Wrestler Chris Benoit Strangled Wife, Smothered Son, Hanged Himself in Weight Room

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By GREG BLUESTEIN
Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA (AP) - Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife and smothered his son before hanging himself in his weight room, a law enforcement official close to the investigation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Authorities also said they are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Benoit, his wife and their 7-year-old son. Steroid abuse has been linked to depression, paranoia, and aggressive behavior or angry outbursts known as "roid rage."

"We don't know yet. That's one of the things we'll be looking at," said Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard. He said test results may not be back for weeks.

Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Authorities were investigating the deaths at a secluded Fayette County home as a murder-suicide and were not seeking any suspects. The official who described the manner of death spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information was to be released at a news conference later Tuesday.

Investigators believe Benoit (pronounced ben-WAH) killed his wife, 43-year-old Nancy, and son Daniel during the weekend and then himself Monday. The bodies were found Monday afternoon in three separate rooms of the house, off a gravel road about two miles from the Whitewater Country Club.

Fayette County Coroner C.J. Mowell did not return calls seeking comment. The answering service for his funeral home said he was out of town.

Asked about the condition of the interior of the house, sheriff's Sgt. Keith Whiteside said investigators found "nothing really out of the ordinary." He said Benoit was found in the home's weight room, his wife in an office and the son in an upstairs bedroom.

Neighbors said the Benoits led a low-key lifestyle.

"We would see Chris walking in his yard from time to time. He wasn't rude, but he wasn't really outwardly warm," said Alaina Jones, who lives across the street.

Jimmy Baswell, who was Benoit's driver for more than five years, placed a white wreath at the Benoits' gate. "They always seemed like they were the happiest people," he said.

World Wrestling Entertainment said on its Web site that it asked authorities to check on Benoit and his family after being alerted by friends who received "several curious text messages sent by Benoit early Sunday morning."

The WWE, based in Stamford, Conn., said authorities asked that it not release further information on the deaths.

Benoit, born in Montreal, was a former world heavyweight champion, Intercontinental champion and held several tag-team titles. His names in the ring included "The Canadian Crippler."

"WWE extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Benoit family's relatives and loved ones in this time of tragedy," the company said in a statement on its Web site.

"He was like a family member to me, and everyone in my family is taking it real hard," said fellow Canadian Bret Hart, a five-time champion with the World Wrestling Federation. The federation has since changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment.

Benoit had maintained a home in metro Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the defunct World Championship Wrestling. The Fayette County Tax Assessors Office lists the value of the house, situated on more than 8.5 acres, at nearly $900,000.

The WWE canceled its live "Monday Night RAW" card in Corpus Christi, Texas, and USA Network aired a three-hour tribute to Benoit in place of the scheduled wrestling telecast.

Benoit's wife managed several wrestlers and went by the stage name "Woman." They met when her then-husband drew up a script that had them involved in a relationship as part of a story line on World Championship Wrestling, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Benoit has two other children from a prior relationship.
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Associated Press writers Debbie Newby and Jason Bronis
contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by SAM on Jul 6, 2007 at 02:25 PM
    I TRY T0 THINK THAT CHRIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS BUT IM JUST 10. IM NOT KIDDING WHEN I SAY I AM THE BIGGESST WWE FAN EVER AND WHEN I FOUND OUT I THOUGHT HE AND FAMILY HAD BEEN KILLED THAT WAS HARD ENOGH BUT WHEN I HEARD IT WAS HE WHO DID IT WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
  • by sue Location: inez, kentucky on Jul 2, 2007 at 08:17 PM
    i really don't think benoit killed his family or hisself. he seemed like he was a very loving man. the authorities need to check everything out not just what looks suspicious. i have watch benoit for years and some people may think it is the truth but i believe someone killed them. isn't it awful strange not to long ago they found eddie dead in a motel room and said it was suicide also. have they checked to see if their is any connections or not in these 2 cases. i believe this is a strange matter.
  • by Anonymous Location: USA on Jul 1, 2007 at 05:33 PM
    I AM VERY SORRY TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF THE BENOITS.I WOUULDNT THINK OF HIM DOIN SUCH A THING BECAUSE HE HAD LOTS OF FRIENDS IN THE WWE AND HE WAZ A GOOD PERSON AND SHOWED LOTS OF RESECT TO OPONITS. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE HE ACTED LIKE IT DIDNT MATTER WHAT PEOPLE SAYS ABOUT HIM.
  • by Robert Location: Cynthiana,KY on Jun 28, 2007 at 03:22 PM
    I DONT KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABT WHAT HAPPENED WITH CHRIS AND HIS FAMILY. IT COULD HAVE POSSIBILY BEEN STEROIDS WE MAY NEVER KNOW. MY PRAYERS AND SYMPATHY ARE SENT OUT TO BOTH OF THEIR FAMILIES. MAY GOD BLESS HIS OTHER TWO KIDS WITH THE LOSS OF THEIR FATHER. GOD BLESS
  • by James Location: Madison Co. on Jun 28, 2007 at 10:44 AM
    Has anyone questioned Kevin Sullivan? I just read that Sherri Martel was found dead on June 15th and she was associated with Sullivan who was Nancy Benoits ex husband. Sherri Martel was also in the wrestling industry. I think something is a little fishy here.
  • by Kay Location: usa on Jun 28, 2007 at 06:14 AM
    I do NOT believe he did it!
  • by Becca Location: USA on Jun 28, 2007 at 05:11 AM
    Question....who held the gun to his head and forced him to take steroids? All this talk of steroids is a cause not an excuse and he made the choice to use them. The history of his violent nature was there and he made the steroid use a priority above all else. How can you anyone say he was a "good family man" knowing that? He was messed up do to his personal choices and his wife and child paid the price.
  • by Shawn Location: West Liberty on Jun 27, 2007 at 10:30 PM
    Some of you act like you knew the man. People are saying that he was a good person and that he will be missed. I have watched wrestling from time to time, but by no means can I say that these entertainers are good or bad people just by seeing them in their make believe lives. I do know that good men don't murder their families and kill themselves. Please don't try to find an excuse for this, this is horrible and inexcusable. Furthermore, I think that if any of you have any ethics, WWE should be boycotted for showing a tribute to this man. If this had been someone not in the spot light who did this, people would be disgusted. It is time for young people (and some older) to realize that you can't find a hero or idol on television or in movies, they should look in their churches, schools, hospitals, police and fire stations, and closer to home.
  • by Speedy Location: USA on Jun 27, 2007 at 01:53 PM
    This was 1 messed up dude! He not only took his own life....the dude killed his wife and his child...come on...how can that be a great family man?
  • by Nikki Location: Ky on Jun 27, 2007 at 12:35 PM
    Chris Benoit was a very entertaining wrestler who amazed fans throughout the world and became the idol of many especially when he won the world heavyweight title. Everybody loved him..I love him because he was such an amazing person both inside and out. He is going to be missed by millions and although he did do this to him and his family I believe only the true fans will see through this and blame it on the steroids not on the man inside..Chris,just so you know,if nobody else misses you,I want you to know that I will because I watched the Rumble and watched you go in as the number one competitor only to win and then win the title at the grandest stage of them all Wrestlemania 20 in a triple threat match. I hope only the true fans will deeply miss him.

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