Updated: 07/15/2014 7:18 PM
Created: 07/14/2014 6:56 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 News) -- It was a "cold case" that led to an arrest and trial based on DNA evidence.
On July 20th, 1994 John Snyder, senior called mason city police to report that his 20-month-old son was missing.
The next day, the body of John Snyder, Jr. was found in Willow Creek, not far from his home.
"We tried to present the best evidence we had and show the jury there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendant," said assistant Iowa attorney general Douglas Hammerand.
A year ago, Michael Cisneros was arrested and charged with the boy's death.
And after deliberating for less than three hours on Monday, an eight-man, four-woman jury found Michael Cisneros not guilty of first-degree murder.
"It can be difficult, but we learn to accept that decision because we believe in the jury system," said Hamemrand.
Cisneros became a suspect when his DNA matched the DNA in blood found on the toddler's pajama bottoms near where the boy's body was found Mason City.
"The defense was arguing there's no evidence that his DNA on the pajama bottoms connected him to the murder," Hammerand told us.
Defense attorneys claimed Michael Cisneros had cut his hand the day John Snyder, junior disappeared, and while walking near Willow Creek had stopped to wipe his hand on something he'd found on the ground. That something happened to be the boy's pajama bottoms.
"That would be the state's impression with a not guilty verdict that would indicate there was not enough there to convince them beyond a reasonable doubt," Hammerand said.
Michael Cisneros was released from custody on Tuesday morning, one year and two days after he was arrested for the murder of John Snyder, Jr., and one day after he was found not guilty.