Toxicology reports in the Chris Benoit murder-suicide case indicate that the former WWE champion had steroids and other drugs in his body at the time of the incident, according to the chief medical investigator at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The reports also determine that Benoit’s 7-year-old son, Daniel, was sedated with Xanax when he was killed.
Those were among findings announced on Tuesday (July 17) by the GBI at a press conference in Decatur, Georgia. And while they provided another piece of the puzzle surrounding the case, they did not prove whether steroids were connected to the killings or offer up any conclusions as to why Benoit murdered his wife and child before taking his own life at their Fayetteville, Georgia, home last month (see “Deaths Of WWE Champ Chris Benoit, Family Being Treated As Murder-Suicide” and “Chris Benoit Fans React With Sadness, Disgust To Apparent Murder-Suicide” ).
“I would not say these findings do not [provide any answers],” GBI chief medical investigator Chris Sperry told reporters. “These results give answers as far as being able to say that Daniel Benoit was sedated at the time he was murdered — that’s an unusual finding. Other than that, they don’t reveal anything at all.”
Many had speculated that Benoit killed his wife and son in a fit of ” ’roid rage,” something that the discovery of “elevated levels” of testosterone in his body would seemingly lend credence to. But Sperry dismissed that deduction.
“This level of usage is fairly common with someone who has chronic pain. It’s therapeutic usage … there was no evidence of the laundry list of anabolic steroids out there,” he said. “All I can rely on is scientific data, and what that information says is that no one really knows [if steroid usage led to the murders]. It’s an unanswerable question.”
Benoit’s former employer, World Wrestling Entertainment, released a statement acknowledging that while levels of testosterone were found in the wrestler’s body, he had passed a WWE-mandated drug test in April — meaning that he had begun injecting testosterone without the organization’s knowledge.
“WWE understands that the toxicology reports for Chris Benoit indicate that he tested positive for testosterone and negative for anabolic steroids. On Mr. Benoit’s last drug test in April 2007 administered by Aegis Labs, he tested negative for anabolic steroids and for testosterone,” the statement read in part. “Given the toxicology report of GBI released today, it would appear that Mr. Benoit took testosterone sometime [between] his April 2007 test and the time he died.”
The toxicology report also revealed that Benoit had Xanax and the painkiller hydrocodone in his body. Benoit’s wife Nancy had three drugs in her system at the time of her death — hydrocodone, hydromorphone (a byproduct of her body’s breakdown of the hydrocodone) and Xanax — though all of those were found at a therapeutic level. Her blood alcohol level was .18, though it wasn’t clear whether that level was due to ingestion of alcohol or her body’s decomposition process.
Sperry also added that there was no evidence of human-growth hormone in any of the three bodies, which seems to debunk rumors that Benoit had been giving his son HGH to combat Fragile X syndrome. He added that an autopsy revealed that Daniel had needle marks on his arms, though it’s unclear what those marks were the result of.
Griffin County District Attorney Scott Ballard, also on hand for the press conference, added that while the toxicology results are just another “aspect” of the investigation surrounding the Benoit case, and that — despite what most within the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department believe to be true — the case is still open.
“Fayette County is still investigating, but everything leads us to believe that this was a murder-suicide,” Ballard said. “Each investigation has many aspects to it, and this is just one of those aspects.”
[This story was originally published at 4:06 p.m. on 7.17.2007]