amounts of time with the victims around the time of their deaths,” according to police.

The killings occurred sometime after Sept. 11, authorities said. A bloodstain pattern analysis by Indiana State Police Sgt. Dean Marks showed bloodletting near the patio doors of the family room, court records state.

Sheriff’s police also found what appeared to be home improvement work in progress, including fresh paint and new wood flooring. The new flooring was removed to reveal several pools of blood that had soaked into the sub-flooring and blood spatter in the renovated area, police said.

They said that in Snow’s bedroom, officers found a piece of paper with a two-column handwritten list titled “Problems with TJ” — listing drug problems, multiple incidents where Snow had assaulted people, arrests and jail time, vehicle wrecks and other criminal activities. Included with the list was a note that read, “T.J. I know I missed some things but from now on there will be no more alcohol or you’re out of here for good. We will turns (sic) our backs on you and never look back!”

Witnesses told police that Snow had told neighbors that his parents were going to Europe on vacation for several weeks and that the septic tank had backed up, causing a bad odor. One person told police that Snow said his father, who taught power mechanics at Morton for 42 years before retiring in 2009, had died of a heart attack and his mother had gone to St. Louis to visit family.

Police tracked Snow’s use of his credit cards and a cellphone to Minnesota, where police spotted him Oct. 19 near Hawley, Minn., in his parents’ 2008 Chevrolet HHR, and he led officers on a high-speed chase that ended in his arrest, police said.

Police learned that Snow, using his father’s credit card, stayed at the Super 8 Motel in Lowell in the days before Oct. 18. On Sept. 29, Clifford Snow’s credit card was used to purchase odor absorber, alarms, carpet deodorizers and mini-cams, police said.

Snow was wanted for offenses in Lake and White counties prior to his parents being killed and was also sought for a robbery in Newton County, authorities said. He was being held Monday at the Newton County Jail on the robbery charge.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)