Laura Hurst reportedly kept 20 snakes at a house owned by Benton County Sheriff Don Munson, and she visited them twice a week
If you’re one of the 51 percent of Americans who fear snakes, then this story might cause some nightmares.
An Indiana woman was found dead this week with a massive python wrapped around her neck in a house that 140 snakes call home.
Laura Hurst, 36, was found dead in Oxford, Indiana on Wednesday by Benton County Sheriff Don Munson. Not only did Munson own the house, which was set up specifically to house snakes, but he also lives next door, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Munson discovered Hurst, who kept her snakes at the house, at 8:51 p.m. on Wednesday, an Indiana State Police spokesperson told the outlet. Hurst was found with an eight-foot reticulated python around her neck, and while the snake was able to be extracted from Hurst, she was unresponsive.
Reticulated pythons are native to rainforests in Southeast Asia, and can weigh up to 350 pounds and grow upward of 25 feet long, according to the Wildlife Learning Center.
While authorities could not say Thursday whether the snake was responsible for Hurst’s cause of death, Indiana State Police spokesperson Sgt. Kim Riley told the Journal & Courier that she appeared “to have been strangled by the snake.”
An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday, the outlet reported.
While no humans permanently live in the snake house, owned by Munson, 140 of the slithering reptiles were reportedly being held there. Of those 140, 20 belonged to Hurst, who visited the house “about twice a week,” according to police, CNN reported.
Riley added to CNN that Hurst was “apparently there checking on her snakes. For whatever reason, she apparently got the snake out and she was doing what people do with snakes.”
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Hurst’s divorce attorney, Marcel Katz, told the Journal & Courier that Hurst loved her snakes so much that possession of the reptiles was brought up during the divorce negotiations.
“She had a real passion for snakes. That was a big issue for her,” Katz told the outlet.
While it was not immediately clear if permits are required to own reticulated pythons in Indiana, or if Munson had one, the state bans the collection of endangered species, box turtles and eggs of reptiles and amphibians.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Department and Munson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.