Monday, June 8, 2009

Slain Tigard woman met suspect on Craigslist in search of baby clothes - OregonLive.com

Slain Tigard woman met suspect on Craigslist in search of baby clothes - OregonLive.com

Heather Snively was a trusting and naive young woman who moved to Tigard from Maryland a few weeks ago to be with her boyfriend. She was also pregnant and looking for baby clothes, so she turned to Craigslist.


That's where the 21-year-old Snively, who was due in July, met the woman accused of killing her last week in Washington County, Snively's family and a friend said Sunday. Snively's body was found in the crawl space of a Beaverton rental home Friday. Her newborn boy died as well.

Although police have not disclosed how either died, Snively's meeting with 27-year-old Korena Elaine Roberts appears to have led to Snively's death, relatives said.

"From what I understand, Heather thought the girl was pregnant and they were swapping baby clothes," said David Kidd, Snively's stepfather.

Roberts was arrested on an accusation of murder in Snively's death. She also could face charges in the death of the boy. Results from autopsies performed Sunday on Snively and her son are expected to be released Monday. Roberts is being held in the Washington County jail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

On Friday afternoon, Roberts initially told police the infant was hers when she or her boyfriend called 9-1-1 from their Beaverton home at 13380 N.W. Mill Creek Drive to report that the baby was in distress. But after Roberts and the baby were taken to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, investigators learned that she hadn't given birth recently. Doctors were unable to revive the boy.

Kidd, Snively's grandfather and an acquaintance from Maryland said Snively met Roberts through Craigslist. Sgt. David Thompson, a spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office, said investigators are aware of a possible Craigslist link but have not confirmed it.

Jon Hall, Snively's grandfather, said he believes that his granddaughter had not met Roberts until Friday.

"The story I got was this woman she met on Craigslist had baby clothes and (Snively) wanted baby clothes," Hall said Sunday. "This woman came and picked her up and was supposed to take her to her house and give her baby clothes. ... I don't think she'd ever met her face to face before."

Kidd also said it appears that Roberts wanted Snively's child.

"It seems that way," he said.

Snively was in her third trimester. In her Facebook photo, she is wearing pink pants, a pink shirt and is showing her swollen belly.

Before coming to Oregon, Snively worked as a cashier at a supermarket and a Popeyes restaurant, said Sandy Carson, a former neighbor in Maryland.

Carson said Snively came to her house nearly every day and talked about the pregnancy and her impending move. Snively planned to work at a video store in Oregon, Carson said.

Snively moved from Edgewater, Md., to Tigard less than three weeks ago, said Kidd, her stepfather. She moved to Oregon to be with Chris Popp, whom Kidd described as Snively's fiance and the father of her child.

Popp moved to Oregon a few months ago, looking for work. Carson and Hall said Snively had been selling belongings and sending money to Popp.

"She sold everything on Craigslist," Carson said, "the grill, some of his pants."

Family and friends described Snively as deeply religious, hardworking and easily led.

"I think she trusted and believed in everything she heard and everyone she met," said Dawn Tang, Carson's daughter-in-law.

Snively grew up in St. Albans, W.Va., a small town in the southwest part of the state. She went to St. Albans High School, where she was active in the ROTC, Kidd said. She had been a member of the Green Valley Church of God in St. Albans.

"She went to church faithfully," Kidd said. "Everybody at the church, they're having a candlelight vigil for her."

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue was dispatched to Roberts' home on Mill Creek Drive about 2:42 p.m. Friday. Rescue workers arrived to find her boyfriend performing CPR on the baby, who wasn't breathing. They also noticed a lot of blood in the house. Roberts and the baby were taken to St. Vincent Medical Center.

Police on Saturday described the boyfriend, whose name has not been released, as a witness who is cooperating with investigators.


Sheriff's deputies were sent to the hospital at 4:37 p.m. after doctors discovered that Roberts hadn't given birth to the boy. They learned at the hospital that someone who was injured might be at the house on Mill Creek Drive.

They found Snively in the crawl space and arrested Roberts at 5:45 p.m.

About five hours later, Popp called police to report Snively missing.

"He came from work, and she wasn't there," Kidd said. "He got worried about her, and he went to file a police report."

Roberts is the mother of two children younger than 10, who were not home at the time of the killing, Thompson said.

Members of Roberts' family who were contacted Sunday declined to comment.

But a Facebook status update posted by a family member read:

"Something truly awful has happened in my family. Please pray for us because we are going to need it."

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