The morning begins with a grim discovery, an 8 foot Albino Burmese Python is found wrapped around the body of a 2 year old girl. Deputies say the snake strangled the child in her crib. Fish and Wildlife officials believe it’s the first death by a constrictor in Florida. The medical examiner removed the body of 2 year old Shaiunna Hare from her home on County road 466 in Oxford around 12:30 Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies with the Sumter County Sheriff’s office say it’s a tragic death. Deputies had to wait 5 hours for a search warrant to enter the home. Around 4:45pm they brought out the snake injured but alive. “Both the mother and boyfriend are very distraught when we arrived on scene,” says Lt Bobby Caruthers with the Sumter Sheriff’s office.
The snake’s owner 32 year old Charles Darnell is Jaren Ashley Hare’s the child’s mother’s boy friend. Darnell told deputies he secured the snake last night before going to bed. Around 12:30am he found the snake outside of its aquarium and in the living room. Darnell told deputies this time he put the snake in a bag secured it and placed the snake in the aquarium. When he woke up this morning around 9:00am Darnell says he noticed the snake had slithered away again. He ran to the 2 year old girl’s bedroom.
“The snake is on the child bite mark on the forehead took a knife and stabbed snake until he was able to remove child from residence,” says Caruthers.
“Burmese Python can get large they’re constrictors reptiles of concern,” warns Joy Hill with Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
Fish and Wildlife officials say these snakes require a permit to keep as pets and Darnell does not have one. “First the human safety factors when they get large and the other over running the native Florida habitat the Everglades,” says Hill.
FWC officials say not having the required permit is a second degree misdemeanor that carries a 500 dollar fine and 60 days in jail. In light of the child’s death deputies say Darnell and the child’s mother may face more serious charges, “Negligence charges,” says Caruthers.