Melinda Snyder, the Rock Hill, South Carolina, teacher’s aide who was shot dead in her home, will have her case come alive in an episode of Nightmare Next Door.
According to Investigation Discovery, Nightmare Next Door begins its new season this Friday. The case based on Melinda Snyder and her killer, Edward “Ed” Cronell, is titled “The Key To Murder,” which will follow investigators as they try to nail the man they suspect used a master key to enter the former beauty queen’s home, where she was raped and murdered in her bed.
Rock Hill, South Carolina 1990
According to Nightmare Next Door, police received a 911 call and were dispatched to a home in Rock Hill, where they found the body of a woman in her bed. The victim had been shot in the head, and investigators believed that she had been raped.
The 911 call was made by her roommate, who was home at the time of the murder. She told police that she heard a noise, a gunshot, and then saw a car speeding away from the house. At the scene, there were no weapons and no fingerprints.
Melinda Snyder was murdered at around 4 a.m., and witnesses recalled seeing a car that was similar to that of a local real estate agent named Edward Cronell. Authorities believe that Ed Cronell targeted Melinda Snyder for his sexual pleasure after seeing her. Putting his plan in motion, he waited until it was quiet to enter her home, using a key that he had in his possession. Then, authorities say he climbed into Melinda Snyder’s bed, raped her, and then shot her to death.
It took two years before they could make an arrest since he couldn’t be forced to submit to a DNA sample in 1990. However, in 1992 the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Ed Cronell to take the test, which came back positive that he was the killer. It was the first case in South Carolina that demanded that a presumed killer give fluid samples for testing, according to the Item.
A jury sentenced him to two life sentences. Law enforcement officials had a hard time putting him in prison, and for the past two decades, Ed Cronell has been busy trying to get out of prison. His latest parole hearing video shows a very callous man who shows a lack of remorse for the gruesome crime that he committed.
Melinda Synder’s parents continue to fight to keep Cronell behind bars. They say that Melinda was a beautiful woman with her whole life ahead of her. She had recently finished college and was working as a teacher’s aide at Northside Elementary School. The night before she was killed, the former beauty queen spent time discussing the bible.
At the parole hearing, Sheriff Bruce Bryant said that Edward Cronell should not be released from prison after what he did. Melinda’s parents say as long as they have the strength they will attend every parole hearing to make sure that Ed Cronell serves every bit of his time, Jerry Snyder told the State.
“I am going to do all I can to make sure there remains justice for my daughter,” Snyder said. “This guy didn’t just get one life sentence, he got two. Plus 30 years. Life in prison should mean just that. Life until dead. End of story.”
Ed Cronell told the parole board that he doesn’t know why he killed Melinda Synder that day but says that he has had good behavior and learned to plant flowers over the last 20 years. When asked what he planned to do if he was released, he stated that he would live in New York with a relative and eventually find a job doing what he loves: growing and caring for flowers.
Don’t miss an all new Nightmare Next Door this Friday, September 2 at 10/9 p.m. Central on ID.
[Photo by Brennan Linsley/File/AP Images]