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New information comes out about Chris Benoit and his murder-suicide

In the new issue of the Wrestling Observer, there is a feature about Chris Benoit, which mainly focuses on Jerry McDevitt's comments about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  Dave Meltzer revealed some new information about Chris Benoit and the murder-suicide case, in addition to pointing to something that was actually reported two months ago but went unnoticed by wrestling fans.

  • Benoit's issues with painkillers were dated as having started in 2001, which makes sense since that's when he had his neck surgery.
  • When he took time off in 2006 to rest up and care for Nancy and Daniel while the former was recovering from neck surgery (Nobody's ever said publicly why her neck was in such bad shape), he had a hernia repair done and was trying to work on his depression, which was severe after the deaths of Eddy Guerrero, Mike "Johnny Grunge" Durham, and Victor "Black Cat" Mar.  The trio, who all died within about two months, respectively consisted of Benoit's best friend, his best local friend who calmed him down when he got into arguments with Nancy, and his best friend on Japanese tours.
  • Benoit's only major medical problem before his wrestling career was a mild traumatic brain injury from a car accident when he was 6 years old.  He showed no signs of neurological problems as he grew up.
  • In a strange development, there is a note in his autopsy file that says that Benoit had a severely enlarged (620 grams, double the weight of a normal, average, healthy heart) with left ventricular hypertrophy and bilateral atrioventricular dilitation, a common finding in wrestlers who abused steroids and/or human growth hormone.  When the autopsy results were made public, Meltzer was told by the coroner that Benoit had no physical problems (including heart issues) other than testicular failure.  It was a shock at the time, as it was considered a forgone conclusion from the moment Benoit's death was announced.  As far as I can tell, when the case file on the murder-suicide was made public, this note was not included.  WWE dodged a bullet here, as they may have had more trouble dodging the steroid talk after the autopsy results were released had this been made public.  No reason was given as to why this didn't come up until now.
  • He left a suicide note.  This was actually mentioned by his father, Michael Benoit, when he talked to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in October, in an article that went unnoticed by the online wrestling community:

Michael Benoit lives in Canada and didn't see his son frequently enough to notice a mental decline. But he said the signs at the murder scene -- Benoit had surrounded his victims with Bibles, and a suicide note was found in a Bible in a drawer -- fit the profile of a CTE sufferer.

"He had a hand-written notation in there saying ‘I'm preparing to leave this Earth,'" Benoit said.

In an email to Meltzer, he added more details. "There was a note that was found in a Bible by the mother of Chris' two children (Martina Benoit) that lives in Canada...The Bible was mixed in with Chris' personal belongings that were shipped to them. I have not personally viewed the note but I was told about its contents over the phone. It was clearly written by Chris, I am told. It is also not dated."

This is far from the tip of the iceberg as far as mistakes in the investigation go.

  • In lieu of calling/waiting for some sort of animal control unit, neighbor Holly Schrepfer was sent by police to control the Benoits' guard dogs and enter the house, where she found the bodies.  She ran out of the house, screaming, and ended up leaving Georgia to avoid the media for the next few weeks.
  • Schrepfer has asserted that she told police that she encountered then WWE wrestler Dave Taylor and his wife Lisa (who didn't live in the neighborhood) carrying a platter of deli food toward the Benoit house.  The police have no record of this.  Taylor claims that he was in Texas with the WWE tour even though he wasn't booked, so he could serve as a substitute if necessary and/or draw an advance on his guaranteed salary.  This has been rebutted by various wrestlers, who have said that this never happens.  There is also no record of him being there.
  • According to Nancy's family, the house appeared to be improperly searched, as they found luggage containing vials of steroids.
  • For no adequately explained reason, District Attorney Scott Ballard claimed that Daniel Benoit was "almost dwarfed" and had needle marks on body.
  • The autopsy report and the death certificate list different causes of death for Daniel: The autopsy report listed "cervical compression" while the death certificate lists "suffocation."
  • The record of text messages retrieved from Chris's phone uses a message not listed in the record as a key.  Since it's a message from what appears to be a distraught colleague, not a generic sample for the key, it appears that it was officially excluded.  There have also been numerous anecdotal references by wrestlers to other texts sent to and from his phone that are not listed.  While the record was only said to contain "relevant" messages, why exclude any of them in the first place?
  • Verizon Wireless was not subpoenaed for voicemail messages, allegedly in part because they claimed to not have any due to a system failure.  This seems unlikely: How many customers would've been affected?  Were there no backups?
  • What remained of Chris's diary was not found by police, but by Schrepfer in a garbage can (it's not clear where exactly) after she returned to Georgia.

With these new developments, I think it's safe to say that there's a lot more that we may eventually find out.

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