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Police Arrest Newport Beach Teacher, Suspected of Snake Hoarding

Mariners Elementary teacher had William Fredrick Buchman snakes, but only 171 have lived. Investigators say his home had the "smell of death."

William Buchman. Photo courtesy of Santa Ana Police Department.
William Buchman. Photo courtesy of Santa Ana Police Department.

The death toll of snakes rescued from a Santa Ana home increased today as experts worked to heal the ailing reptiles.

Eleven snakes died overnight, leaving 171 alive and 255 dead since police searched the home of 53-year-old William Fredrick Buchman Wednesday, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

Buchman is a sixth-grade teacher at Mariners Elementary School in Newport Beach.

Several snakes are sick so the death toll could rise further, he added.

Police went to the 2900 block of North Fernwood Drive Wednesday based on complaints about what Bertagna called “the smell of death” coming from the house.

Bertagna said snakes were being kept in “deplorable conditions,” and the house was also home to hundreds of rats and mice for feeding the snakes, most of which were believed to be pythons.

“Some (were) in boxes, some in crates and some crawling around,” he said.

Buchman, was booked on suspicion of cruelty to animals, and was released on his own recognizance.

According to reports from the scene, neighbors said Buchman had grown increasingly depressed following the recent death of his mother.

--City News Service

ace January 31, 2014 at 01:33 PM
oh cr@p I have to kill Rattlesnakes all the time when they get too close to the house. I hope they do not arrest me. "Take him to DETROIT"
Julie Patterson February 01, 2014 at 12:33 AM
He is a good man and a kind person as well as a good teacher. We should all be so critical about our actions when depression sets in.

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