Melinda Snyder, a teacher’s assistant from Rock Hill, South Carolina, was shot and killed in her house at 4 a.m. Witnesses said they saw an automobile that looked like Edward Cronell’s, a local real estate agent. Ed Cronell was sentenced to life in prison in 1990 for the murder of Melinda Snyder in Rock Hill.
‘Nightmare Next Door,’ in classic ID flair, is a true-crime series that uses both dramatic recreations and exclusive interviews to get to the heart of the horrible events that shook Middle America.
It basically goes into the transgressions that show how evil may hide even in the most beautiful and close-knit communities, ready to strike whenever the (senseless) need arises. Season 10 episode 1 ‘The Key to Murder,’ which chronicles the 1990 homicide of Melinda Snyder, is no exception, so let’s find out all the specifics about it, shall we?
What Caused Melinda Snyder’s Death?
Melinda Snyder, 22, had recently graduated from college and was preparing to start her career as a teacher’s assistant at Northside Elementary School when her life was flipped upside down.
As a former beauty queen, she had already established a good/stable life for herself, but she had no idea that her inherent attractiveness would cause her to lose her life. To put it another way, until the foreboding January 23, 1990, the Rock Hill, York County, South Carolina, native and devout Christian had everything going her way.
Melinda’s roommate quickly contacted 911 around 4 a.m. that morning after hearing a strange noise, a gunshot, and then a car driving away, only to discover the young woman bleeding in bed.
She was hurried to the neighbouring Piedmont Medical Center, but it was too late – the attendant died as a result of the injuries she’d incurred after being shot in the head. As if that weren’t enough, official documents show that Melinda was sexually molested before her assailant shot her, making her death a clear-cut, cold-blooded homicide.
Who Killed ‘Melinda Snyder’ and Why?
The initial investigations were perplexing because there was no ordinary evidence at the crime scene, such as firearms or fingerprints, leaving the police with only the perpetrator’s sperm to work with.
This was a problem because DNA technology was not as advanced at the time, but it was at this point that the car stated before proved to be crucial. After all, a few witnesses said the car looked like the one driven by local real estate agent Edward “Ed” Cronell, who was the broker for Melinda’s for-sale home and thus had access to it.
Despite the fact that the former beauty queen had recently broken up with her long-term boyfriend and was about to relocate to the United States to be closer to her parents, it does not appear that this man was ever formally considered a suspect.
In fact, officials quickly deduced that Ed had chosen Melinda to satisfy his sexual desires and had waited until the middle of the night to avoid being caught. Instead, they suspect he slipped into her room, crawled into her bed, and then let his dark fantasies unleashed in one of the most heinous ways imaginable, using the house key he knew she kept in a lockbox.
Ed was not arrested or prosecuted with the crime until about 1993, when the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a landmark rule compelling him to produce a DNA sample if he refused to do so. It was a “landmark” case because it was the first in the state to require a suspected murderer to provide fluid samples for analysis before proceeding.
When the results of the subsequent test came back positive (one in 230,000), it was almost certain that he was responsible for Melinda’s horrible death, leading to charges of murder, first-degree burglary, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
What happened to Edward “Ed” Cronell and Where Is he Now?
Following a jury trial in 1994, Edward “Ed” Cronell was found guilty of the three crimes and sentenced to two life terms in prison plus 30 years for the sex offence. As a result, he is now detained at the medium-security Broad River Correctional Institute in Columbia, South Carolina, at the age of 56.
He was originally eligible for parole in 2014, but was denied right away, and he was denied again in 2019; thus, his next predicted parole eligibility date is March 24, 2023. According to sources, Ed has not only been sentenced to prison for possessing a cellphone and accessing social media, but he has also displayed no remorse for any of his activities.
Watch Nightmare Next Door Season 10 Episode 1 “The Key to Murder” on Directv.