Pet snake kills owner

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Updated: .

Alex Sanz/Eyewitness News

Lanesville - An autopsy Tuesday confirmed that a man killed in the Southern Indiana town of Lanesville on Monday was crushed to death by one of his 15 pet snakes, a 14-foot long, 100-pound python that he'd had for five months.

For Patrick Von Allmen it was a life's passion turned deadly.

"He had told family members that he was going back to the area where the snake was kept to administer medical attention to the reptile," said Mark Farmer of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. "He was back there some three hours before he was discovered unresponsive lying on the floor of the building. [Von Allmen] had anywhere between 10 to 12 years of experience handling snakes and reptiles so he was fairly well-experienced."

Pythons like the one that killed Von Allmen are often counted among the biggest in the world, snakes known for their markings and gentle nature.

In his town of 600, news of his death hit hard. Neighbor Nancy Reiter knew Von Allmen since he was a young boy. 

"It kind of hits close whenever you think abou them going that young," she said.  "He was very adventurous. I mean he did like to do things that were unusual. The snakes was one thing
that he took a liking to."

"This is a tragic example of how a person who was experienced in handling snakes and reptiles lost his life apparently due to the snake overpowering him," said Farmer. "Wild animals don't necessarily make pets - good pets, anyway."

The local coroner said there were no bite marks on Von Allmen. Pythons are legal in Indiana because they're not poisonous, and attacks are uncommon. The snake that killed Von Allmen was returned to his family on Monday.