It’s the stuff of nightmares: Two small boys were tragically killed in Canada on Monday by an escaped python.
As the New York Daily News reports, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say that a python escaped from its enclosure at the Reptile Ocean Pet Shop in Campbellton, New Brunswick, and then crawled into the apartment above the shop. Two boys, who have been identified as Connor and Noah Barthe, ages 5 and 7, were asleep in their friend’s apartment when authorities believe the python strangled them both while they slept.
Constable Julie Rogers-Marsh said when police arrived at the apartment Monday, they found the two boys dead on the scene. Their friend was sleeping in another room and was unharmed.
The snake, which has been identified as an African Rock Python, was promptly captured and is currently in police possession. Police say that the reptile made its way into the apartment by slithering through the ventilation system. Rogers-Marsh said, "It's very, very unusual and very tragic and difficult for everyone involved.”
Pet store owner Jean-Claude Savoie told the Global News, “My body’s in shock. I don’t know what to think.” Savoie said the two boys are his best friend’s children, and that he discovered the bodies Monday morning. Savoie said when he went into the apartment he discovered a gruesome sight. “I thought they were sleeping until I [saw] the hole in the ceiling. I turned the lights on and I [saw] this horrific scene,” he said.
Police say they are treating the incident as a criminal investigation, and that autopsies are scheduled to be performed on the two boys today.