Autopsy Confirms Owner Crushed To Death By Pet Python

Published: Sep. 5, 2006 at 9:37 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2006 at 10:02 PM EDT
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By Anne Marshall

(LANESVILLE, Ind.) -- A 23-year-old Southern Indiana man is dead after being attacked by his pet snake. It happened in Lanesville, Indiana Monday evening. An autopsy report shows Patrick Von Allmen's 14-foot python crushed him to death. WAVE 3's Anne Marshall has the story.

It was a frightening end for a man who lived with little fear.

"It's so disturbing," says Patrick Von Alleman's neighbor of 18 years, Nancy Reinert. "When I first moved here, he was just a child, and he used to come over here and ask questions. He was always trying to learn, always curious."

After Patrick's early teenage years, Nancy says she noticed a growing fondness of snakes. "I'd see him out in the yard with a snake around his neck, showing the little kids in the neighborhood."

Monday night one of Patrick's 15 snakes, a 14-foot Reticulated Python, wrapped itself around his shoulders and neck, crushing him to death.

It was around 5 o'clock Monday evening when Patrick told his family he was going to go treat the snake for a condition known as "mouth rot."  Three hours later, his family found him dead in their back shed, with the snake moving about unconfined.

"Wild animals don't necessarily make good pets," says Indiana Conservation Officer Mark Farmer.

With no witnesses, Farmer says they'll never know what prompted the snake to attack its owner. Patrick had gotten the snake as a pet about five months ago.

Says Farmer: "This is a tragic example of how a person experienced in handling animals lost his life due to a snake overpowering him."

For now, Reinert says her thoughts are with the young man who still had so much ahead and the family he leaves behind. "They're a good Christian family. They're just great people, that's all there is to it."

The python's weight is estimated at around 100 pounds. Patrick's body had no bite marks on it.  It is legal to have a python in Indiana because it is not a venomous snake.

The snake was captured and given back to the family. They haven't decided whether they will keep it.

Online Reporter: Anne Marshall

Online Producer: Michael Dever