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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Woman found in backyard caught in downward spiral of drugs, abuse

ST. PETERSBURG — Scott Snyder remembered his youngest daughter Cheyenne before her life descended into a cycle of drugs and abuse.

She loved volleyball, he said. The family moved a few times while Cheyenne was growing up in Galion, Ohio. But she was quick to make new friends.

As a teen, she was diagnosed with manic depression and bipolar disorder. Scott Snyder said the family tried to keep her on medications. Instead, she hung out with the wrong crowd and got into drugs. Nine years ago, she moved to Florida, shuffling between shelters and abusive boyfriends.

"When this disease took hold, it took hold hard," the father said. "It lost me a big portion of my daughter quick."

On Monday night, St. Petersburg police called him. The body of his 29-year-old daughter, Cheyenne Snyder, was found in a man’s back yard.

Angelo Dante Beckford, 40, faces a charge of second-degree murder in connection with her death.

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During a news conference Tuesday morning, St. Petersburg police Maj. Shannon Halstead provided more details about the investigation:

Beckford was released from prison on April 1 after completing a 10-year sentence for attempted robbery. He had previously been released in 2016, but was sent back to prison after violating his probation.

Beckford moved into his late mother’s house at 524 16th Ave. S in Bartlett Park and allowed drug addicts to stay with him.

Police believe Beckford and Snyder met about a week ago. On Sunday evening, Beckford grew angry after Snyder made a mess inside his house. That’s when he grabbed a handgun, arrest reports state, and shot her.

On Monday, Beckford invited a neighbor over to his house. He showed him a storage tote. Inside was Snyder’s body.

The neighbor and a friend went to police headquarters and told officers about the body.

"He was boasting about how violent of a person he is," Halstead said.

Police drove to the house and stopped Beckford as he was getting back from picking up drugs, Halstead said. In one of his pockets, officers found a hollow marker containing crack cocaine and a glass crack pipe, arrest reports state.

SWAT team members swarmed the home to search for the victim. They found her in a storage tote inside a detached garage.

Besides the murder charge, Beckford also faces charges of possession of crack cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and violating his conditional release.

He also faces a charge of aggravated assault. Before the two residents contacted police, Beckford pointed a gun toward one of them, identified in an arrest report as Ibn Jackson.

Jackson said he was on his front porch on 16th Avenue S when Beckford showed up with a couple of handguns and a shotgun.

Moments later, one of Jackson’s friends told him Beckford invited him over and shown him a body. Together, the men drove to the police station.

They could have called, Jackson said, but they wanted to make sure officers got their message.

"We didn’t know he was killing people," Jackson said. "We didn’t have a clue he was doing stuff like that."

It’s unclear how Beckford, a felon, obtained the guns.

Reached by phone in Ohio on Tuesday, Scott Snyder said he last spoke to his daughter about a month ago, when a boyfriend had hit her.

He said he begged her to get a bus ticket and come home.

"No matter what," the father said he told her, "you know I love you."

She hung up on him.

Cheyenne Snyder had two sons. Her father adopted the oldest, who is now 10. Her youngest, a 4-year-old, was adopted by a woman in St. Petersburg.

State records show a string of arrests dating back to 2012, ranging from trespassing to possession of synthetic marijuana.

"We always kind of speculated something was going to happen. We were hoping it was not going to be anything like this," the father said. "You’re not supposed to bury your children."

Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] Follow @lauracmorel.

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