Riverton Police Find Three Naked Children, 30 Snakes Responding To Call About ‘Erratic’ Woman

Police on Tuesday arrested a combative 33-year-old mother in Riverton who threatened to shoot officers with a crossbow, and rushed her three unclothed children, her geckos, dog, cat and 30 snakes to safe places.

Clair McFarland

November 02, 20223 min read

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Police on Tuesday arrested a combative young mother in Riverton and rushed her three unclothed children, her geckos, dog, cat and 30 snakes to safe places.

Staff at a Riverton hotel called police Tuesday to voice concerns about an “erratic” woman from Nampa, Idaho, and her three children who were wearing only underwear and were bruised, Riverton Police Department spokesman Bart Ringer told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.  

A snake found during a Riverton police response Tuesday, which the pet store owner suspects is pregnant. (Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily)

What Officers Found

Officers arrived and found a 33-year-old woman “who acted extremely erratic and hostile toward officers,” Ringer said.  

The woman reportedly said she would shoot officers with a crossbow, “but there was no crossbow,” said Ringer.  

Her three children included a 10-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl and a 4-year-old girl, all dirty. The family car also was dirty, cluttered and teeming with animals, said Ringer.

The mother was taken into custody and the children were taken in by family services. Authorities took the dog and cat to the local animal shelter.

But the geckos and about 25-30 snakes, stashed in pillowcases, needed a more exotic haven, Ringer said. Police took the reptiles to Riverton’s pet store, which keeps a number of exotic animals in climate-controlled conditions.  

It’s a good thing, said Ringer.

“The snakes wouldn’t have made it much longer,” he said. “It’s supposed to get cold tonight.” 

Ringer also said the animals were “in extremely poor condition.”

Asked about putting on clothing, the children reportedly said they had no more clothes to change into, said Ringer.  

Some of the snakes found during a Riverton police response Tuesday. (Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily)

Up All Night 

Kiley Troia, owner at Critters, Scales and Tails pet store in Riverton, was up all night taking care of the snakes, lizards and frogs after police brought them to her from the woman’s car.  

Troia said it helps that she loves all animals, especially snakes.  

“They’re doing better; they’re not freezing,” she said, gesturing toward pythons, corn snakes, Pacman frogs and geckos.  

Troia said she suspected a large python, roughly 5 feet long, is pregnant. She said the woman had that one in a tub. 

The others were “all knotted together” in pillow cases and in “dirty bins,” she said, calling the situation “very sad.” 

“I’m just making sure they’re all right,” said Troia, adding that the police department relinquished the animals to her to sell.   

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter