Detectives investigating the slayings of a man and woman in a Canoga Park apartment had to have two pythons, one of them 13 feet long, removed before completing a crime-scene investigation, Los Angeles police said Wednesday.
The killings may have been drug-related, Lt. William Gaida said.
The snakes belonged to Robert Ray Burley, 26, whose body was found with that of an unidentified woman in an apartment in the 7500 block of Kentland Avenue. The victims had been beaten to death, and their bodies had decomposed, police said.
Brother Found Bodies
The bodies were found at 5 p.m. Tuesday by Burley's brother, who called police. Police refused to identify Burley's brother.
Gaida said that no one had been arrested in the killings but that detectives are following several leads. He said the victims had been dead about a week and the apartment had been ransacked.
Gaida said neighbors had called police previously to report the possibility of drug activity at the apartment. In the last eight months, he said, police also responded to a report of gunfire at the apartment and, in June, a police chase ended there.
In that incident Burley, riding a motorcycle, led police officers on a chase when they attempted to stop him for a traffic violation, police said. Burley drove the motorcycle into the apartment and was arrested for evading an officer, police said. Other details were unavailable Wednesday.
A 5-foot snake was found in the kitchen and the larger snake was in a bathroom, where police also found a dead cat, officials said.
A city animal-control officer was called to the apartment to remove the snakes so that detectives could complete searches of the rooms for evidence. The snakes were in the custody of the city's Animal Regulation Department.
Police would not speculate on why the snakes were in the apartment.
The bodies were found when Burley's relatives became concerned that they had not seen him for at least 10 days, police said. His brother went to the apartment to check on him and found the bodies.
Burley was identified by fingerprints, police said. The woman, believed to have been in her late teens, had not been identified Wednesday.