Owner of 'Reptile Ocean' exotic pet store had blood on hands, clothing
A portrait of the young brothers rests on the altar at the funeral for Noah and Connor Barthe at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church in Campbellton, N.B. on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Friday, August 23, 2013 8:02AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 24, 2013 11:04PM EDT
Newly-obtained documents reveal the owner of the New Brunswick exotic pet store located below an apartment where two young brothers were found dead after a snake escaped its enclosure, was outside the building with blood on his hands and clothing when police arrived.
Search warrants obtained by CTV Atlantic reveal that Jean-Claude Savoie, owner of the Reptile Ocean pet store in Campbellton, N.B., told police on Aug. 5 that two children had been killed by an African rock python. He also told officers that the snake was still unaccounted for.
The documents also reveal that a number of dead animals were found stored in freezers inside Reptile Ocean.
The search warrants include a statement from a conservation agent who said that the dead reptiles were eventually thawed and buried on crown property.
Three different agencies are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of brothers Noah Barthe, 4, and Connor Barthe, 6, including the coroner's office and the Department of Natural Resources.
Early autopsy results concluded that the boys were asphyxiated by an African rock python.
No charges have been laid at this time.
Following the deaths, conservation authorities seized a total of 27 animals from Reptile Ocean. The reptiles were transferred to zoos in New Brunswick and Ontario.
Four American alligators and four snakes were euthanized on site because no zoos were able to accommodate them.
The African rock python has been banned in the province since 1992. Only accredited zoos with permits are allowed to own the snake species.
Police said the snake escaped its enclosure, entered the apartment's ventilation system and dropped into the room where the brothers were sleeping.
The boys, who are friends with Savoie's child, were sleeping over at the apartment at the time of their death.
With files from CTV Atlantic