The two small boys who were killed by a 15-foot, 100-pound python while they slept were both killed by asphyxiation, according to autopsies performed on Wednesday.
Preliminary results from autopsies performed on the boy's show they died from asphyxiation, officials said Wednesday. Hundreds of people in the shocked community of Campbellton, New Brunswick, gathered for a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening in a show of support for the family.
In a statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said they believed the reptile had strangled the two boys, who were staying overnight at a friend's apartment above the pet shop.
The python, which was originally thought to be a boa constrictor by authorities, has since been found and recaptured by police, and is no longer a danger to anyone in the local area.
Police received emergency calls on Monday after the two boys were found dead, according to a police statement.
"The preliminary investigation has led police to believe that a large exotic snake had escaped its enclosure at the store sometime overnight, and got into the ventilation system, then into the upstairs apartment," the statement read.
Campbellton's deputy mayor, Ian Comeau, has spoken on the deaths, describing them as a "tragedy."
"The city is in shock," he added.
Reptile Ocean, the exotic pet store located below where the deaths occurred, released the following statement on their Facebook page: "Deepest sympathies goes out to the family of the children. A terrible accident without a meaning."
The page has been used by dozens of people to attack the owners of the store since news of the deaths spread, and in response to those malicious messages, the store also added, "This page will be shut down temporarily to avoid any further demeaning comments. You should be ashamed of yourselves. We all have a heavy heart today. As anyone would. And attacks on the animal's owner are unnecessary."