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Drug agents and sheriff's officials raid the office of Benoit doctor
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By Harry R. Weber

ATLANTA - Federal drug agents and sheriff's officials raided the office of pro wrestler Chris Benoit's personal physician in search of records and other items listed in a warrant, an official said Thursday.

The raid at Dr. Phil Astin's office in Carrollton, in West Georgia, began Wednesday night and concluded early Thursday morning, said agent Chuvalo Truesdell, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Atlanta.

Truesdell said a search warrant obtained by the Fayette County Sheriff's Department in connection with the Benoit investigation was executed there.

He said records and other items were being sought, but he said he could not immediately be more specific. Truesdell also was unable to say what was seized. No arrests were made.

Among other things, investigators were looking for Benoit's medical records to see if he had been prescribed steroids and, if so, whether that prescription was appropriate, according to a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because records in the case remain sealed.

Astin did not return repeated calls to his cell phone from The Associated Press on Thursday.

Benoit had been under the care of Astin, a longtime friend, for treatment of low testosterone levels. Astin said Wednesday the condition likely originated from previous steroid use.

Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit in the past but would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office on Friday.

Over the weekend, authorities said, Benoit killed his wife and son and then killed himself at their home in Fayetteville.

Anabolic steroids were found in Benoit's home, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the slayings. Some experts believe steroids cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage."

Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard issued a statement Thursday saying he could not comment on the raid at Astin's office, but added that he might have something to say later in the day.

Also Thursday, Ballard told the AP that 10 empty beer cans were found in a trash can in the Benoit home. An empty wine bottle was found a few feet from where Benoit hanged himself, Ballard said.

It could take several weeks for toxicology tests to be completed on Benoit to see what medications, if any, were in his system.

A "closed" sign hung on the front door of Astin's office Thursday. On the side door was another sign saying, "Our office is closed until further notice and Dr. Astin cannot be reached for comment."

Several patients who arrived for Thursday appointments left disappointed.

One of them, Amanda League of Carrollton said she knew nothing about Astin's connection to Benoit or about the search.

"Oh my goodness, I don't know what to think," League said. "He's always been a great doctor to me. Very nice. The staff is nice. There's great treatment here."

While Jason was there, two or three patients stopped by who had appointments. They were turned away by someone inside the building. Woman in scrubs came to the side door.

In the days before the killings, Benoit and his wife argued over whether he should stay home more to take care of their mentally retarded 7-year-old son, according to an attorney for the WWE wrestling league.

The child suffered from a rare medical condition called Fragile X Syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation often accompanied by autism.

Over the past weekend, authorities said, Benoit strangled his wife, suffocated his son and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with a weight-machine cable in the couple's suburban home. No motive was offered for the killings, which were discovered Monday.

The WWE attorney, Jerry McDevitt, said Thursday that a motive remains elusive because Benoit did not leave a lot of clues to his state of mind as far as the league knows. He did say that Benoit requested and received four months off from work in 2006 for undisclosed personal reasons.

"He was feeling depressed, that kind of thing," McDevitt said.

Ballard said Thursday that while investigators continue to search for a motive, at this time they could only speculate.

"I don't think there will ever be a motive that will satisfy me for killing a 7-year-old child," Ballard said.