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Toutle family's Christmas derailed by shocking discovery inside gift

2013-12-26T22:00:00Z 2013-12-29T13:04:28Z Toutle family's Christmas derailed by shocking discovery inside gift Longview Daily News

A Toutle-area family’s Christmas was ruined Wednesday when their son was stabbed by a syringe inside a sweatshirt he received for Christmas.

The family had opened all its gifts, and Nanette Snyder’s 16-year-old son was wearing the hoody sweatshirt she’d bought him from the Seventh Avenue Walmart in Longview, when the incident occurred. About 1 p.m. she asked him to stand up so she could see how it looked. He stuck his hand in the front pocket and said “ow,” Snyder recalled.

What followed next was a parent’s worst nightmare, she said.

Her son pulled his hand out the pocket and a syringe was still stuck in his finger, the boy’s stepfather, Tom Basye, said Thursday. Another syringe also was found in the pocket, and both appear to have been used. One still had blood on the needle.

“I was just numb,” Snyder said.

“Just utter shock,” Basye said.

She took her son (she is not naming him publicly) to the emergency department at St. John Medical Center in Longview for HIV and hepatitis blood tests. As of late Thursday afternoon, the family still didn’t have the initial test results. Even if the first round of tests are negative, they’ll be anxious for most of next year, because the boy will need to be tested again at six weeks, 12 weeks and six months, Snyder said.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, it’s possible to contract HIV or Hepatitis from a single needle stick, but it’s extremely rare. The risk for HIV transmission from an infected needle stick is 0.3 percent. The risk is 1.8 percent for Hepatitis C and between 6 and 30 percent for Hepatitis B.

Those statistics do little to calm Snyder and her son while they await results.

“Awful,” she said Thursday morning. “That’s how we’re doing, awful. ... We had a really rough night last night.”

She bought the sweatshirt in late November and said it’s been wrapped and sitting in her home ever since.

Snyder called the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s office but was told there wasn’t much it could do. She wondered if authorities could test the syringes for fingerprints or run a DNA test on the blood on the syringe.

She also planned on filing a report with Walmart on Thursday and contacting a lawyer.

Walmart corporate spokeswoman Betsy Harden said the company is investigating the report.

“We take this very, very seriously and we want to get to a better idea of what could have happened,” she said.

The store has not received any other complaints and has checked remaining merchandise but didn’t find any other needles, she said. It’s possible surveillance video could be reviewed as well, but first the store needs more details about the date of purchase, she said.

As for Snyder, she can’t shake the guilt of buying the sweatshirt for her son — and for asking him to stand up and show it off. She’s also upset because she chose to raise her kids in Toutle’s country setting precisely to keep them away from the risks of drugs.

“I feel like crap,” she said. “It’s a horrible feeling.”

Barbara LaBoe covers courts and law enforcement for The Daily News. Reach her at 360-577-2539 or

