By DEBBIE NEWBY, Associated Press Writer
June 26, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- Pro wrestler Chris Benoit canceled a pay-per-view appearance at the "Vengeance" event in Houston because of "personal reasons" a day before he, his wife and their 7-year-old son were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide.
Details of the deaths "are going to prove a little bizarre" when released to the public, Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in DeKalb County.
Authorities were investigating the deaths at a secluded Fayette County home as a murder-suicide and were not seeking any suspects.
Investigators believe Benoit, (pronounced ben-WAH) killed his wife and son over the weekend and then himself sometime Monday. The bodies were found Monday afternoon in three different rooms of the house on Green Meadow Lane, in a subdivision off a gravel road about two miles from the Whitewater Country Club.
Ballard told The Associated Press a gun was not used in any of the deaths. But he declined to say how the three died.
"We're pretty sure we know, but we want to confirm it with the crime lab," Ballard said early Tuesday.
Fayette County Coroner C.J. Mowell did not return phone calls. The answering service for his funeral home said he was out of town.
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."
Sheriff's Lt. Tommy Pope told WSB-TV that the three were found about 2:30 p.m., but he wouldn't release other details.
Stamford, Conn.-based WWE also said on its Web site it had been asked by authorities not to release further information on the deaths of Benoit, 40; his wife, Nancy, 43; and son, Daniel.
Benoit was born in Montreal. He was a former world heavyweight champion, Intercontinental champion and held several tag-team titles over his career. He was known by several names including "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.
Benoit had 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.
They met when her then-husband drew up a script that had them involved in a relationship as part of an ongoing story line on World Championship Wrestling, the newspaper said.
Benoit has two other children from a prior relationship.