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Mother, boyfriend arrested after missing 2-year-old found in dresser drawer after suffering ‘horrific death’: Prosecutor

Madison Marshall, Roan Waters, and Oaklee Mae Snow

Madison Marshall, Roan Waters, and Oaklee Mae Snow

The search for a 2-year-old girl who’s been missing since January has come to a tragic end, with law enforcement authorities confirming that the body of young Oaklee Mae Snow was found stuffed in a dresser drawer in an abandoned building in Indiana.

The toddler’s mother, Madison Marshall, and her boyfriend, Roan Waters, were arrested this week and charged in connection with the child’s brutal death, officials said.

Waters has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious injury, and five additional counts of neglect of a dependent.

Marshall is facing the same slate of charges, but instead of murder, she was charged with two counts of assisting a criminal.

Oaklee’s father, Zachary Snow, reportedly told investigators with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office that Marshall and Waters took the children from his home in Oklahoma on Jan. 19 without permission before fleeing to Indiana, where they could stay with Waters’ mother.

Coleton Snow, Zachary Snow and Marshall’s 7-month-old son, were abducted along with his older sister and abandoned by Marshall and Waters in a “trap house,” authorities said. He was later found and reunited with his father.

Waters was arrested in March in Colorado on an outstanding warrant, while Marshall was taken into custody earlier this month for abandoning Coleton, authorities said. But Oaklee was nowhere to be found.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by Law&Crime reveals the disturbing torture and horrific abuse young Oaklee allegedly endured, particularly at the hands of Waters, that eventually took her life.

According to the document, Marshall told investigators that Water would regularly “whoop” Oaklee as a form of discipline for any perceived misbehavior, including “holding a fork wrong,” urinating in her diaper, and many other behaviors common to toddlers. On several occasions, he also allegedly “choked her out.”

Marshall told investigators that Oaklee had stopped eating around Waters because “he regularly became aggressive with her when she would not eat at the pace that he wanted her to,” police said.

On Feb. 9, 2023, Marshall said she heard Waters in the living room repeatedly yelling at Oaklee to bounce on an inflatable rubber ball with a handle attached to it. After the “fifth and loudest time that he yelled at her, Marshall went in to check on them and said she saw Waters “standing over Oaklee as she sat trying to bounce on the ball.”

Waters then sat on the couch, and Marshall returned to the kitchen.

A few minutes later, she said she heard Waters scream for her, saying she’d “never heard [him] sound like that before.”

“She met him in the hallway as he held Oaklee in his arms. She saw that Oaklee was not moving. R. Waters continually repeated without prompting that he ‘didn’t do anything’ and that ‘it wasn’t [his] fault,'” the affidavit states. “He initially refused to let Marshall take Oaklee from him and stripped her of her clothes. Marshall could see Oaklee’s stomach and chest cavity extend as if she was trying to breathe air. However, she observed what appeared to be a mix of blood and spittle dripping from her mouth when she tried to exhale, which created a gurgling sound. Oaklee’s eyes remained closed throughout this time.”

Marshall said Waters refused to let her call 911. Instead, he wrapped the child in a blanket and put her in the back of his car with Marshall, according to the affidavit. Marshall allegedly said she opened the blanket to check on her daughter and found Oaklee had stopped trying to breathe, and her lips had become blue.

“Marshall felt her skin, which now seemed cool to the touch. She could also no longer feel a heartbeat as she held her,” the document states. “Marshall pulled Oaklee’s eyelids back to further examine her but saw no movement or response in them. She held Oaklee’s hand before eventually climbing up to the front seat next to R. Waters.”

According to Marshall, they drove to an abandoned home in another town. She said Waters took Oaklee’s body out of the car, entered the home through a window, and came out a short while later.

Marshall led police to the home, where they found Oaklee’s decomposed body in the dresser’s bottom drawer. Police said her left leg had been “clearly broken at the knee so that the left foot rested directly over her chest.”

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Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears released a statement on the case Wednesday:

“As parents, we have a duty to protect our children. Not only did these two individuals fail to live up to that responsibility, but the allegations in the probable cause affidavit indicate that Oaklee suffered a horrific death and an abandonment that diminished the dignity that any child deserves,” he said. “I want to thank the multiple law enforcement agencies and our prosecutors who worked tirelessly to locate this child and seek justice on her behalf.”

Marshall appeared in court on Wednesday, where a judge set her bond at $200,000.

Waters has yet to make his first court appearance.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.