UK & World News
Python Death Brothers' Funeral Is Held
Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of two brothers killed by a python as they slept above a pet store.
Noah Barthe, four, and his six-year-old brother Connor were buried together in a single coffin after the service in Campbellton, New Brunswick, Canada.
They were found dead last Monday after a 100-pound (45kg) African rock python escaped from its enclosure in a shop beneath the apartment where they were staying.
Police say it slithered through the ventilation system above its tank and fell through the ceiling into the living room where the boys were asleep.
Preliminary autopsy results showed they died from asphyxiation.
Reverend Maurice Frenette said the lives of the boys' parents, Mandy Trecartin and Andrew Barthe, had been changed forever in ways no one else could imagine.
"We all try to understand the best we can, but you know, no one here can feel what you feel. But I am sure that everyone here feels for you, for what you are going through," he said.
Questions still surround the circumstances of the boys' deaths, but before the service Mr Frenette said the funeral was a time to help the family.
"We're not here today to make any judgment or to try to find an answer to the inquiry, but we are here to take a pause and to be with the family," he said.
"Today we want to basically be there for them and tell them of all the love we will try to share with them during this time of sorrow."
A photo of the two boys, their heads leaning against each other as they smiled broadly, was put in front of the altar at St Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church.
The congregation was told of their love of video games, playing outdoors and how Connor was loud and Noah quiet.
Family friend Melissa Ellis said they had shared a special bond and "needed to be near each other".
"If people all over the world are feeling even a fraction of what we felt over the almost seven years of knowing the boys - inspired, lucky, blessed, hopeful - then our hearts are full," she said.
"The boys are continuing to change people, help people and heal people's hearts, including ours."
The shop and apartment where the boys died are owned by Jean-Claude Savoie, a family friend. They had been on a sleepover with his son.
Mr Savoie found the dead children on Monday morning and alerted the authorities. Vets then located and killed the snake.
Provincial officials have said he did not have a permit for the python.
On Friday, 23 reptiles that were banned without a permit in the area were seized from the shop and four large American alligators were put down.
Animal experts have been surprised by the tragedy because, although African rock pythons are dangerous and can kill large prey, they do not usually attack humans.