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(44) Comments

  1. snowlover
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    snowlover - December 26, 2013 11:35 pm
    While I feel bad for the boy having to go through that worry and dealing with that, it seems kind of odd that the mom's first inclination is to contact a lawyer. Who is she going to sue? Walmart? Because they should've known someone stuck needles in a sweater? The company that made the sweater? Because they should've known pockets would be used for that? The needle manufacturer? Because they should've known someone would do that? It sounds more like a concern about getting money.
  2. safety43
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    safety43 - December 27, 2013 12:14 am
    Welcome to the drug center for Washington State!!!!
  3. soccer_mom2007
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    soccer_mom2007 - December 27, 2013 6:27 am
    This is so terrible. I am a very precatious person and I dont even pre-check pockets
    But I guess the publishing of this story will help prevent this from happening to others.
  4. rvparent
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    rvparent - December 27, 2013 6:34 am
    this is absolutely terrible I am so sorry for what this family is going to have to go through for the next 6 months why in the world would somebody do something like that house selfish and inconsiderate can you be I hope they got him on camera and I hope they throw his behind or her behind in jail and I certainly hope everything comes out okay for the boy Involved.
  5. awonderfulworld
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    awonderfulworld - December 27, 2013 7:32 am
    How can you purchase and wrap the sweatshirt and not feel something.....? Sounds like there may be more to this story.
  6. loretta
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    loretta - December 27, 2013 8:34 am
    Another reason not to shop at Walmart. More druggies there than other stores.
  7. kitten
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    kitten - December 27, 2013 8:43 am
    I am so sorry this happened to this poor family. I constantly worry about this kind of stuff in this drug infested town we live in.
  8. unbelievable
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    unbelievable - December 27, 2013 10:04 am
    I feel terrible for the family, but am also surprised that the family immediately wants a lawyer. Sadly, I predicted this before I got to that point in the article. Should WalMart be searching the pockets on all of their clothing on an hourly basis? This is clearly not WalMarts fault. Hopefully WalMart still has the video that will show what did or did not happen. Big companies need to quit settling frivilous lawsuits so people will quit going after them for things that are beyond their control.
  9. Skoobie
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    Skoobie - December 27, 2013 11:11 am
    I have to agree with some of the other commenters; what's the point of getting a lawyer other than for a mindless cash-grab. This is a horrible situation, makes me sick to my stomach. But other than the slimebag druggies that put the needles there in the first place I don't see how this is anyone fault. I mean,the family somehow missed the needles while wrapping the present. I don't blame them. But its no different than Walmart not seeing it happen in the first place.
  10. boo
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    boo - December 27, 2013 11:34 am
    I am in agreement with snowlover and unbelievable; it is not Walmart's fault. They can't babysit every item in the store. I, too, am surprised the mother did not 'feel' a lump, especially since there were two syringes. One would thing that when folding the garment for gift wrapping you would notice a 'lump'. It's very sad the family feels they need a lawyer. ($$$)
  11. Cougs80
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    Cougs80 - December 27, 2013 11:38 am
    I don't see this as litigious on the mother's part. If the boy has in fact contracted some kind of infection or illness from the needle there could be substantial medical bills. Contacting a lawyer is the smart thing to do in this case, to find out about their rights and recourse if nothing else. Don't immediately assume they are just out for a big payoff. Let's remember these folks are the victims and they are correct in wanting to be prepared.
  12. bumblebee
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    bumblebee - December 27, 2013 12:15 pm
    The most important thing right now is the 16 year old boy. His well being is upmost important. Heck with the lawyers - Walmart - Manufacturer. It was sad it passed through so many hands before the opening of the gift. Pray for the son and the family right now.
  13. LovinLongview
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    LovinLongview - December 27, 2013 1:54 pm
    I love it when something terrible happens, people who apparently hate our Town take the opportunity to bash it. If you don't like our town, you have several options; leave, fix it, or be quiet. After all you take time to read our news paper and comment on things.
  14. man75
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    man75 - December 27, 2013 5:14 pm
    I agree why didnt the parent purchasing it or wrap it even notice?
  15. crowsfoot
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    crowsfoot - December 27, 2013 5:43 pm
    When you start giving dopers free needles you start finding the used ones everywhere. The beaches, picnic grounds etc. This was not common when they had to buy a "Fit" and keep it as a prized possession. I imagine someone fired up in the can and ditched the needles.
  16. charmed92876
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    charmed92876 - December 27, 2013 6:39 pm
