Vigil planned for brothers believed to have been killed by snake

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. – A vigil will be held Wednesday in the northern New Brunswick city of Campbellton in honour of the two young boys believed to have been killed by a python.

Deputy mayor Ian Comeau said the vigil will be held at 8 p.m. at the Salmon Plaza monument, about a block away from where four-year-old Noah Barthe and his six-year-old brother Connor were found dead.

The monument features an 8.5-metre replica of an Atlantic salmon in a fountain along the waterfront of the city that borders Quebec.

Noah and Connor Barthe were found dead Monday morning after an African rock python weighing 45 kilograms escaped its enclosure in an apartment, slithered through a ventilation system above and fell through a ceiling into the living room where they slept, police said.

The RCMP said Monday they believe the snake strangled the boys, but on Tuesday investigators said they’re waiting for the results of an autopsy on the children as well as a necropsy on the snake before commenting further on the cause of death. The Mounties have not said when they expect the results.

The deaths of the boys have shocked the community, where friends and relatives remember the boys as fun-loving, sociable kids.

In what serves as a makeshift memorial, teddy bears have been placed at the base of a utility pole across the street from the apartment where the boys died.

Dave Rose, the great uncle of the boys, said they spent Monday with family friend Jean-Claude Savoie, who took them to a farm where they played with lamas, goats, horses, dogs and cats before they returned to his apartment for a sleepover.

Paul (Little Ray) Goulet, founder and co-owner of Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo in Ottawa, said if the children smelled like the animals they were playing with at the farm, it could explain an attack.

“This is the reasonable explanation of how this has happened is that they had been playing with farm animals, they did smell like their prey items and the snake sadly enough mistook them as a food item when they weren’t,” Goulet said Tuesday.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized.