Carradine Body Photos Show Fishnet, Wig

Body arrives in Los Angeles and investigators investigate foul play in death.

June 9, 2009, 5:29 PM

June 10, 2009— -- As the remains of actor David Carradine arrive in Los Angeles this week, a grainy photo of his limp body in a Bangkok hotel room -- in what appears to fishnet and a wig -- raises more questions about his mysterious death.

The photo, which was printed in the tabloid Thai Rath, shows Carradine's body suspended from a bar in a closet.

Police said he was found with his hands bound together above his head and rope around his neck and genitals. Nearby on a bed is what appears to be red women's lingerie.

Transvestite fetishes and thrill-seeking can be an integral part of auto-erotic asphyxia, the deadly sex play that Thai authorities said killed the 72-year-old former "Kung Fu" actor.

But these new details also add fuel to the Carradine family's claims that the actor may have been the victim of a homicide. His body was found hanging by ropes in a closet on June 4 in a Bangkok hotel.

And while Thai authorities have ruled the actor's June 4 death as a sex play accident -- auto-erotic asphyxia gone wrong, some say the evidence just doesn't add up.

"The thing that I am really questioning is, how was he bound, and how was he able to tie his own hands?" said Robert Dunlap, who has interviewed hundreds of people who practice deviant sex behaviors for his 2002 documentary film, "Beyond Vanilla: An Unforgettable Journey Into the Wilder Side of Sex."

"This doesn't look like a solo act at all," he told "In order to have an orgasm, his hands would have had to be free. There is something very peculiar about this."

"You don't dress just for yourself," he said of the photos that revealed women's clothing. "Usually there is some sort of show and someone else is involved. It probably went horribly bad and they left."

Carradine's manager Chuck Binder has publicly echoed his own concerns.

"How do you get a rope around your neck and around your genitals and do all this by yourself?" he asked. "My take is there was definitely foul-play. There's a lot of weird stuff that happens in Bangkok. This isn't L.A. or New York."

With funeral plans still on hold, the family has hired renowned New York forensic expert Dr. Michael Baden, who flew to Los Angeles Monday to conduct a new investigation. Funeral plans have yet to be announced.

"If this act was for pleasure, I can tell from the ligature," Baden told columnist Cyndy Adams. "Some cloth would've hidden the rope mark around his neck so that it wouldn't show next day. I'll have to see the photos before they cut him down."

Mark Geragos, attorney for the actor's half-brother, Keith Carradine, even suggested on last week's "Larry King Live," that a Kung Fu secret society could be to blame.

But Carradine's fourth wife, Marina Anderson, told the New York Post, "If he was involved in secret societies, it was a secret that even I didn't know about. But he did have some big secrets."

Those secrets, according to at least two of Carradine's four ex-wives, included a passion for deadly sex play.

His third wife, Gail Jensen, told RadarOnline that he liked to tie himself up, had a fetish for Speedos and often experimented with nearly drowning himself in the pool.

In another interview with TMZ, Jensen says that Carradine had hung himself up in the basement in a crucifix position, mimicking Jesus Christ, while a party was going on upstairs.

"David was pretty strange," she said. "He would like to get tied up. He would tie himself up and I would walk in and see him and say, 'Oh my God, David, you got to be kidding me -- and I would (turn around and) walk out. I would leave him to his own devices."

Jensen, who was divorced from Carradine in 1997, added, "He liked to be tied up. And he could tie himself up ... He spent days planning a different feature. He would go to a hardware store and buy the stuff."

"It was never sexual," she said, noting that Carradine liked bondage but never choked himself.

His fourth wife, Marina Anderson, told that her claims in her 2003 divorce papers that he practiced "deviant" and "dangerous" sex behavior, including incest, were true.

Carradine had been married five times and has five daughters and two sons.

But according to Dr. Martin Kafka, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., all that has been reported on Carradine's body is consistent with auto-erotic asphyxia.

"[It] is often associated with sexual masochism - sexual arousal to bondage/restraints, pain and humiliation, such as bound hands and testicles, and transvestic fetishism, such as women's clothing and undergarments and dildoes if they were present," said Kafka.

As for how one reaches orgasm with hands tied behind the back, he noted that anoxia -- severe oxygen deprivation -- alone can be associated with orgasm.

But, added, who has nothing to do with the Carradine investigation, "I do not know if that is fact or fiction."

Cross-Dressing Linked

According to forensic psychiatrist Stephen Hucker of the University of Toronto, auto-erotic asphyxia is also associated with mood disorders, and in 60 percent of the cases, patients had previously made attempts to take their lives.

Though Carradine's ex-wife Anderson said he was "always happy when he was working," he reportedly suffered from bouts of depression and had written about suicide.

He also abused alcohol, according to Anderson, who was credited with sobering up the actor for the role in "Kill Bill."

Even though the family has said Carradine was happy at the time of his death, working on the movie "Stretch," experts say many who practice this deadly sex act have other mental issues.

Admiring the act itself is also hallmarks of the deadly practice.

"Sometimes a mirror will have been placed strategically near the body to allow the subject to view himself as he performs his ritual or a camera may have been set up so that the person may photograph or videotape himself," according to Hucker. "Others will create an entire environment that relates to some special fantasy and may involve, for example, the creation of a torture chamber or other obviously sadomasochistic theme."

Besides mirrors, sexual paraphernalia can include self-photography, bondage, hoods, blindfolds, enemas, electrical stimulation and beating of self or by a partner.

Because auto-erotic asphyxia is so "heavily stigmatized, by its very nature practitioners lead a hidden life," said Kafka.

"That [Carradine] had a substance abuse problem or had suicidal thoughts is not all that surprising," he told "That would make sense."

Even after the investigation of Carradine's death is complete, it still may be difficult to determine if it was an accident, a suicide or even a murder.

"It's hard to know their intention because we can't ask them," Kafka said.