World Wrestling Entertainment has released a timeline and five cryptic text messages related to the Chris Benoit tragedy.
Between 3:53 and 3:58 a.m. Sunday morning, after he’d asphyxiated his wife Nancy and their 7-year-old son Daniel in their Fayetteville, Ga., home, Benoit text messaged coworkers from both his own and Nancy’s cell phones.
One message, sent four separate times, read: “My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane, Fayetteville, Georgia.” Another, sent from Benoit’s cell phone to two co-workers at 3:53 a.m. read: “The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open.”
According to a press release, WWE learned of the messages on Monday, after Benoit hanged himself on Sunday.
In a timeline, the organization said Benoit had contacted WWE on Saturday to inform them his wife and child were ill and he would not be able to attend a WWE live event in Beaumont, Texas. (Nancy was likely killed Friday night and Daniel on Saturday, Fayetteville’s district attorney Scott Ballard has said.)
WWE executives rebooked his flight for the following morning, which would allow him to skip the Beaumont event but still make a pay-per-view event in Houston later Sunday. But staffers were then unable to reach Benoit to confirm the new plans.
According to the timeline, WWE tried to reach Benoit all day Sunday both at home and at Atlanta-area hospitals. At 12:30 p.m. Monday, officials learned of the text messages and immediately contacted the Fayetteville County Sheriff’s office to ask that they check on the Benoit family.
Around 4 p.m., police told WWE they’d entered the Benoit home, found three bodies, and that the house was considered a major crime scene. Shortly afterwards, WWE cancelled the night’s scheduled live event and instead aired a memorial to Benoit. “As facts emerged surrounding the case, all tributes to Chris Benoit were removed both on-air and on WWE.com,” the release says.
The statement concludes: “WWE was stunned and saddened by the details released today by local authorities and is continuing to monitor the ongoing investigation.”