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Mason City Police Announce Arrest in 1994 Cold Case Murder

Posted at: 07/15/2013 10:14 PM
Updated at: 07/15/2013 10:18 PM
By: John Doetkott

Cerro Gordo County Jail
Cerro Gordo County Jail

(ABC 6 News) -- It was a case that many thought might never be solved, but now thanks to new DNA analysis, police have finally made a major break.

Almost 19-years to the day, police say they've arrested the man responsible for the death of a toddler taken from his home.

On July 21st, 1994, the body of 20-month-old John Joseph Snyder Jr. was found in Willow Creek just east of the Pennsylvania Avenue bridge in Mason City.

Since that day, police have searched everywhere looking for answers, and on Monday officials said they believe that search is over.

Police charged 37-year-old Michael Cisneros with first degree murder, after police say a recently obtained DNA sample links him to the case.

In December, Cisneros was sentenced to two years in prison on an OWI conviction, a crime for which Iowa law requires him to submit a DNA sample.

That sample was then matched to a sample taken from the toddler's pajamas using a national database.

Police said the DNA comparison was impossible in 1994 because the technology simply did not exist, but they still credited the dozens of officers and detectives who worked on the case over the past two decades.

“Was it not for their hard work back in 1994 and since, it would not be possible to bring justice to this little boy,” said Chief Michael Lashbrook of the Mason City Police Department.

Cisneros was previously named as a person of interest in this case, but police would not elaborate on what kind of connection he had to the Snyder family.

Cisneros has a lengthy criminal record that includes assault, and multiple vehicular and alcohol-related convictions.

ABC 6 will continue to investigate and bring you the latest details as they become available.