Woman strangled to death by her pet python
A US woman has died after being strangled by her 2.4 metre pet python.
Laura Hurst was found unresponsive on Wednesday night with the snake still coiled around her throat.
Police said the woman from Battle Ground, Indiana, kept several snakes at the property, which was outfitted for a collection of different reptiles.
Indiana State Police Sergeant Kim Riley said the person who found the 36-year-old removed the reticulated python from her neck, but medics were unable to revive her. An autopsy is scheduled for today.
"She appears to have been strangled by the snake," Sergeant Riley told the Journal & Courier.
"We do not know that for a fact until after the autopsy."
The home contained about 140 snakes, 20 of which were owned by Hurst, who apparently kept them there and visited the Oxford home twice a week.
The home's owner had renovated it to house a collection of snakes and the reptiles were caged or otherwise secured inside the building, Sergeant Riley said.
The Journal & Courier reported that property records show the house is owned by Benton County Sheriff Don Munson, who lives next door. He told the newspaper that he was the one who found Hurst. He called her death a "tragic accident with loss of human life."
"I've given all information to the state police," he said, adding that he was "being fully cooperative with everybody."
Sergeant Riley said he could not confirm whether Munson owns the home. A message seeking comment from Munson was left yesterday afternoon with the sheriff's department.
Munson told the Journal & Courier for a story in 2001, when he was a county sheriff's deputy, that he bred snakes for sale.