Woman’s shocking python death
A woman has been found dead at a suburban 'reptile home' which housed 140 snakes.
Indiana State Police said that authorities received a 911 call around 8:51pm on Wednesday (local time) to an address in the town of Oxford, Indiana for a woman who was found unresponsive with an eight-foot reticulated python wrapped around her neck.
Medics arrived at the house and "attempted lifesaving measures" on the woman, identified as 36-year-old Laura Hurst of Battle Ground, but were unsuccessful.
"She appears to have been strangled by the snake," ISP spokesman Sergeant Kim Riley told the Journal & Courier.
"We do not know that for a fact until after the autopsy."
Indiana State Police that there were 140 snakes found in the home, of which 20 belonged to Hurst.
"She frequents the location approximately two times a week," state police said.
However authorities said the snake that killed Hurst was not her's.
Sergeant Riley told TV broadcaster WTHR 13: "Apparently she got this other snake out that I believe did not belong to her. What happened after that we are still trying to work out.
"Local authorities showed up, they rendered first aid and tried to revive the female but she was not able to be revived."
The building was apparently set up as a "reptile home," Benton County deputies told WAND-TV.
The Journal & Courier reported the home was owned by Benton County Sheriff Don Munson and set up for a collection of snakes. Munson told the newspaper he discovered Hurst with the snakes.
The sheriff told the newspaper that Hurst's death was a "tragic accident with loss of human life," and that he was "being fully cooperative with everybody."
The New York Post reports, Munson, a snake breeder who actually lives next door to the home where Hurst was found, was able to free the snake from Hurst's neck, but it was too late, the report said.
Why Hurst was inside - and her relationship to Muson - was unclear.
State police said that Hurst's cause of death would be determined during a scheduled autopsy.
Indiana State Police said that Senior Trooper Detective Josh Edwards is the lead investigator in the case, with assistance from the Indiana State Police Crime Scene Investigator, Benton County Sheriff's Office, Benton County EMS, and the Benton County Coroner's Office.
"The case is ongoing," state police said.
Authorities said no one should be handling a snake longer than six foot by themselves, WTHR 13 reported.
The broadcaster also reported investigators as saying all the snakes were housed and stored properly and that they believe Hurst's death was accidental.
"I don't want to used the word bizarre but this type of a deal, I have been on for 33 years and this is the first time I have worked with a snake, let's put it this way," Sergeant Riley told WTHR 13.