“The Letter” – After the murder of Zachary Snarr, a family tries to rebuild

Sep 27, 2022, 6:30 AM | Updated: 2:15 pm
Ron and Sy Snarr, of Salt Lake City, talk on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, about how they forgave Jorge Be...
Ron and Sy Snarr, of Salt Lake City, talk on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, about how they forgave Jorge Benvenuto, who murdered their son, Zachary Snarr, in August 1996 after reading a letter from Benvenuto. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — About two weeks after her brother, Zachary Snarr was murdered by a stranger, Sydney Snarr Davis had her wisdom teeth removed.

It’s the kind of monotony that seemed overwhelming in the days and weeks after a 19-year-old with a gun shattered their world in every way possible. But Syd’s appointment had been made months earlier to accommodate her return to Utah State University that fall.

“I came home from the surgical center, and the pain medication had started wearing off,” Davis said. “And I remember laying on the couch, and I started crying because my mouth hurt so badly.”

Her father, Ron Snarr, entered the room and asked her what was wrong.

“My dad sat next to me and I said, ‘Dad, it just, it just hurts so much,’” she said, tears spilling down her cheeks 25 years later. “And my dad wrapped his arms around me and just started sobbing.

And he’s like, ‘I know, Doll. I know it hurts. It hurts so bad.’ And just sobbed. And … we were both crying, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘We aren’t talking about the same pain.’ And my dad just cried and cried.”

After a gunman killed 18-year-old Zachary Snarr and gravely wounded his long-time friend Yvette Rodier, the close-knit Snarr family found themselves living a unique and agonizing existence. They were connected by their grief, but somehow, they were also isolated from each other.

“I would feel like I knew I needed help,” Davis said. “And we all did. But I would go home (from college at Utah State), and I’d see how traumatized and depressed and anguished my parents were. And I was like, I can’t add to that. I don’t want to add to that. And Trent did the same. And Levi did the same. We all just suffered on our own. Yeah, I knew my family was there for me. And they knew I was there for them. But it’s like how can I add to your burden?”

The family inhabited a world that seemed known only to them.

How does joy, much less normalcy, return?

They had to continue living, but how do you think about grocery shopping or parent-teacher conferences when every breath was agonizing?

“I didn’t want to leave the house,” said Sy Snarr. “I didn’t, I just would curl up in the fetal position. Honestly, I would it was just so painful. And that pain and then the anger. I was angry at everything and everybody.”

She saw others living normal, joyful lives and wondered if she could ever piece together a happy life again.

“I’d see people out running and laughing,” Sy Snarr said. “And I think ‘How can they do that?’ You know, ‘Was I ever that way?’ And I thought ‘I’ll never be happy again.’ I really, truly believed I will never be happy again. I can’t smile. I can’t laugh. … It was just so devastating.”

In Episode 5 of The Letter, the Snarrs struggle to build a life in the shadow of grief. Listen below or at the KSL Podcasts webpage


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“The Letter” – After the murder of Zachary Snarr, a family tries to rebuild