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Friday, June 29, 2007

ProWrestlingPress.com: Benoit Family Tragedy Timeline

ProWrestlingPress.com: Benoit Family Tragedy Timeline
By Nate Stein, ProWrestlingPress.com

As people try to comprehend the events surrounding the Benoit Family Tragedy, I wanted to attempt to provide a time line of events.

I know there is lot more testimony, unattributed “knowledge”, and misleading information out there that I am not including. As much as possible, I hope this will help some wrap their heads around all of these events:

- September 1998: Chris Benoit’s only known police encounter occurs when arrested on a DUI charge in Peachtree City, GA.
(From The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

- 2001: Dr. Phil Astin’s license to practice medicine is suspended for three months for reasons related to “competence of character”.
(From TMZ.com)

- At least 2002: Daniel Benoit is diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome and is prescribed growth hormone. Chris Benoit describes is as “a learning disability much like autism” that that National Fragile X Syndrome Foundation calls “the world's leading cause of inherited intellectual disability”.
(From WWE.com post, now removed, The National Fragile X Foundation, ESPN.com)

- May 12, 2003: Nancy Benoit files for divorce saying Chris Benoit threatened her and broke furniture. A restraining order was issued against Chris Benoit.
(From The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

- August 19, 2003: Nancy Benoit files to have the divorce and protection petitions dropped.
(From The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

- 2005: Chris, Nancy, and Daniel Benoit move into their new home in Fayetteville, GA.
(From The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

- 2006: The Albany, NY District Attorney’s Office claims Chris Benoit ordered steroids from MedXLife, a company under investigation of illegal steroid sales.
(From The Associated Press, as reported here)

- March 2007: In the next People Magainze, Benoit sitting by a wrestling ring and the caption of "we're real people outside of the ring," Benoit told a London interviewer last March. He also spoke of "burnout" on the job. "You're on the road so long. Sometimes you just need to step out of it to get refreshed."
(From 7/9/7 People Magazine as reported here)

- April 2007: Two owners of MedXLife, the company the Albany, NY District Attorney’s Office said supplied Chris Benoit with steroids pleaded guilty to drug charges, stating Signature Pharmacy of Orlando filled the orders.
(From The Associated Press, as reported here)

- April 1, 2007: WrestleMania 21 – Jim Ross states, “my wife and I had a long visit with the Benoits and at no time could one detect that there were any issues whatsoever. I even had the occasion to speak at length privately to Nancy and she said things were fine at home. As well as Nancy and I knew each other, if that had not been the case, she would have inferred otherwise I assure you.”
(From Jim Ross 7/28/07 Blog)

- April 10, 2007: Chris Benoit passes a WWE Wellness Policy exam. Vince McMahon says on Today Show that he was unsure though how a legal prescription would play, although other WWE talents have not passed due to liver enzyme levels while on reported prescription medication.
(From WWE.com post, now removed, 7/28 Today Show, and ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- Mid June 2007: CNN reports on 6/26/7 that concerned WWE fans and fans of Chris Benoit called a Georgia News Channel asking about the death of Chris Benoit, but possibly meaning Vince McMahon.
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- June 19, 2007: Wrestles last match on ECW on SciFi, defeating Elijah Burke.
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- Before Friday June 22, 2007: Dr. Phil Astin had prescribed testosterone for Chris Benoit due to low testosterone, possibly due to steroid use. Dr. Astin’s name was also on several of the prescription steroid bottles later found in the Benoit residence.
(From MSNBC)

FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2007:
- Chris Benoit stops by the office of Doctor Phil Astin and his staff where Dr. Astin says “He certainly didn’t show any signs of any distress or rage or anything.”
(From NBC Augusta)

- Nancy Benoit is killed by asphyxiation, possibly by a cord around her neck while being pinned to the floor, held down by a knee to the back.
(From Fayetteville Police Press Conference, ESPN.com, and CNN)

SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2007:

- Daniel Benoit is killed by asphyxiation, possibly using a choke hold, due to there “being no bruise marks on his neck” according to Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard.
(From Fayetteville Police Press Conference & The Associated Press as posted on AccessNorthGA.com)

