PATTERSON, N.Y. – The grieving mother of the State University of New York student who was gunned down just steps from the college’s campus had spoken to her daughter just hours before the senseless, seemingly random attack, she told Fox News Digital on Tuesday.

Ann Howell spoke to Fox News Digital from the family’s Patterson, New York, home just days after her daughter, Elizabeth, or "Beth," was killed over four hours away at SUNY Potsdam, where she was finishing her final year and planning to become a music teacher. 

"She was the most amazing daughter a person could hope to have," Howell said from the front door of her home, which is nestled in a quiet, wooded neighborhood just blocks from Putnam Lake. 


Beth was shot around 5:45 p.m. local time on Friday on College Park Road in the village of Potsdam, roughly 30 miles south of the Canadian border, officials have said. She was only feet from the campus of the Crane School of Music, from which she was expected to graduate in mere months.


A SUNY spokesperson previously said Snow had no connection to the school, but revealed Tuesday that Snow’s uncle is a Potsdam faculty member. The man did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Tuesday.  

After the shooting, Beth fled a short distance before collapsing at the corner of College Park Road and East Drive, Potsdam Village Lt. Michael Ames subsequently announced. 

Police said witnesses saw someone fire three shots from a grey-colored, four-door sedan. Investigators later identified and the suspected gunman as 31-year-old Michael Snow. 


New York State Police (NYSP) executed a search warrant the next day at Snow's home in Massena – about 25 miles from the murder scene. They arrested him at the Main Street home and charged him with second-degree murder. 


Ann Howell said she had spoken to her daughter earlier that Friday, but would not go into detail about their conversation. 

She said her daughter loved music – she was an avid cellist who performed with the Crane Symphony Orchestra – and enjoyed dancing and swimming. She graduated from Brewster High School and had been a member of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps. 

Howell said the family would soon be releasing an obituary for their 21-year-old daughter, but had learned in the days since the tragedy that Beth had impacted the community "more than I realized." 

"We’re devastated," she said, "but we’re very grateful for the support that we have from friends, family and the community."

Elizabeth Howell was also a cellist who performed with the Crane Symphony Orchestra.

Elizabeth Howell was also a cellist who performed with the Crane Symphony Orchestra. (SUNY Potsdam )

Howell noted that her family had not launched any fundraising efforts. She asked that anyone who felt inclined to donate in Beth’s memory make contributions to the Danbury Music Centre, "because that was a very big part of her life growing up."

As for her alleged attacker, Howell said she had heard from police and Beth's friends that her daughter had "no connection" with Snow.

"She has a close-knit circle of friends there, and she’s a music major — she either spent time in class, or rehearsal, or practicing, or with her friends," she said. "There’s no connection."


Snow was ordered held without bail and is in custody of the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility. He is scheduled to appear in Potsdam Town Court on Friday for a preliminary hearing, said St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary Pasqua, whose office is prosecuting the case.

Pasqua also told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that his office had so far "found no connection" between Beth Howell and Snow. He asked the public to reach out if they have any information regarding Snow or his activity on the day of the shooting.

"Given the circumstances, it looks at this point like a random act. And one that could have been avoided, and something that we are not used to seeing here in the north country," he said. "We will do our best to bring the individual who committed this act to justice."

Pasqua added that he has contacted the Howell family. 

As for Snow, Pasqua would not comment on the suspect’s criminal history or the existence of any sealed cases, other than to say, "there are no open cases" against him other than for Howell’s murder. 

The suspect, Michael Snow, 31, of Massena, NY, is charged with one count of murder 2nd degree in connection with the homicide.

The suspect, Michael Snow, 31, of Massena, NY, is charged with one count of murder 2nd degree in connection with the homicide.  (New York State Police)

Meanwhile, a law-enforcement source said Snow had repeated contacts with the Massena Police Department.

NYSP has said that Snow was driving a gray Honda Civic with New York license plate number KVE2731 on the day of the murder. Between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., the car drove through Potsdam, Hopkinton, Malone, Westville, Hogansburg and Massena – a route that is a minimum of 75 miles.

Police are urging locals to review any home or business video surveillance for evidence of Snow or his vehicle in the hour prior to the shooting. The grey Honda has a damaged driver's side and an aftermarket mirror attached to the door, Ames said.

Tom Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, said Tuesday investigators were likely looking to create a timeline of Snow’s movements surrounding Friday’s alleged shooting.  

Mungeer, who is not involved in the investigation, said troopers were likely keeping releasing as little information as needed "because they want to have an airtight case."

"This tragedy is a loss of innocent life," he said. "The second tragedy would be an error in the investigation that might let this guy walk."


He added: "I know the investigators are checking all avenues … in the end, it’s somebody who’s operating within our society and ostensibly took an innocent life."  

Investigators are asking anyone who might have seen Snow or the vehicle to contact the NYSP Troop B communications at (518) 873-2750.

Fox News' Danielle Wallace and John Michael Raasch contributed to this report.