Authorities are still looking at whether drugs played a role in the murders

By Tim Nudd
July 16, 2007 11:50 AM

As friends and family gathered in Florida this weekend to mourn Chris Benoit’s wife Nancy and 7-year-old son Daniel, questions remained as to what caused the professional wrestler to kill his family and then himself – specifically, whether steroids played a role in the tragedy.

Benoit asphyxiated his wife and son in their Atlanta-area home three weeks ago, then hanged himself.

On Saturday, a memorial for Nancy and Daniel was held at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., where Nancy Benoit’s parents live, the Associated Press reports.

Mourners included some of Chris Benoit’s wrestling colleagues. World Wrestling Entertainment announcer Jim Ross, who is known as J.R., called the deaths “a real tragedy.”

He also contends that family issues, not steroids, are likely to blame – even though anabolic steroids were found in the Benoits’ home, and Chris Benoit’s personal physician has been arrested on drug charges. Dr. Phil Astin III remains under house arrest.

“It’s not a steroid issue. It’s a domestic issue,” Ross said. “There’s a lot of other criteria that has to be involved in it. I still can’t believe it even happened.”

He added: “More than anything, it’s a tragedy because a mother and a little boy are dead, and that’s the bottom line.”

Results of toxicology tests on Chris Benoit and his wife and son are still pending.

Nancy Benoit, 43, a wrestling stage manager, “was always exuberant and fun to be around,” Ross said at the service. “Always laughing, had a great sense of humor. You know, was one of the guys. Had great timing in the ring, was a beautiful lady.”

Private services for Chris Benoit, 40, were reportedly to be held in Canada. It is unclear whether they have yet taken place.

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