Professional wrestler Chris Benoit and family found dead

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chris Benoit, performing for the Coalition troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq.

Canadian professional wrestler Chris Benoit, who performed for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), was found dead, along with his wife Nancy, 43, and their son Daniel, 7, in their home in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday. Police are calling the deaths a "double murder-suicide."

"There are no further details at this time, other than the Benoit family residence is currently being investigated by local authorities. WWE extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Benoit family's relatives and loved ones in this time of tragedy," said a statement posted on the WWE website.

Scott Ballard, Fayette County District Attorney, says that "the details (of the incident), when they come out, are going to prove a little bizarre."

Fayette County Sheriff deputy Lt. Tommy Pope stated that police found the family at about 2:30 p.m. (eastern time) when the WWE called police and asked them to do a "welfare check" after friends stated that Benoit sent them "curious text messages." It is reported that Benoit missed several meetings which prompted the call to police. Pope also stated that police were "not actively searching for any suspects outside of the house."

In a press conference, the Sheriff's Office released the details that Benoit's wife and son had both died of asphyxiation. He also hinted that the wife had been bound. TMZ.com is reporting that Benoit strangled his wife on Friday, smothered his son on late Friday or early Saturday, and then hanged himself inside his weight room on late Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.

Benoit was scheduled to wrestle in Houston, Texas for a match at WWE's Vengeance pay-per-view event on June 24. However, Benoit flew home due to "personal reasons," said Jim Ross, the announcer for WWE events.

Benoit was a professional wrestler with the nickname The Canadian Crippler, who wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment. His wife Nancy was known in the wrestling ring as Woman and Fallen Angel. She was a valet and manager and also wrestled for Jim Crockett Promotions, Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling.

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