Two brothers, age five and seven, have been tragically strangled to death in their sleep by a massive 16-foot python that escaped from a pet store below the apartment where the children were staying.
Connor and Noah Barth were sleeping soundly when the 100-pound African Rock Python fell from the ceiling and attacked them. The boys were spending the night with Jean-Claude Savoie, who lives above the Reptile Ocean pet store that he owns in the tiny New Brunswick city of Campbellton in Canada.
Reptile Ocean is home to a veritable menagerie of exotic animals, including crocodiles, tarantulas, tortoises and numerous snakes.
Mr Savoie described to the Global News how he walked into the living room and found the two boys dead about 6.30am on Monday. He found the snake coiled in a hole nearby. He said the creeping serpent slithered upstairs into his apartment through the ventilation ducts and creeped into the ceiling.
It then fell through the ceiling and dropped onto the small boys from above. Mr Savoie said he believes the snake coiled around both children and crushed them as they slept together on the floor.
The National Post reports that the snake was a 14 to 16-foot African rock python that even its owner said was 'vicious' and was rarely handled.
Tim Thomas, a former Reptile Ocean employee, told the newspaper that when he learned of the tragedy, he immediately called Mr Savoie's best friend, Mandy Trecartin, who told him it was her boys who were killed.
Mr Savoie operated Reptile Ocean as both a pet shop and as a zoo. He kept numerous snakes and lizards and small crocodiles to sell, but he hosted tour groups.
'He always had kids going in there to visit like school kids and groups,' a neighbour said.
The horrifying deaths of the two children shocked residents of the small city of 7,400 in northern New Brunswick.
'It’s very nerve-wracking. If one got out, how many else got out,' Ms Fournier said.
Police said an autopsy on Tuesday will confirm the exact cause of death, though officials believe the boys were crushed to death by the snake.
Mr Savoie said he captured the snake and turned it over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are examining the creature.
An RCMP spokeswoman said the major crimes unit is investigating the case and will determine whether any criminal charges should be filed against the owner.
Daily Mail UK