UPDATE: Python Strangles 2 Brothers To Death - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: 100 Pound Python Strangles 2 Brothers To Death

Posted: Updated:

CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick (AP) - A 100-pound (45-kilogram) python blamed in the strangling deaths of two Canadian boys apparently escaped from its pet store enclosure, slithered through a ventilation system and fell through the ceiling into the room where the young brothers were sleeping, the shop owner said Tuesday.

A snake expert said it was possible that the python was spooked and simply clung to whatever it landed on. Police are treating the deaths as a criminal investigation.

Autopsies on Noah Barthe, 5 and his brother Connor Barthe, 7, were being performed Tuesday. They had been visiting the apartment of a friend above an exotic pet store in Campbellton, New Brunswick, said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh.

Rogers-Marsh said the snake apparently escaped during the night and made its way into the apartment through the ventilation system. A friend of the boys was sleeping in another room and was unharmed, she said.

The pet store owner, Jean-Claude Savoie, told the Global News television station that he didn't hear a sound and discovered the "horrific scene" when he went into his living room, where the two boys had been sleeping, on Monday morning.

"I can't believe this is real," Savoie said.

The boys were the children of his best friend and were often at his apartment to visit his son, Savoie said. The python, which he has had for at least 10 years, had been kept alone in its enclosure and was not handled by anyone else, he added.

Police said the snake has been killed by a veterinarian.

The snake was about 4.3 meters (4.7 yards) long, RCMP Sgt. Alain Tremblay said. He said police were looking at whether the store followed the province's regulations on exotic animals.

"It's a criminal investigation," Tremblay said. "We're going to look at all avenues."

The RCMP's Major Crime Unit is continuing the investigation, with the assistance of a reptile expert from the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The town's deputy mayor, Ian Comeau, said the Reptile Ocean shop was licensed to operate and "everything was according to our bylaws, to the provincial guidelines." He said he saw alligators, crocodiles and snakes when he toured the shop with the fire department about two years ago.

Snake expert John Kendrick, a manager at the Reptile Store in Hamilton, Ontario, said it sounds like the python was not enclosed properly and might have been spooked. He called the strangling deaths "very unusual" but said African rock pythons tend to be a little more high-strung.

"It's very odd that one would go out and seek out a person. They don't recognize us as food," he said.

Pythons can sense heat, and if they are startled they can grab something, Kendrick said. He said snakes are very long and their muscles run lengthwise through their body, so they are not very stable unless they are holding on to something.

"A snake that size that was just trying to hold on securely enough to make sure he felt like he wasn't falling or going anywhere; he has enough muscle power to cut off circulation," he said.

It's possible that the python was just holding on to what it landed on, Kendrick said.

"Once they are in constricting mode, any part of their body that is touching something that moves, they'll wrap it. I've seen snakes with two different prey items at the same time, one with the back of the body and one with the front. It could have been an incident like that."

PREVIOUS STORY:

CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick (AP) - Autopsies will be performed today on two boys believed killed by a snake in an apartment in Canada.
    
Authorities believe a python escaped from its enclosure at the Reptile Ocean pet store in New Brunswick, slithered through the ventilation system and into an upstairs apartment, where the two brothers, ages five and seven, were visiting.
    
Police arrived at the apartment early Monday morning and found the brothers dead. A friend of the boys was sleeping in another room and was unharmed.
    
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say the snake was captured and is in the possession of police. They believe the python escaped from its enclosure sometime during the night.
    

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE: More than $30 million raised since July 29th

    ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE: More than $30 million raised since July 29th

    Thursday, August 21 2014 2:43 AM EDT2014-08-21 06:43:11 GMT
    KOOTENAI COUNTY, IDAHO- There's the ice bucket challenge, and then there's the ice FRONT LOADER challenge. That's what employees at Kootenai Electric Cooperative used. Three front loaders, actually.More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Wednesday Spokane Mayor David Condon made good on his promise to take part in the ALS ice bucket challenge. Mayor Condon did the challenge around noon on the Gonzaga Prep football field. Members of the school's football team were also there. The mayor is a G-prep alumnus, and received the ice bucket challenge from several people.More >>
  • PENTAGON CONFIRMS: Foley rescue attempt failed earlier this summer

    PENTAGON CONFIRMS: Foley rescue attempt failed earlier this summer

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:16 PM EDT2014-08-21 03:16:50 GMT
    WASHINGTON, D.C.- Wednesday afternoon the Pentagon released information about a rescue operation to free James Foley and other U.S. hostages held in Syria by Islamist militants. Several dozen troops flew in by helicopter, but couldn't find the hostages. One of those hostages was James Foley.More >>
    WASHINGTON, D.C.- Wednesday afternoon the Pentagon released information about a rescue operation to free James Foley and other U.S. hostages held in Syria by Islamist militants. Several dozen troops flew in by helicopter, but couldn't find the hostages. One of those hostages was James Foley.More >>
  • Spokane Police work to implement body cameras

    Spokane Police work to implement body cameras

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 10:23 PM EDT2014-08-21 02:23:21 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department plans to equip 15 to 20 officers with body cameras starting the first week of September. Police Chief Frank Straub says his team still has a lot of details to work out, but that this is something that has been on their radar for quite some time.More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department plans to equip 15 to 20 officers with body cameras starting the first week of September. Police Chief Frank Straub says his team still has a lot of details to work out, but that this is something that has been on their radar for quite some time.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.