Former Yokosuka sailor dies after stabbing while trying to protect girlfriend

By ALEXANDRA SELTZER | The Palm Beach Post, Fla. | Published: April 3, 2013

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A seaman who was assigned to a Navy ship in Japan for almost three years died overnight from stab wounds he received while trying to protect his girlfriend in her Boca Raton home.

Matthew Charles Snow, 22, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 2010, died after the March 25 stabbing. He underwent emergency surgery for a stab wound that caused a tear in the side of his heart and had been at Delray Medical Center in Delray Beach since.

Snow and his girlfriend, Vanessa Vandermeeren-Sanchez, 21, were stabbed by Sanchez’s former boyfriend and the father of her 2-year-old child. Sanchez survived the stabbing and has since been released from the hospital. She did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.

The man accused of the stabbing, Paul Charles, 24, of Lantana, eventually got into stand-off with police just off shore on Palm Beach later that day. Standing in the surf clutching a knife, he threatened to harm himself before surrendering to police.

Charles allegedly stabbed Snow and Sanchez after threatening Sanchez several times in the past. While authorities already pinned criminal charges against Charles last week, Boca Raton Police on Tuesday announced an additional charge of murder against him. He remains in the Palm Beach County Jail without bond.

Charles and Sanchez had been fighting over a lack of supplies at their son’s day care. Sanchez told police Charles threatened her last week, saying their son was not going to have two parents five years from now, according to a probable cause affidavit. That Monday, Sanchez and Snow took additional supplies to the boy’s day care and then went home to the 5300 block of Northwest Fifth Avenue, off Yamato Road near Interstate 95, to take a nap.

Police said the stabbing took place shortly after noon, when Sanchez heard the front door open. She got out of bed and saw Charles standing in the living room. He screamed at her, pulled a knife or a pair of scissors from his pants and allegedly stabbed her in the chest and arm.

Snow fought with Charles but Charles stabbed him three times, then fled.

Charles ended up calling a friend and told him he stabbed the couple and didn’t know if they were alive. The friend called police. Charles then fled to Palm Beach where he engaged in the three-hour standoff with police. Charles eventually surrendered.

Snow was assigned to the USS George Washington, which was ported in Yokosuka, Japan, said U.S. Navy spokesman Mike McLellan. McLellan said Snow was likely on leave.


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