Coroner: Landis' father-in-law commits suicide

SAN DIEGO -- The father-in-law of embattled Tour de France
winner Floyd Landis was found dead in his car after committing
suicide, coroner's officials said Wednesday.

The body of 57-year-old David Witt was discovered at a parking
garage Tuesday afternoon, said Paul Parker, an investigator with
the San Diego County Medical Examiner. He had a gunshot wound to
the head, and the death was ruled a suicide, Parker said.

"The Landises are devastated by the news of David's death,"
family spokesman Michael Henson told The Associated Press. "They
loved him dearly, and they miss him."

Witt was the stepfather of Landis' wife, Amber.

Landis' close friend, Dwight van Slyke, said he did not believe
the recent doping allegations against the cyclist directly led to
the suicide.

"It could have been a few percentages of the whole maybe, or
just another negative thing that he was depressed over," said van
Slyke, adding Witt had also been struggling under the strain of
opening a new restaurant earlier this year.

An avid amateur cyclist, Witt met Landis through a mutual coach
in 1998 and at one point the two shared an apartment in San Diego,
Henson said. It was Witt who introduced Landis to his future wife
and has been credited with introducing Landis -- a former mountain
biker -- to the world of road racing.

Witt and Landis served as best man at each other's weddings,
Henson said. Witt married Amber Landis' mother, Rose, a
schoolteacher, a short time after the younger couple married in

Landis has been under investigation by cycling authorities after
testing positive for high levels of testosterone last month. The
Tour de France has said it no longer considers Landis its champion.

The 30-year-old cyclist has cited a variety of possible reasons
for his failed test: ingesting something that raised his
testosterone, cortisone shots for pain in his degenerating hip,
drinking beer and whiskey the night before the test, thyroid
medication, his natural metabolism and dehydration.

Funeral arrangements for Witt were pending.