The test results are in and the suspicions confirmed: Chris Benoit had steroids in his system when he murdered his wife and child and then took his own life.
The anxiously awaited toxicology findings on the wrestler and his family were announced Tuesday by Dr. Kris Sperry, chief medical examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
While the only steroid found in Benoit's was testosterone, the levels were elevated enough to indicate he was injecting it shortly before he died, Sperry said. But he cautioned that the results do not indicate the kind of abuse that may have triggered so-called 'roid rage.
"There's no way to know how this could’ve affected Chris’ behavior," Sperry told reporters at a press conference. "With respect to testosterone...There is nothing conclusive that could be said."
Sperry cited conflicting data from studies regarding how elevated levels of testosterone might contribute to altered behavior. He also noted that Benoit might have been taking testosterone just as easily for "testicular deficiency."
Benoit's personal physician, Dr. Phil Astin, has been charged with improperly prescribing drugs to patients other than the former wrestling champ. Astin, who has pleaded not guilty, came under scrutiny from federal officials after admitting to prescribing testosterone to Benoit.
The World Wrestling Entertainment has tried to downplay the steroid angle since the murder-suicide and has previously stated that Benoit tested clean for steroids as well as testosterone as recently as April. On Tuesday, the company pointed out that the toxicology results came up negative for anabolic steroids, but acknowledged that one of its biggest draws had been taking testosterone.
"It would appear that Mr. Benoit took testosterone sometime after his April 2007 test and the time he died. WWE understands that his dealings with Dr. Astin are currently being investigated, and WWE has no knowledge of whether Dr. Astin prescribed testosterone for Mr. Benoit at some point after the April 2007 tests," the company said in a statement.
The WWE also noted that it had launched an initiative last year shows to test its entertainers. "We believe our wellness program is at the very least comparable to those of professional sports and is a program that will benefit WWE Superstars for generations to come," the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the coroner said "highly elevated levels" of the prescription drug Xanax were discovered in the body of Benoit's seven-year-old son, Daniel.
"There’s clear evidence to me that Daniel Benoit was sedated at the time he was killed," added Sperry. "That's an unusual finding."
Sperry also said the child appeared normal and that it was impossible to conduct any kind of genetic test to determine whether Daniel suffered from fragile X syndrome. A WWE official claimed the boy required growth hormones for the disorder—something vociferously denied by surviving family. The coroner also said that there wasn't any urine available to determine whether growth hormones were in Daniel's system.
Three prescription drugs were also found in the body of Nancy Benoit: hydrocodone, hydormorphone and Xanax, but all were at "therapeutic levels" and were likely prescribed for orthopedic ailments.
Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard said the investigation will remain "ongoing" to determine why the 40-year-old pro grappler strangled his 43-year-old wife to death in their suburban Atlanta home, and then smothered his son the next day before hanging himself.
A memorial service for Nancy and Daniel Benoit was held Saturday in Daytona Beach, Florida.