Coroner: Boys killed by python died from asphyxiation

TORONTO (AP) — The mother of two small boys strangled by a 100-pound python in their sleep earlier this week in Canada had posted photos on Facebook last year of the boys playing in and cleaning her neighbor’s snake enclosure.

Mandy Trecartin’s Facebook page has hundreds of photos of her sons, including a few showing Noah Barthe, 4, and Connor Barthe, 6, happily scrubbing the glass enclosure, which she identified as an anaconda habitat. It was not clear whether the enclosure is the one that held the python.

Preliminary results from autopsies performed on the boys show they died from asphyxiation, officials said Wednesday. The shocked community planned a vigil Wednesday.

The snake, an African rock python, apparently escaped from its enclosure, slithered through a ventilation system and fell through the ceiling into the room where the young boys were sleeping, authorities said.

They had been visiting the apartment of a friend whose father owned an exotic pet store on the floor below.

Authorities on Wednesday planned to remove other animals from the pet shop, though Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Alain Tremblay said the 14-foot python had been kept inside the apartment. Police are treating the deaths in Campbellton, New Brunswick, as a criminal investigation.

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