WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT
HALIFAX – Legal documents obtained by Global News show police are trying to determine if they can charge the owner of Reptile Ocean with criminal negligence causing death after his python escaped and killed two young boys.
Connor and Noah Barthe were found dead in Jean-Claude Savoie’s apartment, located above his former reptile zoo in Campbellton, N.B. on Aug. 5. They had been asphyxiated by Savoie’s African rock python, which had broken free from its enclosure while they slept.
The 24 pages of documents, written mostly in French, also reveal one of the Barthe brothers was found with blood on his head following the deadly attack. Their bodies were both found lying on a mattress.
According to the timeline given by police, officers arrived at Reptile Ocean early in the morning and found Savoie outside the apartment next to an ambulance with blood on his hands and shorts.
“They’re dead, man. The two kids are dead,” Savoie allegedly told police in French.
A third child, Savoie’s son, was still in the apartment along with the python. Savoie told police when he tried to remove the snake himself it had been very aggressive toward him, which was not its normal behaviour. He said he lost track of the snake when he left the apartment.
When he eventually caught it, police removed it around 8 a.m., about an hour after arriving at the scene.
Savoie showed police the snake’s enclosure — a glass cage that measured eight feet by 10 feet. Police also found ceiling tiles that had fallen and parts of a ventilation shaft that were hanging with drywall residue on them.
Search warrants also show that dozens of illegally owned animals were removed from the apartment.
An inventory taken by the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources lists 23 animals — including a pair of green anacondas, a green tree python, four American alligators and a West African dwarf crocodile — that were seized.
Twenty-nine other animals were discovered and removed from deep freezers in the apartment, including 17 turtles, a yellow anaconda and two reticulated pythons.
The investigation is ongoing.
With files from Brion Robinson
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