Friday Evening Benoit Update

Before this update I’d first like to say that, by all reports thus far, tonight marks one week since Nancy Benoit was murdered. I’d like to express my personal condolences to her family, and extend my heart to the souls of Nancy and Daniel… as well as my prayers that, somehow, Chris’ family and friends can achieve some sort of peace if not understanding of this tragedy that will help them move forward and keep their personal suffering to a minimum. As far as the wrestling industry goes, that remains to be seen. May no one else suffer the fates of Chris, Nancy and Daniel Benoit…

Some updates:

– Fox 5 in Atlanta is reporting that drug agents have raided the home of Dr. Phil Astin’s mother, using a battering ram to break down her door according to PWTorch.com. Astin, Chris Benoit’s physician, had reportedly stayed with his mother from time to time and is doing so currently. Additionally, reports are now coming out of Atlanta that “schedule 1, 2, 3 and 4 narcotics” were found in Benoit’s house, prescribed by Astin. PWInsider.com adds that the raid was to ensure Astin didn’t remove any files pertaining to the Benoit case, and that federal officials are also back in the doctor’s office.

– A lawyer for Nancy Benoit’s parents, Paul and Maureen Toffoloni, told ESPN.com that they babysat often for Daniel Benoit and didn’t notice signs of medical issues (Fragile X Syndrome) that have been discussed in the press this week. Lawyer Richard Decker suggested they might look into a civil lawsuit, and said that “There has been a lot of speculation and rumor in the media that is doing nothing to advance the investigation and doing everything to cause the Toffolonis intense pain.” Also in that story, Chris’ father Michael says he hopes the toxicology reports help provide some answers and closure.

– ABCNews.com has reported that authorities know who posted the infamous Wikipedia entry about Nancy Benoit’s death hours before her body was found, and have seized computer equipment. “It is unbelievable what a hindrance this has put on our investigation,” Lt. Tommy Pope of the Fayette County, Ga., Sheriff’s Department said to ABCNews.com. “We’ve got to put a lot of effort and time into working to prove or disprove that someone put up a hoax situation or that somebody was conceiving the death from out of state.”

– In other news, ESPN.com has reported that head-trauma researchers, including former wrestler Chris Nowinski, are hoping to study Chris Benoit’s brain to see if repeated concussions or other trauma could have been a factor in the alleged double-murder/suicide. While the brain may be too damaged to study, the researchers are hopeful.

– Chris Benoit’s ex-wife Martina spoke with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here is an excerpt:

Chris Benoit’s former wife, Martina Benoit, said the star wrestler “was the most loving person anyone could imagine. I love him.”

– Reached at her home in Ardrossan, Alberta, Canada, Benoit called reporting of the killings in Fayette County “crap.” She did not elaborate before ending the call.

On WrestlingObserver.com, Debbie Fernandez (wife of the late WWF star Hercules) writes an emotional commentary on wrestling, and speaks out against the industry.

– Debra Marshall (Williams), Steve Austin’s ex-wife, was on Fox News’ Big Story today, saying that some friends in the wrestling business think she’s hurting the business by speaking out. She also said that she got out of her relationship in time and that Austin’s panic attacks and bouts with rage were frequent and mixed with alcohol, according to a report of the segment on PWTorch.com

– Chris Benoit’s father, in an interview on WSB-TV in Atlanta commented that “We pray desperately that Nancy’s family is able to deal with this situation.” A video of the interview is here.

– While not directly talking about Benoit, Chrisy Hemme’s latest blog entry on her MySpace seems to touch on the issue.

– According to PWInsider.com, the site heard from “a radio show host that usually gets WWE workers that the company has put a media ban on their wrestlers for the next three weeks so that they can’t do interviews.”

– Jacques Rougeau comments about the tragedy here.

– In the Edmonton Sun, Bret Hart sounds the polar opposite of his brother Bruce, saying the following about Chris Benoit: “I never saw him lose his temper or act strange or weird … I don’t remember Chris as being a guy who took a lot of pills or drank too hard … I think you’ll find over the next few weeks this steroid thing was played up too much.” He also speculates that “He was a pretty tough, manly kind of guy and maybe he didn’t feel right pouring his heart out to somebody … You can find things can eat away at your stability and it seems to me that Chris just went off the deep end.”

– Phil Mushnick of the NY Post gives his opinions on the story in his latest column. He says it’s about time the media woke up to the problems in pro wrestling, particularly WWE, and calls out big names such as Donald Trump, Dick Ebersol, WWE Board member Lowell Weicker and Joe Lieberman for supporting WWE despite all of the wrestling-related deaths and questionable subject matter in its programming.

– According to PWInsider.com and PWTorch.com, an Italian newspaper reported that free broadcast station Italy 1 TV has cancelled WWE programming due to the tragedy. The station currently airs Smackdown, whereas Sky and Sportitalia – the pay TV networks that air other WWE-related programming – currently do not have plans to ban WWE.

– Chris Jericho was on Fox News tonight, and like his appearance on Nancy Grace, did a great job painting a picture of Chris Benoit’s personality pre-tragedy, explaining that he feels something more than steroids was the cause of these horrible acts, and coming across both genuine and intelligent. Ultimate Warrior was slated to be on Hannity and Colmes, but the appearance was pushed to Monday, according to PWInsider.com.

Thanks to everyone who has helped the reporting on this tragedy all week. You can comment below or on our forums in the conversation continued from earlier today…

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