Preliminary results from autopsies performed on two Campbellton, New Brunswick, boys likely killed by an African rock python this week show they died from asphyxiation, Canadian police said on Wednesday.
A pathologist completed autopsies on Noah Barthe, 4, and Connor Barthe, 6, on Tuesday.
“While we now have some preliminary information, investigators still have to wait for other test results to come back and for the final report,” Sgt. Alain Tremblay of the New Brunswick Royal Canandian Mounted Police said.
“We recognize that this has touched the hearts of people across the world and that people want to know how this could have happened. Our investigators are looking at all aspects of this tragic incident, and that will take some time.”
Police also have some information from the necropsy done on the snake.
It appears the snake was overall in good health, although the final report will take time to come back. The remains of the snake are still with a provincial veterinarian and will be destroyed, police said.
The investigation, classified as criminal, is ongoing, CBC reported.
The brothers died late Monday or early Tuesday while at a sleepover with a friend. The friend’s father, Jean-Claude Savoie, lived in an apartment above the shop.
It’s believed the snake escaped its enclosure and climbed through ducts in the ceiling before crashing down on the boys below.
Police are said to be seizing animals from the pet store and learning center, called Reptile Ocean. It’s believed Savoie didn’t have proper permits to keep the snake.
Meanwhile, reptile experts continue to offer theories as to why the snake would take such drastic actions.
Many say it’s unusual for a rock python to attack a human, let alone two.
Yet the boys had spent time at a petting zoo earlier in the day and might have smelled like prey to the snake, Paul Goulet told the Canadian Press.
“If a snake sees an animal moving, giving off heat and smells like a goat, what is it? It’s a goat,” said Goulet, who owns a reptile zoo in Ottawa, Ontario.
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