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The Benoit Family Tragedy

Posted by Matt on June 27, 2007

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As most of you know by now, WWE Superstar Chris Benoit was involved in a double-homicide / suicide over the weekend that included his wife and their seven-year-old son. The bizarre details of this tragic story are now beginning to unfold and this is my attempt, using multiple sources, to piece this puzzle together.

  • Friday, June 22, 2007: Chris Benoit kills wife Nancy in their suburban-Atlanta home late in the day on Friday, however the time of death is still undetermined.
  • Saturday, June 23, 2007: Benoit cancels involvement in a WWE live show in Beaumont, Texas scheduled for Saturday night citing illnesses in his wife and child; this cancellation occurs mid-afternoon on the day of the show (Benoit’s wife is already deceased).
  • Saturday, June 23, 2007 / Sunday, June 24, 2007: Benoit kills seven-year-old son Daniel either very late Saturday night or very early Sunday morning, however exact time of death is still undetermined.
  • Sunday, June 24, 2007: A series of bizarre text messages are sent to WWE employees from Chris and Nancy’s cell phones and both Nancy and Daniel are presumed dead at the time of the messages. Below is a transcript of those text messages, with timestamps, courtesy of WWE.com:

Text Message 1 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:53 a.m.) – Chris Benoit’s cell phone
“My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane, Fayetteville Georgia. 30215”

Text Message 2 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:53 a.m.) – Chris Benoit’s cell phone
“The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open”

Text Message 3 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:54 a.m.) – Nancy Benoit’s cell phone
“My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane.
Fayetteville Georgia. 30215”

Text Message 4 to two co-workers (sent 6/24 at 3:55 a.m.) – Nancy Benoit’s cell phone
“My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane.
Fayetteville Georgia. 30215″

Text Message 5 to one co-worker (sent 6/24 at 3:58 a.m.) – Nancy Benoit’s cell phone
“My address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215”

  • Sunday, June 24, 2007: After canceling his Saturday night appearance, WWE officials are unable to contact Chris Benoit regarding his appearance in Houston, Texas at Sunday night’s pay-per-view show “Vengeance: Night of Champions.” As of 11:00PM EST, Benoit had yet to be reached and had since been replaced on the card for the 8:00PM EST show.
  • Sunday, June 24, 2007 / Monday, June 25, 2007: Chris Benoit commits suicide either late Sunday night or very early Monday morning. It is possible that Benoit is already deceased at the time of the Sunday night pay-per-view show but it is still unclear as the exact time of death is still uncertain.
  • Monday, June 25, 2007: At 12:30PM EST WWE Officials are made aware of the bizarre text messages from the prior day and contacts the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department. By 4:00PM, the WWE was, in turn, contacted by the Fayette County Sheriff’s department and were notified of the fact that three bodies had been found in the Benoit residence, an adult male, an adult female, and an adolescent male. No further details are released pending an investigation.
  • Monday, June 25, 2007: Shortly after the news of the deaths of the Benoit Family, the WWE Raw event in Corpus Christi, Texas is completely canceled and is replaced by a three-hour tribute show to the career of Chris Benoit.
  • Monday, June 25, 2007: An allegedly deceased man himself due to storylines, Vince McMahon stands in an eerily empty arena in Corpus Christi, Texas announcing the death of Chris Benoit, admitting that his own death was a fictional storyline, and announcing that the “Raw” show would be canceled in lieu of a three-hour tribute show to the life and career of Chris Benoit (the “Mr. McMahon assassination” storyline has seemingly since been dropped by the WWE).
  • Monday, June 25, 2007 / Tuesday June 26, 2007: Details begin to surface late Monday night surrounding the deaths of the Benoit Family (Nancy Benoit was found upstairs and face down in blood with her hands and feet tied and deceased due to an apparent asphyxiation, Daniel Benoit was found deceased in his bed due to an apparent strangulation, and Chris Benoit was found deceased in his weight room due to an apparent suicide using cables and weights from his workout equipment.). The event is officially labeled a ‘double-homicide/suicide.’ In light of these details, WWE removs all tributes to Chris Benoit from WWE.com and removs all references to the Superstar by very early Tuesday morning.
  • Tuesday, June 26, 2007: In the late afternoon and early evening time frame, the WWE releases a statement regarding the cause of death of Chris Benoit maintaining that steroids “were not and could not be related to the cause of death.” The rest of the statement is as follows courtesy of WWE.com:

1. The authorities stated that all drugs found in the house were believed to be legal prescriptions.
2. Steroids were not, and could not, be related to the cause of death (asphyxiation). Authorities had no factual basis to speculate as to Benoit’s state of mind, and rightly did not do so.

3. Toxicology tests have not even been completed, so there is no current evidence that Benoit even had steroids or any other substance in his body. In that regard, on the last test done on Benoit by WWE’s independently administered drug testing program, done on April 10, 2007, Benoit tested negative.

4. The physical findings announced by authorities indicate deliberation, not rage. The wife’s feet and hands were bound and she was asphyxiated, not beaten to death. By the account of the authorities, there were substantial periods of time between the death of the wife and the death of the son, again suggesting deliberate thought, not rage. The presence of a Bible by each is also not an act of rage.

5. WWE strongly suggests that it is entirely wrong for speculators to suggest that steroids had anything to do with these senseless acts, especially when the authorities plainly stated there is no evidence that Benoit had steroids in his body, pending the toxicological reports, and that they had no evidence at this time as to the motive for these acts.

WWE is continuing to monitor the ongoing investigation being conducted by local authorities.” – Comments by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and Disctrict Attorney at a press conference via the WWE

  • Tuesday, June 26, 2007: Prior to the WWE-owned ECW television program, Vince McMahon issues a second statement due to the new details that became apparent late Monday and early Tuesday. The following is a transcript of that video message courtesy of WWE.com:

“Last night on Monday Night Raw, the WWE presented a special tribute show, recognizing the career of Chris Benoit. However, now some 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments, there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit tonight. On the contrary, tonight’s show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight, the WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world – entertain you.” Vince McMahon

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2007: According to ESPN.com reports, the investigation of the Benoit residence turned up prescription steroids and investigators have initially linked Chris to online drug store MedXLife.com, a site now under investigation for steroid, human growth hormone, and testosterone sales.

The worst part about the story is that it is extremely possible that Chris Benoit was alive for almost 48-hours with his wife deceased in the house, forcing his son to live with that fact for possibly 24-hours, or more. It is also possible that Benoit was alive for nearly 24-hours with his son already deceased, all of which is very disturbing. Of course, these timespans are merely estimations as no further details have been released but it will be interesting to see what the autopsies and toxicology reports reveal in the coming weeks. It will also be interesting to see how the WWE handles Benoit’s death in the coming weeks on their television programs; one would assume they would cease all acknowledgment of the situation and the character Benoit portrayed in storylines. It will also be interesting to see how the WWE writers handle the apparent dropping of the death of Mr. McMahon storyline as this past Monday night’s “Raw” was to be a tribute to a “deceased” Mr McMahon until it was canceled for the tribute show.

This has been a sad tragedy, possibly one of the biggest in the sports / sports-entertainment world in sometime, and thoughts go out to all of the family members and friends of the Benoit Family who were affected.

Sources: ESPN.com & WWE.com

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