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Funeral today for two New Brunswick brothers killed by African rock python

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. - A funeral service will be held today in Campbellton, N.B., for two young boys who were killed by a python while they slept in an apartment above an exotic pet store.

Four-year-old Noah Barthe and his six-year-old brother Connor were found dead Monday morning after a 45-kilogram African rock python escaped its enclosure in the apartment.

Police say the snake slithered through a ventilation system located above the tank and fell through the ceiling into the living room where the boys slept.

Preliminary results of autopsies show the boys were asphyxiated by the snake.

Campbellton deputy mayor Ian Comeau says the boys will be buried together in the same casket.

Comeau says the funeral at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church will be a celebration of the lives of Noah and Connor.

"It will be a sombre celebration of the life of two young kids," he said.

Provincial officials say the African rock python was not permitted in the province.

On Friday, 23 reptiles that were banned without a permit in New Brunswick were seized from the store, while four, large American alligators were euthanized.

The apartment and store are owned by Jean-Claude Savoie, a family friend of the boys who took them shopping and to a farm before hosting a sleepover Sunday along with his son.

Savoie has not returned repeated messages for comment.

During a stop in New Brunswick Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences to the family of the boys and said the federal government would review what happened to determine whether it should play a role in the regulation of exotic pet shops.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/130809/crews-begin-seizing-animals-store-below-apartment-where-snak