The WWE says reports speculating that steroids played a role in the apparent murder-suicide of professional wrestler Chris Benoit, whom police say killed his wife and son before taking his own life, are "sensationalistic" and are not supported by evidence in the case.
But a link emerged connecting Benoit to a Florida company charged with selling performance-enhancing drugs, as the Albany County, N.Y., district attorney's office said Benoit had received deliveries from the pharmacy. And prosecutors, lacking a suicide note and lacking a motive, still want to know if side effects from performance-enhancing drugs could possibly explain what might have caused Benoit to kill two members of his family and take his own life.
Toxicology test results may not be available to investigators for weeks. As for whether steroids played a role in the crime, Fayette County, Ga. District Attorney Scott Ballard said: "We don't know yet. That's one of the things we'll be looking at."
The WWE, in a news release on its Web site, pointed out that according to police, the steroids found in Benoit's suburban Atlana home were from legal prescriptions; that in the absence of toxicology tests, there was no evidence that Benoit had steroids in his body; that Benoit tested negative for steroids in April; and that the physical evidence from the home and the time that passed between the two killings and Benoit's suicide suggest deliberate acts, rather than an act of rage.
The WWE "strongly suggests that it is entirely wrong for speculators to suggest that steroids had anything to do with these senseless acts, especially when the authorities plainly stated that there is no evidence that Benoit had steroids in his body, pending the toxicological reports, and that they had no evidence at this time as to the motive for these acts," the Stamford, Conn.-based company said.
Benoit strangled his wife Nancy, 43, suffocated his 7-year-old son Daniel and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with a weight-machine pulley, authorities said Tuesday.
Investigators said they found steroids in the house and want to know whether the muscle man nicknamed "The Canadian Crippler" was unhinged by the bodybuilding drugs, which can cause paranoia, depression and explosive outbursts known as "roid rage." Steroids have been linked to the deaths of several professional wrestlers in recent years.
Benoit's personal physician said he saw him hours before he allegedly killed his wife and he showed no signs of distress or range.
Dr. Phil Astin said Benoit was in his office on Friday -- just
to stop by and to see his staff.
Astin said he was Benoit's longtime friend and physician. He
said he had prescribed testosterone to Benoit because he suffered
from low amounts of the hormone. He said the condition likely
originated from previous steroid use. He would not say what, if
any, medications he prescribed the day of the meeting.
Benoit received drug deliveries from a Florida business that sold steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone on the Internet, according to the Albany County, N.Y., District Attorney's Office, which is investigating the business, MedXLife.com.
Six people, including two of the pharmacy's owners, have pleaded guilty in the investigation, and 20 more have been arrested, including doctors and pharmacists.
On Saturday, Benoit called a co-worker to say he had missed a flight and would be late for a wrestling event in Texas, WWE said in a timeline posted Tuesday on its Web site. The co-worker said Benoit sounded tired and groggy and said "I love you," which the co-worker found "out of context," WWE said.
When a co-worker who usually travels with Benoit called him later from the Houston airport, Benoit told the co-worker his wife, Nancy, was throwing up blood and that his son, Daniel, also was throwing up. Benoit said he thought it was food poisoning, according to WWE.
After Benoit talked to a WWE Talent Relations representative, the representative suggested Benoit try to make it to a pay-per-view event in Houston since he would not be able to make it to the live event in Beaumont, Texas.
But early Sunday, two co-workers received a series of text messages from the cell phones of Benoit and his wife. Most stated his home address in Fayetteville, about 20 miles south of Atlanta. One message from Benoit's phone said: "The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open," according to WWE.
The text messages led WWE to ask authorities to check on Benoit and his family.
Ballard said the messages appeared to be an attempt by Benoit to get someone to the home to find the bodies after his suicide.
"In a community like this it's bizarre to have a murder-suicide, especially involving the death of a 7-year-old," Ballard said. "I don't think we'll ever be able to wrap our minds around this."
He said Benoit's 43-year-old wife was killed Friday in an upstairs family room, and her feet and wrists were bound and there was blood under her head, indicating a possible struggle. Daniel was probably killed late Saturday or early Sunday, and his body was found in his bed, the district attorney said.
Benoit, 40, apparently hanged himself hours later, Ballard said. His body was found in a downstairs weight room hanging from the pulley of a piece of exercise equipment.
The prosecutor said it appeared the wrestler remained in the house for up to a day with the bodies.
The boy had old needle marks in his arms, Ballard said. He said he had been told the parents considered him undersized and had given him growth hormones.
"The boy was very small, even dwarfed," Ballard said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.