America’s Most Wanted Sexual Offender Caught in Belize
One of America's most wanted - a convicted child molester who fled the United States after failing to register as a sex offender - has been caught in Belize where he was working as a chess instructor in schools for more than a year.
Robert Snyder, who taught the children and even married a local police officer under the alias, Augustin Rios, was apprehended by authorities on Friday, December 4. He was nabbed a week after being featured on the popular television series, 'America's Most Wanted' (AMW), according to reports on Channel Five, a Humming Bird Elementary School student saw Snyder on AMW and the child’s parent immediately informed the principal who then contacted the Commissioner of Police. It took a week to arrange for Snyder to be arrested because he hadn’t committed a known crime in Belize.
According to David Martinez, President of the Belize District Chess Association, the BDCA was not involved with Mr. Augustine Rios (Robert Snyder) and he was not a registered member of the association.
“He came to me telling me he was a retired Englishman and that he was a chess master that used to teach chess. We told him that we do voluntary work to promote the game but he wanted to do business and his agenda he charged $50 an hour for his service,” commented Martinez. “We tried to distance ourselves from him due to the fact that he told me that he did not want any media coverage, that he had crazy ex-wife that was after him and since he had recently married he did not want to cause any problem with his new wife. I actually went to FIDE website to try and find him as a rated player under the name of Augustine Rios but he was not found. Something told us he was hiding something”
The chess instructor and author was arrested in September 2005 and, under an agreement with prosecutors, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of Unlawful Sexual Conduct, and agreed to a two-year prison term. He began serving his sentence in January 2007 and was released on August 24th, 2008. After his release, Snyder was supposed to register as a sex offender and meet with his probation officer. He did neither. Instead, he fled and eventually ended up in Belize.
Snyder could now face another decade behind bars for two counts of failing to register.
According to the AMW website – Snyder was a well-known chess instructor in the United States, mainly teaching children, but police say he also worked for actors like Will Smith and Nicholas Cage. And while he was a highly regarded instructor, especially to children, AMW quoted police as saying that Snyder was, in reality, a child molester, drawn to assaulting his students.
Snyder formed chess clubs at a school in Ladyville, and for a period of time at St. Joseph Primary School and Bernice York Institute of Learning. The school manager said that Snyder only visited the school for two hours on Mondays and his sessions were always under the supervision of the Principal, Sherry Ali. Robert Snyder’s case aired on Saturday, November 28 on Americas Most Wanted, he was arrested on Friday, December 4 and deported to the US on Monday, December 7.
Snyder is the second American fugitive to be nabbed in the country in recent months. Snyder will be taken into custody by U.S. Marshals upon his return to the United States and will be transported to the Larimer County Detention Center in Fort Collins.