A Wikipedia posting about the death of pro wrestler Chris Benoit's wife that preceded the discovery of the Benoit family's bodies has become a major obstacle in the murder-suicide criminal investigation, authorities told ABC News.
"It is unbelievable what a hindrance this has put on our investigation," said Lt. Tommy Pope, a spokesman for the Fayette County, Ga., Sheriff's Department.
"We've got to put a lot of effort and time into working to prove or disprove that someone put up a hoax situation or that somebody was conceiving the death from out of state," Pope said, adding that investigators have been flooded with tips regarding a Web posting that's very likely a bizarre coincidence.
Police have traced the Wikipedia posting and subsequent anonymous confession and apology to an IP address in Connecticut. Pope said local authorities there are working with his department and have seized computer equipment from the person responsible for the postings.
"We know who the person is," Pope said, adding that police wouldn't reveal his or her identity until early next week. By then they hope to have determined whether the person was implicated in what police earlier this week called a double murder-homicide.
If the person had knowledge of the death before police discovered the body, he or she could face criminal charges.
The anonymous Wikipedia poster confessed early this morning to changing the entry for professional wrestler Chris Benoit to mention that his wife was dead -- 14 hours before the police had even discovered the bodies of Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old son, Daniel.
The confession, which was posted on Wikinews, came from the same IP address, traced to Stamford, Conn., from which the eerie posting about the pro wrestler's wife was made, an administrator for Wikinews confirmed. The WWE is based in Stamford.
"I am not connected to WWE or Benoit at all in any way," the poster wrote, describing himself or herself as an "everyday" individual, confirming a Connecticut residency, and claiming that the prescient entry was an unfortunate coincidence.
"I hope this puts an end to this speculation that someone knew about the tragedy before it was discovered," the Wikipedia user wrote.
Wikinews is the user-generated news site that falls under the same nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation as Wikipedia, the user-generated encyclopedia.
ABC News attempted to contact a person identified in a Wikipedia entry about Naugatuck, Conn., that came from the same IP Web address that police are now investigating. That person flatly denied any involvement with the posting related to Benoit and his wife's death.
The original Wikipedia posting that touched off the controversy began at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Monday, June 25.
"Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy," the posting read.
The posting was confirmed to ABC News by Wikipedia spokesman Sandra Ordonez on Thursday. Ordonez said Friday that the company had handed over any information to authorities that might help their investigation, including the IP address.
The company didn't have the name of the poster, but revealed the original posting about Nancy Benoit's death was stripped 47 minutes after it was added to Chris Benoit's entry, Ordonez added.