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Python strangles 2 boys

python

Photo courtesy of dangerous-snakes.com

(CNN) — Police in Canada are looking into the deaths of two young boys who appear to have been strangled by a python.

The boys, ages 5 and 7, were found dead Monday morning at an apartment in Campbellton, New Brunswick. They had been sleeping over at a friend’s apartment above a reptile store, according to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Early indications suggest that a snake from the store escaped its enclosure, got into the ventilation system, then the apartment, and strangled the two boys, the statement said.

RCMP Sgt. Alain Tremblay described the snake as a python.

It was captured, and police have the snake in their possession.

Canadian broadcaster CBC reported the python is between 11 and nearly 15 feet long and weighs more than 99 pounds.

Autopsies on the boys’ bodies will be performed Tuesday.

A neighbor, Diane Fournier, has lived on the same street as the pet store for 12 years. She described the deaths as “shocking.”

“I knew the kids. They were brothers. They played in my yard with my dogs all of the time,” she said.

Fournier sent CNN a photograph her husband took of the store. It showed police cars, cones and yellow tape blocking off the area.

The store, Reptile Ocean Inc., offered condolences on its Facebook page before the page shut down.

“deepest symphathies goes out to the family of the children. a terrible accident without a meaning. this page will be shut down temporarily to avoid any further demeaning comments. you should be ashamed of yourselves,” the post read.

“we all have a heavy heart today. as anyone would. and attacks on the animals owner are unneccesary.”

–CNN’s Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

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