(PCM) In a bizarre case of animal cruelty, a man was arrested on Wednesday morning after police searched his Santa Ana home and discovered over 400 pythons, mostly dead.
The man, identified as William Buchman, 53, is a teacher at Mariner’s Elementary School in Newport Beach and is said to have become more and more reclusive after the death of his mother a few years back. Neighbors took to calling Buchman the “rat man” after the few glances they did catch of him were while rats were delivered to his home as food for his pythons.
For months, neighbors had been contacting the local law enforcement and complaining of the “smell of death” emanating from the 5 bedroom house.
Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna says the department had tried to contact Buchman but were unable to reach him before animal control officers started building up a case and obtained a search warrant.
As officers entered the home and began their search, Cpl. Bertagna claims he was 200-300 feet away from the house and could still smell the overpowering stench. As officers searched the home, rats and snakes alike slithered from room to room over the remains of other dead and decaying python and rat carcasses.
Buchman’s next-door neighbors claimed they’ve had to keep their windows closed for the past couple of months due to the terrible gag-inducing smell coming from Buchman’s home.
Police conducted their search of the home for the better part of the day and found mostly dead and decaying snakes throughout the home. Buchman has been charged and arrested for animal cruelty.