Wrestler had steroids in his system

Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:43pm
By: John Munford

7-year-old son drugged with xanax before killing

Toxicology tests have shown that Daniel Benoit, 7, was drugged with the anti-anxiety drug xanax at the time of his death, and his pro wrestler father Chris Benoit had been taking the steroid testosterone along with a “therapeutic” level of xanax, according to Georgia Chief Medical Examiner Kris Sperry.

There is no way to tell how much or how often Benoit had been taking the testosterone, which is most often prescribed to combat testicular problems, Sperry said.

Chris Benoit’s wife Nancy, meanwhile, had therapeutic levels of the painkiller hydrocodone and also xanax, both of which may have been attributed to recent orthopedic surgery she had undergone, Sperry said.

Those results from the toxicology reports on the family were released Tuesday afternoon in a press conference at the headquarters of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Sperry confirmed that tests were conducted on all three for the presence of the drug GHB, but all three samples came back negative.

Although the amount of xanax found in Daniel Benoit’s system was “elevated,” Sperry noted that the drug is not usually prescribed for use by children.

There was not enough xanax in Daniel Benoit’s system to indicate that he died of a drug overdose, Sperry added.

The family’s bodies were found three weeks ago in their Fayette home just east of Peachtree City. Previously Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard has said results from the autopsy on Daniel Benoit indicated that he was choked to death. Both Daniel and Nancy Benoit were asphyxiated.

Tuesday, Ballard cautioned that the investigation is ongoing and while evidence points to the case being a murder-suicide, other leads are being followed up on in the case to make sure all possible questions could be answered.

Nancy Benoit was found in an upstairs office of the family’s home, with her ankles and hands bound, officials have said. She was strangled with a coaxial cable, Ballard has previously said.

There is no way to determine whether Nancy Benoit had been drinking at the time of her death because the process of decomposition is such that it naturally elevates the blood alcohol level of a person who has been deceased for a long period of time, Sperry explained.

Sperry noted that there was no way to test Daniel Benoit to determine if he was afflicted with the fragile X chromosomal disorder because the test requires living cells to be grown, he added. The World Wrestling Entertainment company originally reported that Chris Benoit had told friends his son suffered from the disorder, but that was later challenged by Nancy Benoit’s parents, according to media reports.

Although there were marked believed to be needle marks on Daniel Benoit’s body, there was no presence of him being given any human growth hormone on any of the toxicology tests, Sperry added.

Federal authorities have revealed that Benoit was prescribed 10 months’ worth of steroids every three to four weeks leading up to May of this year, with those prescriptions coming from Benoit’s personal doctor, Phil Astin III of Carrollton.

Federal officials also have indicated in court documents that Benoit was known to have purchased “excessive amounts of injectable steroids” in connection with an investigation into a company called RX Weight Loss. Days after the Benoit family deaths, Astin was indicted on several counts of providing prescriptions to other patients without medical need in violation of federal drug control laws.

The family's bodies were found at their central Fayette home June 26 after Chris Benoit's World Wrestling Entertainment co-workers asked sheriff's deputies to check on the family's welfare. At the time, Benoit had missed two wrestling matches in Texas, and the WWE later revealed that several text messages were sent from both Chris and Nancy Benoits' cell phones referring only to the family's physical address and the status of the dogs and an open door to the home.

Authorities have said Chris Benoit did not leave a suicide note, but bibles were placed next to the bodies of Nancy and Daniel Benoit. Ballard has said he’s not sure if anyone will ever figure out exactly what lead Chris Benoit to kill his wife and son.

Ballard previously has said based on the findings of the initial autopsy report that he believes Chris Benoit used a choke hold to kill Daniel Benoit, whose body was found in the bed in his room, which had been decorated with posters and other memorabilia from his father’s wrestling career.

In 2003, Nancy Benoit asked for and received a protective order from Chris Benoit, who had thrown some things around their Peachtree City home but did not harm Nancy Benoit, according to the court filings. Nancy Benoit also filed for divorce at that time, but the couple later reconciled and the temporary protective order and divorce petition were vacated.

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