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A horrific case involving the death of two young boys in Canada occurred after a large python escaped a pet store and entered an apartment where they were sleeping early Monday (August 5) morning.

According to a CBC News report, police have launched a criminal investigation to determine how the African rock python managed to escape its confines in the store and reportedly entering the New Brunswick home via an adjoining ventilation system. Even more troubling, Reptile Ocean store owner Jean-Claude Savole found the bodies of the boys, aged five and seven, as he was hosting them for a sleepover for his son.

Campbellton Royal Canadian Mountain Police Cpl. Alain Tremblay said authorities have launched an initial stage of a criminal investigation. “I can tell you it’s a criminal investigation right now to determine if any criminal act is responsible for the death of the two boys,” the officer said.

Pythons are non-venomous snakes and kill their victims via constriction. What authorities have confirmed is that the snake, which can grow up to 13 feet, strangled the boys.

Reactions from the deputy mayor signaled the gravity of the grim death of the boys. “This is a tragedy,” said Deputy Mayor Ian Comeau. “The city is in shock.”

The city of Montreal announced that because of the tragedy, new rules will be implemented for owners of exotic snakes.

Watch CBC News’ video report in the clip below.

Photo: CBC News