courtesy of ESPN.com/AP Wire
FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and son were found dead Monday. Authorities told ABC News that the deaths are being investigated as a possible suicide and double homicide.
Lt. Tommy Pope of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department said the three were found at their home about 2:30 p.m.
Pope said autopsies on Benoit, his wife Nancy, and 7-year-old son Daniel were scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday. It could be weeks before there is a result.
Benoit had missed several appointments over the weekend, leading concerned parties to ask police to do a "welfare check," Pope told ABC News. When sheriffs arrived at the home, they found the wrestler, his wife, and their son dead.
Detective Bo Turner told television station WAGA that the case was being treated as a murder-suicide, but said that couldn't be confirmed until evidence was examined by a crime lab.
The station said that investigators believe the 40-year-old Benoit killed Nancy and Daniel over the weekend, then himself on Monday. A neighbor called police, and the bodies were found in three rooms.
According to Pope, there were no signs of gunshot wounds or stabbing. Authorities are not ruling out other causes, such as poisoning, suffocation, or strangulation.
Pope told ABC News "the instruments of death were located on scene," but would not specify what those instruments are or where in the house the bodies were found. Pope added the department is "not actively searching for any suspects outside of the house."
The house is in a secluded neighborhood set back about 60 yards off a gravel road, surrounded by stacked stone wall and a double-iron gate. On Monday night, the house was dark except for a few outside lights. There was a police car in front, along with two uniformed officers.
Benoit, 40, was a former world heavyweight champion, Intercontinental champion and held several tag-team titles over his career.
"WWE extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Benoit family's relatives and loved ones in this time of tragedy," the federation said in a statement on its Web site.
Benoit was scheduled to perform at the "Vengeance" pay-per-view event Sunday night in Houston, but was replaced at the last minute because of what announcer Jim Ross called "personal reasons."
Benoit, a Canadian native, maintained a home in metro Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the defunct World Championship Wrestling.
The WWE canceled its live "Monday Night RAW" card in Corpus Christi, Texas, and USA Network aired a three-hour tribute to Benoit in place of the scheduled wrestling telecast.
"My relationship with Chris has extended many years and I consider him a great friend," Carl DeMarco, the president of WWE Canada, said in a statement. "Chris was always first-class -- warm, friendly, caring and professional -- one of the best in our business."
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