An Indiana woman was found dead Wednesday night with an 8-foot python around her neck in a residence that authorities are describing as a “reptile home.”
An autopsy found that Laura Hurst was killed Wednesday by an 8-foot reticulated python in a home that police said was filled with 140 snakes.
Why was Laura Hurst in the house?
Hurst, of Battle Ground, Indiana, owned about 20 of the snakes kept at the home. Battle Ground is located about 5 miles north of Lafayette.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley said Hurst visited the house about twice a week. Riley said the house is “made for the keeping of snakes” and no one lives in it.
The snake apparently had been taken from its enclosure, Riley said. The other snakes in the house were still in their cages when police arrived after getting a call just before 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Who owns the home?
Benton County Sheriff Donald E. Munson owns the home, according to property records.
Munson, who found Hurst, told the Lafayette Journal & Courier that Hurst’s death was a “tragic accident with loss of human life.” He said he was “being fully cooperative with everybody.”
Is it legal to have that many snakes?
There are no laws under Indiana State Police jurisdiction affecting a house with so many snakes, Riley with Indiana State Police said.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resource does not regulate the possession of any species of python or boa constrictor, regardless of its length, DNR spokesperson Marty Benson told the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Indiana does not regulate pythons because they aren’t native to Indiana, Benson said. State regulations require permits for venomous snakes and endangered species of snakes.
Police were told there were no venomous snakes in the house, Riley said.