Family torn over 1-year-old’s death

Posted at 11:12 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 00:38:26-04

TENNESSEE - A West Michigan father is heartbroken after his 1-year-old son was found dead at a home in Tennessee. The man's family thinks the baby's death is suspicious.

1-year old Mason Snyder was found dead at his mother's home in Tennessee where she lived with her boyfriend. The boyfriend is in jail on unrelated charges, but the family of Mason's biological father think there's more to the story than they've been told.

"Nick got a call on Saturday night from Samantha that Mason died," stated Casey Clugston, cousin of Mason's biological father, Nick Snyder.

Clugston thinks there's more to the preliminary autopsy results which show Mason died from shaken baby syndrome. The child was also found to have burn marks on his neck, stomach and leg.

"I just talked to Nick and the autopsy says Shaken Baby Syndrome and burns," said Clugston.  "He had burns on his neck, stomach and leg. Now Samantha is telling Nick that their four-year old jumped on him for two hours straight and that is how it happened."

"I would never do anything to my baby and I know Les would never hurt the boys," said Samantha Coulson, Mason's mother, speaking to FOX17 in Nashville, Tennessee. "They are like his own. They call him Dad."

Mason's mother, Samantha, moved to Tennessee with her boyfriend, Les Miller, for a fresh start. Miller is wanted in Michigan for violating his parole in February. Now, Nick is trying to bring Mason's ashes and their 4-year old son, Bentley, back to Michigan.

"Nick wants Mason to be buried next to his grandmother," said Clugston. "I want justice for Mason and to know what really happened to him and for Nick to be able to bring Bentley home to be safe. I don't think Samantha should have Bentley because look what just happened."

There have been no charges in Mason's death. The parole violation for Miller includes past arrests for breaking and entering and meth crimes.

Mason's father and his family have a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for funeral expenses. You can donate here.