The bond between two brothers is special and unbreakable. Noah and Connor Barthe, aged 4 and 6, were particularly close. Raised by a single mother, they grew up in a tight-knit community in New Brunswick, Canada, and even shared a best friend.
Tragically, they also died together during a sleepover at their best friend's apartment on Sunday night. The brothers were killed by a python while they lay sleeping on a mattress. The snake is believed to have strangled them. A preliminary autopsy shows the boys died of asphyxiation.
Their best friend's dad reportedly loved them like they were his own sons. Their mother was his best friend. But it is being alleged that his actions may have led to their deaths.
Jean-Claude Savoie owns a pet store and mini-zoo called Reptile Ocean pet store. He and his son live in an apartment above the store.
He woke at 6.30am on Monday and, when he first checked on the boys, thought they were still sleeping. It wasn't until he noticed a hole in the ceiling and his 45kg python lying coiled in the corner of the room that he took a closer look and realised the boys were dead.
His son was sleeping in the next room. Mr Savoie captured the reptile, called the police and then called the boy's mother.
His home and business are now crime scenes.
At first he told police the snake was kept downstairs in his pet store, but RMCP Sgt. Alain Tremblay says it appears the snake was actually being kept in the apartment. He told reporters, "The investigator is still looking into whether he had all the rights to keep such (an) animal. There are a lot of things to look at. We're just at the first step of this investigation."
The New Brunswick government said in a statement that Mr Savoie did not have the required permit to house the python and a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Department of Natuaral Resources says he didn't have a permit, nor were they aware the snake was being kept at the apartment.