Professional Wrestler Chris Benoit, Family Found Dead in Georgia Home
Monday, June 25, 2007
Pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old son were found slain Monday at their Fayetteville home, authorities said.
Detective Bo Turner told television station WAGA that the case was being investigated as a murder-suicide, but said that could not be confirmed until the evidence was examined by a crime lab.
WAGA reported that investigators believe Benoit killed his wife and son over the weekend, and then himself sometime Monday.
A concerned neighbor called police. The bodies were found in three different rooms.
The lead investigator, Sheriff’s Lt. Tommy Pope, told The Associated Press that the deaths were being investigated as homicide, and said the cause of death awaited autopsy results on Tuesday.
Pope said the three were found about 2:30 p.m., but he would release no other details about the deaths at the house in a subdivision near White Water Country Club.
World Wrestling Entertainment said on its Web site that Benoit, 40, his wife, Nancy, and son, who was named Daniel, were found dead, but also had no other details.
Benoit, a native of Canada, was a former world heavyweight champion, Intercontinental champion and held several tag-team titles over his career.
“WWE extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Benoit family’s relatives and loved ones in this time of tragedy,” the federation said in a statement on its Web site.
Benoit was scheduled to perform at the “Vengeance” pay-per-view event Sunday night in Houston, but was replaced at the last minute because of what announcer Jim Ross called “personal reasons.”
Benoit maintained a home in metro Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the defunct World Championship Wrestling.
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,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site.
They met when her then-husband drew up a script that had them involved in a relationship as part of an ongoing storyline on World Championship Wrestling, the newspaper said.
Benoit has two other children from a prior relationship.
The federal-style house is in a secluded neighborhood set back about 60 yards off a gravel road, surrounded by stacked stone wall and double-iron gate.
Monday night, the house was dark except for a few outside lights. There was a police car in front, and two uniformed officers.