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Criminal Investigation into Python Death of Two Boys

Andreas Schlegel/Getty Images(CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick) -- An investigation is underway into how a python was able to escape from an exotic pet store, slither through the ventilation system into an apartment and strangle two young boys as they slept.

The two brothers, 5 and 7 years old, were killed Monday while sleeping at a friend’s apartment above a reptile store in the eastern Canadian town of Campbellton, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The 100-pound, 15-foot African rock python, slipped out of its enclosure and slithered up through the ventilation system to the upstairs apartment, where it wrapped itself around the boys and killed them by constricting them, according to the preliminary investigation.

Autopsies are scheduled for the two victims to determine the official cause of death.

The owner of Reptile Ocean Inc., the exotic pet store where the incident took place, told the Global News television station that he has no idea how the snake escaped and is horrified.

Authorities arrived at the apartment shortly after 6:30 a.m. Monday, where the two boys were found dead, Constable Julie Rogers-Marsh said in a statement. Rogers-Marsh said police captured the exotic snake and are keeping it in their custody as they continue the investigation.

While fatal snack attacks are rare, one expert says the incident was likely not a defensive attack, but the result of hunger.

“Snakes only constrict for food,” Paul Goulet, owner of Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, told CTVNews. “And they’re really hungry again before they eat.”

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