A woman died after being bitten by a snake during a serpent-handling service at church, police said.
Linda Long, 48, of London, Ky., died Sunday at University of Kentucky Medical Center, Brad Mitchell, a detective with the Laurel County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
Long died about four hours after the bite was reported, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
Officials said Long attended East London Holiness Church. Neighbors of the church told the newspaper the church practices serpent handling.
Snake handling is based on a passage in the Bible from the Gospel of Mark that says a sign of a true believer is the power to "take up serpents" without being harmed.
Handling reptiles as part of religious services is illegal in Kentucky. Snake handling is a misdemeanor and punishable by a $50 to $100 fine. Police said they had not received reports about snake handling at the church.
Lt. Ed Sizemore of the Laurel County Sheriff's Office said friends went with Long to a local hospital Sunday afternoon, before she was transferred to the university hospital.
Church officials could not be reached for comment.