    I too feel sorry for this family.. but reading all the comments about them getting a lawyer maybe this family does need one and not to sue someone but to get the sheriff's office to test those needles since they didn't want to help.. I sure hope this family gets some answers they need... and I hope every test comes back negative..
  17. country gal
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    country gal - December 27, 2013 7:08 pm
    it is a shame this happened and for them to feel they need to contact a lawyer, it is best not to jump into conclusion. just wondering, though, is the sweatshirt Made in China? wherever the sweatshirt is made from, maybe that's who to put the blame on.
  18. mommy84
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    mommy84 - December 27, 2013 9:52 pm
    It's not Walmart fault that a junkie did that.
  19. TheOne
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    TheOne - December 27, 2013 11:24 pm
    I got a strange feeling there is more to the story..
  20. mabird
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    mabird - December 28, 2013 12:56 am
    I to would contact an Attorney. My first obligation would be to take care of my child and make sure his right's are not violated and that he is taken care should the need arise ie ,,medical bill's, medication and financial support should he end up with a disease that prevents him from being able to work and support himself. That is the parents responsibility.Walmarts job is to thoroughly investigate by going through their tapes and hopefully finding the person or persons who did this.
  21. sarcastic
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    sarcastic - December 28, 2013 2:18 am
    I find this story incredibly hard to believe. How many hands handled that sweatshrit before it was given to the boy? Nobody felt 2 needles in the pocket? Do you know who's fault this is? The individual who put it in the pocket! Not Wal*Mart! Not sure why they need to contact a lawyer unless they happen to find the responsible individual. Sadly drugs are everywhere regardless of the city or town you live in.
  22. bethechangeyouwanttosee
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    bethechangeyouwanttosee - December 28, 2013 6:33 am
    This is so heart wrenching. This child needs to be started on the anti-HIV regime that is available to reduce the risk of transmission. Please take your kid back to hospital or health department and get him started on this regime!!!
  23. Ex-Longview
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    Ex-Longview - December 28, 2013 8:59 am
    "If you don't like our town, you have several options; leave, fix it, or be quiet..."
  24. Ex-Longview
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    Ex-Longview - December 28, 2013 9:14 am
    When the only news that comes out of Longview involves bizarre behavior, not even the Squirrelfest can undo the bad reputation it gains. On the outside, Longview is lovely, on the inside, it appears to be worse than the Tenderloin District in San Francisco. Why? There's no there there. This drug addled town is dying from the inside and it's sad to watch.
  25. Blogger Jogger
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    Blogger Jogger - December 28, 2013 9:32 am
    The oddest part of the article, I thought, was the incorrect notion that drugs don't exist in rural, set back communities. I assure you, this is not the case, and parents everywhere need to wake up and realize you can't move away from the problem, you must educate your children against the problem. Toutle certainly has it's share of drug problems.
  26. kitten
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    kitten - December 28, 2013 10:21 am
    There is no fix for the condition that is " Longview" . The ratio of hard case people is way above the norm yet we have no real resources to deal with them. This town needs a drug rehabilitation center but instead we just keep enabling and enticing more and more of them to come and self destruct in our streets. How do you propose we fix that?
  27. Roudyruss
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    Roudyruss - December 28, 2013 11:44 am
    To get free needles you have to have needles, thats why its called a needle exchange.
  28. crowsfoot
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    crowsfoot - December 28, 2013 4:30 pm
    re Roudyruss- Yes and to drive a car you need to wear seatbelts and have liability insurance, not use a cell phone and buy healthy food with your EBT card.
  29. bunnytails
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    bunnytails - December 28, 2013 5:15 pm
    At the needle exchange program They have to keep there used needles to exchange for new ones. The point of that is to encourage not to lead your needles laying around. Probably doesn't work
  30. bunnytails
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    bunnytails - December 28, 2013 5:18 pm
    This area needs a suboxone/methdone rapid detox program - free of charge. Inpatient treatment center (a big one) for low income,
  31. LovinLongview
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    LovinLongview - December 28, 2013 6:13 pm
    I don't have the perfect solution, but I know what does not help, for our own citizens and citizens of our neighbor exaggerating and concentrating on a small percentage of the population. I have lived all over Longview and sure there are bad and good parts, but the worst parts are not nearly as bad as 90 percent of the worst parts of towns and cities across America. It does seam that you are a concerned citizen with a solution that seems like a grand one, you can make it happen
  32. LovinLongview
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    LovinLongview - December 28, 2013 6:17 pm
