The University of California Police Dept. arrested an Isla Vista resident May 1 in connection with last month’s stabbing of a 13-foot, 85-pound Burmese python that led to its death.
Jeffery Sean Kinsey, 21, was arrested at his residence on Sueno Road and taken to Santa Barbara County Jail. UCPD detective Bill van Nieuwenhuize said new developments in the case enabled officers to obtain a search warrant for Kinsey’s residence.
“We developed information that led to us obtaining a search warrant. While at the residence, one of the officers found the cell phone number of the suspect. We advised the suspect that we were conducting a search [of his residence] and he came to the residence and was later arrested,” van Nieuwenhuize said.
During the search, officers found an approximately 5-foot Argentine boa constrictor in Kinsey’s freezer. According to the police report, Kinsey said he placed the snake in the freezer after it died of natural causes in order to preserve it so that he could have tests run on it to determine its exact cause of death.
Kinsey was questioned by UCPD, but he invoked his Miranda rights and refused to give authorities any new information. Kinsey was released from police custody pending further investigation of the case. Charges of felony animal cruelty are also pending further investigation of the case.
“We believe there may be other aspects to this case, and the investigation is ongoing,” van Nieuwenhuize said.
UCPD found the Burmese python in the early morning of April 24 in a dirt parking lot on the Devereux Loop. It had multiple stab wounds made by a wide-body knife and a smaller knife, and had also been beaten with a blunt object. When UCPD discovered the reptile, it was alive but suffering from severe injuries and hypothermia. Officers transported the python to a local veterinary clinic where it was euthanized.
A motive for the attack against the python has not been determined, but van Nieuwenhuize speculated early in the investigation that the unidentified owner or owners of the python took it to the parking lot in order to feed it, when something went wrong. He also speculated the python bit at least one person, as the stab wounds on the python are “indicative of a really tremendous struggle.”
The origins of the python are also unknown. A Reptile Warehouse, a local pet store specializing in reptiles, received a Burmese python from the Humane Society about two months ago. Bryan Szal, the owner of the store, said he remembered selling the python from the Humane Society to a person living in Isla Vista, but did not know if that python was the same one that was found by UCPD.