Missouri man, 79, charged with murder over 1966 killing in which teen mom was stabbed 120 times

Police were suspicious even as the suspect helped to carry his alleged victim’s coffin

Dan Gooding
Friday 03 May 2024 20:39 BST
Cook County cold case: Man arrested for murder nearly 60 years after allegedly stabbing woman over 120 times

An 18-year-old mother was brutally stabbed to death more than 120 times while her baby slept nearby in 1966, now her suspected killer has been arrested thanks to new DNA evidence.

Karen Snider was found by her husband in Calumet City, around 23 miles outside Chicago, on 12 November 1966, with the case soon going cold.

Now, 79-year-old James Barbier is facing a murder charge after new DNA testing matched him to blood stains on his pants and Ms Snider’s dress.

An arrest warrant was issued on 26 April, with the suspect taken into custody in Missouri a few days later.

"It was probably one of the best phone calls of my life," Paula Larson, Snider’s daughter, said of the news police had reopened the case.

Karen Snider was stabbed to death while her baby slept nearby in Calumet City, Illinois, in 1966
Karen Snider was stabbed to death while her baby slept nearby in Calumet City, Illinois, in 1966 (CBS 2 News)

She has waited 57 years for an answer after her mother died when she was just a couple of months old.

“She was a beautiful woman. Absolutely stunning,” Ms Larson told reporters of her mother.

Her father, Paul Snider, had been working on the railroad and came home that fateful night to find a trail of blood through their home.

He later explained to Ms Larson what had happened to her mother when she was about 11 years old.

James Barbier is suspected of killing Karen Snider nearly 60 years ago
James Barbier is suspected of killing Karen Snider nearly 60 years ago (Calumet City Police Department/CBS 2 News)

The suspect worked with Mr Snider and even helped to carry his alleged victim’s coffin.

“The police noticed at the funeral that he had wounds, so he was on their radar then,” Ms Larson said.

Police questioned Mr Barbier at the time, but never charged him.

Now, that new DNA evidence, obtained following a search warrant in December, could be the key to getting a conviction.

On Thursday Mr Barbier appeared in court, with the judge allowing him to return to Missouri pending trial due to his medical state.

Ms Snider’s family said they were hopeful they could finally see justice.

The Independent has approached the Calumet City Police Department and the Cook County State’s Attorney for further comment.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in