In a new report published on the 6th anniversary of the horrific Benoit double-murder suicide, Chris Benoit’s sister-in-law (Nancy Benoit’s sister), Sandra Toffoloni sat down for a tell-all interview regarding the state of Benoit, the relationship between Chris & Nancy, her nephew Daniel and the tragic events around June 25th 2007. Below is just a sample of the full article to which you can find a link to below:
He [Chris Benoit] did seem to love Nancy very dearly. We know that, unfortunately, their relationship started to get rocky at some point. When did you first get wind that things were turning complicated between them?
I lived in Atlanta and my sister asked me home almost every one of my days off. I want to be clear: Chris was not an abusive husband. But there were, what we call in the industry, though don’t often talk about, “high spots”. She had been there, in that position before, and refused to put up with it at all, especially with Daniel in their home. So I went with her after one of these “incidents” to file an order of protection.
What do you mean by “high spots”?
Yelling, screaming, name calling, shoving, pushing, breaking stuff.
Following the tragedy, it was reported that, sometime in 2006, Chris stopped attending church due to a hatred of religion, that he wouldn’t let Nancy out past 6 pm, and that he wouldn’t let Daniel out of the house because he felt that someone was stalking him and his family. Chris had allegedly developed symptoms of paranoia due to undiagnosed Late-Onset Schizophrenia. Can you confirm that?
This turn of events was not sudden. Early in 2006, they were looking into putting Daniel in a private Christian school, the best school in the area. Many athletes’ children attended this particular school and the high level of security was related to the caliber of the families of the children that went there. In order to get Daniel in that school, Chris and Nancy had to attend church service regularly. Although my sister and I were raised strictly Catholic, Chris did not subscribe to any one particular religion. He developed an interest in Eastern religion and philosophy while wrestling in Japan. This interest got stronger when it was time to get Daniel into private school. When my brother-in-law wanted to do something or learn of something, he fully invested himself into it. His dedication to his career and his relationship with my sister are proof of this. I used to tell him where to look and what books to read that may be of some interest to him.
Before all that, Chris had suffered multiple losses of friends. Eddie Guerrero’s death in 2005 shocked us all, no one was prepared for that. It was devastating for Nancy but it was devastating for Chris on a whole other level. Eddie’s passing came after a long line of huge losses and Chris was in a state of perpetual bereavement. His as well as Nancy’s closest friends passed away and it always seemed to be drug or steroid-related.
After Eddie passed away, Chris and Nancy discussed the possibility of Chris leaving the WWE and starting his own wrestling school. As a matter of fact, it had become more than a possibility. A business plan had been developed and merchandise had been designed. However, the WWE was prepared to give Chris a big push and put him into another championship match so Chris began training harder and pushing his body further. Chris did a lot of self-medicating. My brother-in-law made every show, he went to every production meeting, never missed a call, never missed a flight and always drove himself or made travel arrangements. Chris wasn’t schizophrenic. Someone with schizophrenia wouldn’t be able to do all that. He had a serious drug problem, used a lot of steroids and was certainly not alone in that at the time. The paranoia was a direct result of the abuse of steroids. The last 2 weeks I spent with Chris, we used to go to the gym and go tanning together. At some point, he began acting weird and I wondered what was wrong with him. He would find 30 different routes to drive to the gym which he never did before. This is not schizophrenia! This was a result of combining steroids with pain medication and, later on, alcohol. I had never seen him like this before. The final blow came in mid-June 2007, just a few days before everything happened, when Sherri Martel passed away. That devastated Nancy just as much as Eddie’s death had devastated Chris. I remember my sister telling me “I don’t know how much more of this I can take and I don’t know how much more of this Chris can take”.
It is popular belief that Chris committed the murders while under the effects of what we commonly call ‘roid rage’. The WWE stated several reasons why that couldn’t have been the case. According to them, Chris’ actions were deliberate. Others state that his actions could be related to brain damage following numerous concussions. What do you think really happened?
First of all, at that time, the wellness policy program was ineffective. I’d like to think that it’s changed but I’m not sure it has. Everyone joked about it. There was no way Chris could have tested clean unless the sample wasn’t his. It is my understanding that “roid rage” typically does not last an entire weekend. It is my belief although I was not there that he and Nancy got into a terrible argument that escalated to the point of serious violence. In spite of what the public has heard following the autopsy reports, let me tell you that my sister was brutalized. My sister’s death was a direct result of “roid rage.” He completely lost it. The Chris Benoit I had known for a decade loved my sister so much that he would never – even in the worst episode of high spots – have hurt my sister this bad. I believe he totally blacked out. I also believe that, when he came out of it and realized what he had done, he went out of his mind. He probably couldn’t believe what he had done to Nancy. He realized what he had done and medicated even more and drank and wondered how he would explain this to Daniel. He probably became so grief-stricken with his own actions that he didn’t want to live anymore. I can understand him taking his own life, especially knowing he would get capital punishment if he were tried and found guilty of my sister’s murder.
However, I can’t put a reason on why Chris killed Daniel. I myself am unable to have children and my sister and Chris always made me feel better about this fact by sharing so much of my nephew’s life with me. I was very, very close to Daniel. Chris knew I would have taken care of and loved that child with everything I had. I would have kept David and Megan in his life as well and he knew all that.
You know, evidence showed that on the Sunday before he committed suicide, he was booking flights to get to the show he was scheduled to appear on in Beaumont, Texas. This shows that there was a moment, however brief, that he thought he could get away with it. I don’t believe in the brain damage theory. He killed 2 people and believed he could go wrestle. The concussion theory doesn’t really stick with me. Yes, my brother-in-law had concussions, he hit his head for a living and I understand that. But way beyond that, he had a very serious drug and steroid problem. Unfortunately, a lot of athletes still do to this day. It’s spiraling out of control. The medical examiner told us after the autopsy that Chris was on his way to death within 10 months. His heart was huge, about 3 times normal size, and it was ready to blow up at any moment. It can’t be told to me that this wasn’t the determining factor behind what happened. I wasn’t there that weekend but I was during the last decade. Chris could have never done what he did had it not been for the steroids and prescription drugs.