- 3:30 pm: A WWE employee received a voice message from Benoit stating he overslept and missed his flight. The co-worker called Benoit back who sounded tired and groggy. Benoit stated, “I love you”. The co-worker said it was “out of context.”
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 3:42 pm: The same co-worker, concerned over the conversation, called Benoit a second time. Benoit did not answer and the co-worker left a message stating “just call me back.”
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 3:44 pm: Benoit called the co-worker stating he didn’t answer because he was on the phone with Delta changing his flight. Benoit stated he had a real stressful day due to Nancy and Daniel being sick with food poisoning. They discussed travel plans for the WWE Tour of Texas with Benoit still sounding groggy according to the co-worker.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- Johnny Ace is one of the people to receive a text message from Benoit, according to his brother, Road Warrior Animal.
(From MSNBC's Scarborough Country)

- 4:30 pm: A co-worker who consistently travels with Benoit, calls from outside Houston airport and Benoit answered. Benoit told the co-worker Nancy as throwing up blood and Daniel was also throwing up. Benoit thought they had food poisoning. Benoit stated he changed his flight and would be arriving into Houston at 6:30 pm. Benoit told the co-worker to drive onto the WWE event.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 5:35 pm: Benoit called WWE Talent Relations stating he & Nancy were in the hospital, with their son who was throwing up and would be taking a later flight into Houston, but would make the WWE event in Beaumont, TX.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 6:10 pm: Talent Relations called Benoit asking what time he was getting into Beaumont. Benoit responded he was leaving Atlanta at 9:20 pm Eastern time, arriving to Houston at 9:24 pm Central time. Talent Relations advised it would be too late to make the WWE event. Benoit apologized citing he had a family emergency. Talent Relations suggested Benoit take the flight to Houston, rest up and be ready for the Vengeance Pay-Per-View event.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 6:13 pm: Talent Relations called Benoit to reconfirm the travel plans with no answer from Benoit. The representative from Talent Relations left a voice message to take the flight and rest up.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2007

- 3:53 am: Text messages are sent from Chris Benoit’s cell phone to the same two co-workers he spoke with on Saturday. One stating: My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215 Another stating: The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 3:54 am: Two more text messages are sent from Nancy Benoit’s cell phone to the same two co-workers Chris Benoit spoke with, both stating C.S. My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 3:55 am: Two more text messages are sent from Nancy Benoit’s cell phone to the same two co-workers Chris Benoit spoke with, again stating C, S. My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 3:58 am: Another co-worker is sent a text message from Nancy Benoit’s cell phone stating, My address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- If Text Message timestamps are correct, Chris Benoit is hung by a cord around his neck from his weight equipment attached to approximately 240 lbs. of weights and dies by asphyxiation, despite Coroner’s report listing time of death late Saturday. Early explanation was that the text messages were not received by WWE co-workers until several hours later. District Attorney Scott Ballard added in an interview, “Based on text messaging that he sent, we assume he died between 3 and 4 o’clock…”
(From Fayetteville Police Press Conference, 3 Count Wrestling Show , and The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

- Later that day - WWE made several attempts to contact Benoit via phone and text messages, as well as, the local hospitals in the Atlanta area. As of 11:00 pm Sunday night there was no contact made with Benoit.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- During WWE Vengeance pay-per-view, Chris Benoit is replaced by Johnny Nitro for what Jim Ross calls “personal reasons”
(From The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2007

- 12:01 am: Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia article is edited from a Stanford, CT area IP address to include “Chris Benoit was replaced by [[Johnny Nitro]] for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy.” The same I.P. address also removed a “damaging description of [Chavo] Guerrero” from the article.
(From FoxNews.com, Wikipedia.org, and Atlanta Journal Constituion)

- 12:30 pm: WWE notified of text messages sent to the two co-workers.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 12:45 pm: WWE contacted Fayetteville County Sheriff’s office and requested them to go to Benoit’s residence
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 2:30 pm: Fayetteville County Sheriff’s office enter the Benoit home after a short delay from entering due to two dogs on the property and find the bodies of Nancy, Daniel, and Chris Benoit. Nancy was found upstairs in a family rope, bound, and wrapped in towel. There was also blood under her head, meaning possible signs of a struggle. Daniel was found in an upstairs bedroom. Daniel also had old needle marks in his arm, believed to be from growth hormone. Nancy and Daniel also had a bible placed next to them. Chris is found in the basement weight room with a cord attached to weights from his weight equipment wrapped around his neck. Prescription steroids are found in the home.
(From Fayetteville Police Press Conference, ESPN.com)

