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HIGHLIGHTS OF BENOIT FAMILY TOXICOLOGY PRESS CONFERENCE

By Mike Johnson on 2007-07-17 15:14:34

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the State's Chief Medical Examiner held a press conference this afternoon to disclose the results of the toxicology tests done on the bodies of Chris, Nancy and Daniel Benoit. Highlights from the conference:

-Fayetteville Georgia District Attorney Scott Ballard stated that the investigation into the Benoit tragedy is still ongoing and as they continued to investigate, all aspects still lead them to believe it was a murder-suicide. He said that one aspect of the investigation is the toxicology reports. He thanked the G.B.I and their crime lab for all the investigation assistance. Ballard said they wouldn't answer questions regarding the crime scene and aspects of the investigation until they could discuss the entire investigation accurately.

-Ballard turned it over to the GBI's Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kris Sperry.

-Sperry said that with Nancy Benoit had three drugs in her system - Hydrocodone (a prescribed pain reliever - Vicodin is considered Hydrocodone), Hydromorphone (which the body creates when Hydrocodone is broken down in the body) and Xanax. All of the drugs were at a therapeutic level, not a toxic level. Sperry said that the levels they found could have been affected by the decomposition of her body and that they may have been higher levels before she died. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.184, which could be clearly due to the decomposing of her body.

-Daniel Benoit's blood was positive for Xanax. Sperry noted that Xanax was not a drug that would be given to a child under normal circumstances, so their belief is that Daniel was sedated at the time of his murder.

-Chris Benoit's blood was positive for Hydrocodone and Xanax, both at levels within therapeutic range for normal usage of the drugs, not toxic or elevated usage.

-Chris Benoit's urine was tested for the presence of steroids and the "only steroid drug that we found was testosterone, which was measured at the level of 207 micrograms per liter." He said that the level of led them to ascertain that Benoit had been using testosterone "at least in some reasonable period before the time that he died."

-There were no other "steroids or artificial steroid-like drugs that were found in his urine."

-There was no evidence of GHB in Nancy, Chris or Daniel Benoit.

-When asked about the testosterone level, Sperry said that they test urine to see what the levels were. They said the ratio of Testosterone to Epitestosterone was an indicator that he had been using it, "but how much, how often and for how long is something that cannot be answered through this."

-When asked if the drug tests would shed any light on what happened that night in the Benoit home, Sperry said, "No, I would not say that they do. These results give answers as far as drug and medication usage. They do show that Daniel Benoit was sedated at the time he was murdered. beyond that, I don't think they reveal anything at all, other than the fact that Chris Benoit had been using at least testosterone for some period of time."

-Daniel Benoit did not die of a drug overdose of Xanax based on the autopsy findings, which they did not discuss due to the ongoing investigation. There was never any indication that it was an overdose death.

-When asked about how the combination of drugs in Benoit's system may have affected his behavior, Sperry said there was no way to tell that at all. He said that the level of drugs in Chris Benoit's system were at therapeutic level for someone with pain and being prescribed them. Sperry said there are thousands of people walking around with the same levels in their system. Benoit wasn't at a toxic or overdose level.

-In regard to whether testosterone creates mental disorders and outbursts of range, there are "conflicting data" as to whether that can be the case and "I think that's an unanswerable question." He said he was relying on the scientific date, which states that no one really knows.

-Chris Benoit's abnormal range of ratio of Testosterone to Epitestosterone (10 times the normal range) shows Chris Benoit was injecting it but couldn't prove that led to changes in his behavior. When asked why, Sperry said the scientific data when individuals are given these drugs under monitored conditions, the ratio does not translate to something abnormal in that person's thought process or behavior.

-When asked about needle marks found on Daniel Benoit's body and what the needle marks were from, Sperry said that they were not able to find what they were from. He said that they appeared to be needle marks, but they did not have enough urine specimen from Daniel to analyze for HGH or other growth hormones.

-Sperry said there was nothing on Daniel Benoit's body that led Sperry to believe Benoit had been using needles for long periods of time. "I would say at this point and time that will never be known."

-The levels of the drugs in Nancy Benoit's body were therapeutic, not at an extremely elevated or toxic range. Sperry did note that the decomposition of the body could lead to the levels being lower than they were at the time of death. He said that he knew that she had orthopedic surgeries in the past and wouldn't be shocked to see she was taking the drugs for pain and muscle spasms.

-When asked if anything stands out as significant. Sperry said the Xanax in Daniel Benoit's blood was surprising. He said that beyond the testosterone, there was no finding of any other illegal type or anabolic steroids that are out there to be used. He said that the presence of the Testosterone could be an indication Benoit was being treated for testicular insufficiency [Note from Mike: Dr. Phil Astin had claimed shortly after the Benoit family was found that he was treating Benoit with Testosterone replacement therapy].

-When asked about the Fragile X rumors of Daniel Benoit, Sperry said that it was impossible to perform that type of chromosome analysis post-mortem.

-When asked if he was given results of WWE's drug testing of Chris Benoit, Sperry said he hasn't seen the results and only knows about that from what he's seen on the news. He said he has no knowledge of what WWE tested for or what they look for.

-Ballard was asked how the results help the investigation. Ballard said they are trying to decipher what happened in the home and this part of the investigation will help them put a complete picture in focus with other aspects of their investigation.

-When asked about Daniel Benoit being sedated, Ballard said, "I could speculate but I'm not going to."

-Ballard said that the level of cooperation in the investigation (including from WWE) has been good, but noted there has been "help" (obviously said in a sarcastic way) from some with theories and emails that they have gotten that they do look into, but find it hasn't helped the investigation.

-Ballard declined to comment on what direction the investigation would take at this point. He said you want to try and re-create the who, what, why but he suspects many of the answers they may never learn.

-Sperry said that the testing only gives the examiners a "snapshot" of what was in Benoit's body in the period before he died. He said that they found no evidence of any other drugs that would be used for bodybuilding purposes. He said that neither he nor anyone else can tell what Benoit used in the past.

-Sperry said the most common usage of Testosterone injections would be to treat testicular inefficiency and there are thousands of men who use injections for the same reasons.

-When asked about the effect of the drugs on Benoit's mental state, Sperry again pointed out that there is no scientific data that supports those theories.

-Nancy Benoit's blood alcohol level would be legally drunk, although there's no way of saying how that factored into the deaths. It was also noted the alcohol level could have changed with the decomposition of the body.

-Nancy Benoit's body had decomposed much more than Daniel or Chris, so she was murdered first.

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