    If you only concentrate on the negative, all you will see is the negative. Our negative, and exaggerated, image we have isn't helped by people in our own community trash talking it. This is a great city, better than most in the PNW, and a small exaggerated drug problem shouldn't tarnish its image. This story is a sad one and as a parent, I couldn't imagine this happening to one of my kids, if a lawyer comforts the family than who are we to judge?
  33. OldIrish
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    OldIrish - December 28, 2013 8:07 pm
    I've lived in 3 states and umpteen different towns/communities. Each one, without fail, had its problems. Drugs, gangs, whatever. Longview isn't the worst I've seen, not by a long shot.
  34. smartestpersoninlongview
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    smartestpersoninlongview - December 28, 2013 8:59 pm
    Do people think drugs are not in other cities? Drugs are everywhere!! From a city with a population of 200 or 2000000 drugs are there!! As for the mom not feeling the needles, do any of you realize how small a syringe really is? They are not gigantic stainless like the dentist uses. It doesn't surprise me one bit they weren't felt. How many of you saying she should have felt them wrapped clothing items for Christmas? Do you really think a big hoody, folding the arms in and laying it in a clothing box you would have felt a tiny syringe? Very doubtful. Also as others said. Quit bashing Longview! Either do something about what you see as problems or move or quit complaining. As for an attorney yes they need to get an attorney in case there is long term effects from this and you need to hire them right away so they are up to date on everything.
  35. kitten
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    kitten - December 28, 2013 10:09 pm
    Have any of you spent time in one of the many, many flop houses in this town? You can say what you want but I have seen the problem up close and personal. It is uglier than many people know. I don't think there is a solution until we quit enabling these addicts and get them treatment. They have said how much they live it here. All their needs are met but they have no accountability to stay clean. Many die because of it! Just ask the coroner. You may be surprised the reality.
  36. columbian
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    columbian - December 29, 2013 12:28 am
  37. candy
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    candy - December 31, 2013 10:58 am
    This story seemed to have a few holes in it. Both the mother who folded and wrapped the sweatshirt, and the cashier who picked it up and scanned it both didn't feel the needles. It looked to me like maybe the needles were ones used by a diabetic, could that be something to look into? I am sorry for the young man who has to go through all of this, I truly hope the outcome will be a good one.
  38. akw
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    akw - January 01, 2014 11:45 am
    I'm not surprised! When my son was 2 years old we went to Walmart and spent some time enjoying the toy aisle together. He was admiring the stuffed animals and I noticed a razor blade had been set on the back of a stuffed lions neck, right at the level a child would grab and hug it. The manager blew me off and tried to refuse my demands that they search all the stuffed animals for more razors! It was obvious to me the razor had been planted there to injury someone, not just to discard garbage.
  39. sc50
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    sc50 - January 02, 2014 4:38 am
    Old news! It's longview could one expect anything less?
  40. michcat54
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    michcat54 - January 02, 2014 2:21 pm
    I would be more worried that my son has contacted a disease like Hep C or even worse HIV than I would be about getting a lawyer! I rarely shop at Walmart, the one where I live hires the most stupid people and the aisles are so over crowded with products! I had a friend a couple of yrs ago find a dead mouse in her bagged salad and she of course once she got done freaking out, called the store, got a manager and he acted like he did not believe a word she had to say!
  41. OBRIEN96
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    OBRIEN96 - January 07, 2014 1:20 pm
    How about using an attorney to keep your son's name out of the press, advising you on legal matters since the Sheriff's office said there was nothing they could do to HELP them. What if some idiot who thinks the parents should have felt the extremely small syringe in a big bulky sweatshirt calls DHHS on the parents. Should they wait until DHHS takes their child and prevents them from seeing and helping him through such a horrific experience. Not everyone is after money!
  42. OBRIEN96
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    OBRIEN96 - January 07, 2014 1:31 pm
    Do you PERSONALLY KNOW how small a syringe like that truly is? Judge not lest ye be judged. The mother hasn't said anything about suing ANYONE! It's a sad day in this country when you have to hire an attorney to protect your family from people like you, who automatically ASSUME there is an ulterior motive. Remember, when you ASSUME, you make an A-S-S of U and ME!
  43. OBRIEN96
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    OBRIEN96 - January 07, 2014 1:47 pm
    That is exactly why you hire an attorney! Has the Mother said anything about suing ANYONE? In this unfortunate time we live in, almost EVER ONE needs an attorney to protect your self and family!
  44. Tommy Mattox
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    Tommy Mattox - August 25, 2014 7:56 am
    I am a medical student and get my specialization in DNA testing. You give wonderful information which is fruitful for me to understand more about DNA synthesis and strong my concept. Zinc is good to prevent from DNA synthesis disease and now it have been used in larger area.
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