Man died days after 18-foot snake coils itself around his neck, says coroner

A man who was rescued by police when his pet snake wrapped itself around his neck has died in hospital from his injuries.

Pennsylvania coroner Daniel Buglio said that the man, Elliot Senseman, died on Sunday, July 24, from a brain injury “due to asphyxiation by constriction”.

An officer in Upper Macungie Township, some 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, shot the eighteen-foot boa constrictor after arriving at what he described as a "scene from a horror movie" on Wednesday, July 20.

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Jeremy Rios Griffin, a university friend of Senseman’s, described the 27-year-old as a “misunderstood genius” and a “visionary,” according to The Morning Call.

“Eccentric is the word. Some may even say weirdo,” Griffin said. “He was kind of a hippie type, too, if you had a modern-day hippie.”

Police had been called to Senseman’s house at around 2pm on July 20 to find the huge reptile coiled around the neck of its owner.

They described Senseman as being in a "very serious" condition, and say they were forced to act quickly.

“It’s one of those situations where the officers don’t have the time, the liberty to ask a lot of questions,” Upper Macungie Township Police lieutenant Peter Nickischer later said.

“They have to act right away and then it’s a matter of, OK, let’s get this person into the ambulance as soon as possible."

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Lt. Nickischer explained that because the snake was so long, it was possible to shoot it in the head without endangering the victim: "It wasn't like it just died. It started to slither away, luckily away from the officers, away from the direction that they were trying to pull this gentleman."

"They realised it was a matter of life and death with seconds to make that decision.," he added. "Praise the officers. They did what they had to do. It was a safe shoot."

Lt. Nickischer told reporters at the time that he hoped Senseman would make a full recovery, but his injuries were sadly too severe.


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