STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Snake handlers react to death by python

An autopsy on the woman found dead with a python around her neck in Oxford yesterday confirms she died of asphyxiation by a snake. She was known as an avid snake handler, but she's not the only one in the county.

Posted: Nov 1, 2019 5:35 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2019 6:10 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—Molly Brawn has owned an 8 foot reticulated python for 8 years.

"I call her big-bertha but she doesn't really have a name,” said Brawn. "We've had hundreds of different species. But they're my favorite."

Brawn was also a friend to 36-year-old Laura Hurst. She said Hurst positively impacted everyone she encountered.

"She was very passionate about snakes and was very big in the reptile community. "

Brawn said Hurst would do anything to help others.

"She saved one of our ball pythons I think it was about three and a half years ago."

She said she was hurt to hear of Hurst's death and said it's uncommon for snakes to strangle someone to death.

"It's almost never,” said Brawn. “Never. I mean we've got wild reticulated pythons but it's illegal to own them and it's illegal to import and export them. So what's in the United States was bred here and domesticated."

Although she said reticulated pythons can grow up to 17 feet long and weigh up to 100Ibs plus. Taking care of them alone isn't ideal.

"Usually when you're dealing with larger snakes like that you want to have another person there helping you,” said Brawn. “You don't want to do it alone."

Snake handler Zachary Compton has handled snakes for 14 years. He said snakes carry their own personality.

"Read their behavior,” said Compton. “We've had plenty in here over six feet long and they wouldn't even think about biting a person. So it really just depends on the snakes."

Compton said if a reticulated python has an aggressive personality it can be dangerous.

"They are really really curious and ones that get as big as they do, if you're not prepared for it personally then you could have problems,” said Compton.

This website provides safety tips for those looking to handle any size snake or species. 

Lafayette
Clear
26° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
Kokomo
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 11°
Rensselaer
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 21°
Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 19°
Danville
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 23°
Frankfort
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 18°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 17°
Monticello
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 18°
Monticello
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 18°
Logansport
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 23°
Patchy freezing fog & frost, then sunshine & warmer!
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

WLFI is promoting fire safety with FREE smoke detectors

 WLFI and several local fire departments are helping with your fire safety this winter. CLICK HERE. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 658043

Reported Deaths: 12467
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion902221628
Lake48163871
Allen35614632
Hamilton31884394
St. Joseph29615510
Elkhart25291412
Vanderburgh21148377
Tippecanoe19815197
Johnson16262353
Porter15867268
Hendricks15744297
Clark11860179
Madison11688315
Vigo11520228
Monroe10267158
Delaware9800178
LaPorte9725194
Howard9024194
Kosciusko8519107
Bartholomew7394147
Warrick7380147
Hancock7379128
Floyd7149165
Wayne6597189
Grant6406157
Morgan6044124
Boone604188
Dubois5876111
Dearborn541266
Henry539892
Marshall5397104
Cass538999
Noble507575
Jackson462663
Shelby458890
Lawrence4161111
Gibson400581
Harrison395960
Clinton393353
DeKalb382878
Montgomery382883
Miami355163
Knox354484
Whitley347235
Huntington339276
Steuben336355
Wabash329575
Putnam326559
Ripley325261
Adams320749
Jasper313643
White295651
Jefferson293270
Daviess284496
Fayette270555
Decatur269688
Greene260278
Posey260031
Wells256074
Scott248947
LaGrange240270
Clay239444
Randolph225076
Spencer216130
Jennings214044
Washington208727
Sullivan202239
Fountain200641
Starke186450
Owen181652
Fulton177437
Jay177328
Carroll175718
Perry172635
Orange170450
Rush164222
Vermillion159040
Franklin158435
Tipton145641
Parke138415
Pike127232
Blackford120327
Pulaski106243
Newton96431
Brown94839
Benton91213
Crawford90113
Martin80014
Switzerland7527
Warren74712
Union66810
Ohio52811
Unassigned0428

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events