Carradine's Family Speaks Out for First Time Since Death

Family doc says Carradine may have been the victim of a crime.

ByABC News
June 9, 2009, 5:29 PM

June 11, 2009— -- A forensics expert hired by the family of actor David Carradine said that he does not believe the "Kung Fu" star committed suicide and that more information from Thai authorities is needed before a cause of death is determined.

"The autopsy findings and the evidence thus far available demonstrate that Mr. Carradine's death was not the result of suicide," said a statement by Dr. Michael Baden that was read today to reporters in Los Angeles by David Zutler of Zutler Special Services.

"However, to reach a final determination as to the cause and the manner of death we must wait for further information from Thailand as to the scene findings and the completion of the crime laboratory and toxicology studies that are still being performed," said Baden in the statement.

The language of Baden's conclusion did not rule out contentions by Carradine's family that he may have been the victim of a crime.

Carradine's brothers, Keith and Robert Carradine, also read prepared statements, marking the first time the actor's family members have spoken out since Carradine's body was found hanging in a Bangkok hotel room closet June 4.

Keith Carradine called his brother's death a "devastating loss" for his family and thanked fans for their "compassion."

Robert Carradine added, "Until we have all of the pending results of the investigation we respectfully ask that we be allowed to lay our beloved brother, husband and father, grandfather and great-grandfather to rest in peace and with dignity.

"Once the investigation is fully completed and definitive conclusions have been reached, we will address the findings with the public," Robert Carradine added. "Thank you for your understanding during this profoundly painful time."

When the remains of Carradine arrived in Los Angeles earlier this week, a grainy photo of his limp body in a Bangkok hotel room -- in what appears to be fishnet and a wig -- raised 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 June 4 in a Bangkok hotel.

And while Thai authorities have ruled the actor's 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 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 hired Baden, a renowned New York forensic expert, 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.

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

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