Mounties say two children, aged 5 and 7, are dead after they were strangled by a python that escaped a reptile store in Campbellton, N.B.

Police were called to the apartment on Pleasant Street just after 6:30 a.m. Monday after the two boys were found dead. Police say they had been sleeping over at a friend’s home, located above the store, Reptile Ocean Inc.

In a news release, police said a large exotic snake had escaped its enclosure overnight and made its way to the upstairs apartment through the ventilation system.

RCMP confirmed to CP24 the snake was in fact a python.

RCMP have since taken possession of the animal.

Autopsies are expected to be performed on the boys in St. John August 6.

It wasn’t immediately clear if any adults were present in the apartment when the snake got to the boys.  

Police say the investigation is ongoing and that animal experts and forensics investigators are assisting.

The children’s names have not been released.

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