A nearly empty bottle of wine is also found near the body of Chris Benoit.
(From People Magazine as reported here)

No painkillers were found in the house.
(From 3 Count Wrestling Show)

- 4:00 pm: WWE received a call from the Fayetteville County Sheriff’s office, advising they entered
Benoit’s home, finding 3 deceased bodies (a male, a female and a child). The Fayetteville Sheriff’s office has secured the house as a “major crime scene” and had no further information.
(From Fayetteville Police Press Conference)

- By 5:00 pm - WWE makes decision to cancel RAW in Corpus Christi, TX and airs three-hour tribute to Chris Benoit and to end “The Death of Mr. McMahon”.
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- 6:00 pm: Nate Stein receives phone call informing him WWE talent was told of the passing of Chris Benoit.
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- 6:09 pm: WWE.com posts the death of Chris Benoit.
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- 8:00 pm: Vince McMahon starts RAW in an empty arena, informing the television audience of the death of Chris Benoit.
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- 9:24 pm: Fayette County Sheriff’s Lt. Tommy Pope reports the deaths were being investigated as homicides.
(From MyFoxAtlanta Fox 5)

- Approx. 10:00 p.m.: Detective Bo Turner reports to MyFoxAtlanta Fox 5 that the investigation is leading them to believe double murder-suicide and their suspect is Chris Benoit.
(From MyFoxAtlanta Fox 5

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2007
- A.M.: WWE removes the Chris Benoit tribute videos and several mentions of Benoit from WWE.com
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- Mid-day: Chris Nowinski contacts Fayette County coroner requesting a brain exam to look for possible sign of brain injury such as from a concussion. He had been “thus far rebuffed”.
(From NY Times)

- 3:15 pm: Fox News carries Press Conference from Fayetteville County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney. Much information was released for the first time, including the official ruling as a “double murder-suicide” from Police Lt. Pope. District Attorney Scott Ballard said he did “not know if steroids played a role” and stated toxicology could take weeks to months. Pieces of what Ballard calls “bizarre” behavior is shared for the first time. No suicide note was found. First official mention of “prescription medications, including steroids” (not specifically stating anabolic or who the prescription was to) at the time being found in the house.
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- Early P.M.: WWE.com posts article stating steroids “were not and could not be related to the cause of death and that the findings indicate “deliberation, not rage.”
(From WWE.com post, now removed)

- Early P.M.: WWE cancels Canadian tour, originally posting “Out of respect for the surviving members of the Benoit family and the city of Edmonton”.
(From WWE.com post, some parts removed)

- Early P.M.: - Early P.M.: American Bank Center states WWE will return to Corpus Christi on July 16
(From American Bank Center, posted here)

- 10:00 pm: Vince McMahon starts ECW on SciFi states, “facts of this horrible tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit's name tonight. On the contrary, tonight's show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world -- entertain you.”
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- 9:30 pm.: Members of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Fayette County Sheriff’s Drug Task Force, & Carroll County Investigators raid Dr. Phil Astin’s Carrollton, GA office, confiscating computers and other evidence. Dr. Astin cooperated and no arrests were made.
(From MyFoxAtlanta Fox 5 and The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

- A.M.: WWE removes all mention of the Benoit Family Tragedy from WWE.com
(From ProWrestlingPress.com Observation)

- A.M.: Vince McMahon Appears on The Today Show
(Can be viewed on MSN)

- A.M.: Linda McMahon Appears on Good Morning America
(Can be viewed on ABCnews.com)

- Early P.M.: Chris Benoit’s father Michael states Chris will have a private funeral service in Canada, while Nancy and Daniel will probably have services near Nancy’s parents, Paul and Maureen Toffolini in Daytona Beach, FL.
(From The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

JULY 22, 2007 – U.S. Congress designated Fragile X day.
(From National Fragile X Foundation)

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