Gatti likely hanged himself — coroner
By BRIAN DALY, QMI Agency
MONTREAL - Canadian boxer Arturo "Thunder" Gatti likely hanged himself at a Brazilian resort in 2009, but the exact cause of death "cannot be determined with certainty," said a coroner.
The inconclusive findings only fuelled suspicions by Gatti's family that the former junior-welterweight champ was murdered in his rented condo in Permanbuco, Brazil.
Coroner Jean Brochu, who followed the Brazilian autopsy with one of his own a month after Gatti's death, reported "no clear evidence of foul play," and evidence that "pointed primarily to hanging."
But he acknowledged his two-year inquest was limited by the fact that Gatti's body was missing part of its brain, heart, stomach and pancreas.
Brochu also criticized the initial Brazilian police investigation, which he said "does not meet the standards we have grown accustomed to here."
The coroner noted that "the scene of death had obviously been altered" before crime-scene photos were taken.
He said two photos "showed an investigator without any protective equipment ... placing evidence in bags."
The suicide theory is vehemently contested by a panel of American experts, hired by Gatti's former manager, who insist the former Montrealer was a homicide victim.
"This guy was never hung," said Chicago private investigator Paul Ciolino, who led the U.S. probe.
"They did an experiment in Brazil with half his body weight and it wouldn't hang for more than three seconds. So how anyone can say this is a hanging is beyond me."
Ciolino said his team travelled to Brazil and interviewed dozens of people, while the coroner provided only a small slice of the picture.
"Listen, these guys cut up bodies and they make a determination," said Ciolino. "They don't do investigations."
Gatti's wife, Amanda Rodrigues, who was in the condo when the former boxer died, was arrested and jailed while Brazilian police investigated.
She was released after medical authorities concluded that Gatti hanged himself. Rodrigues is currently embroiled in a legal fight in Montreal over Gatti's estate after she cut his family out of the will.
Gatti was found dead a few weeks later.
Her lawyer has said the Quebec coroner's report exonerates his client, but the Gatti family has filed a wrongful-death suit against her.
The case might not be heard by a jury for at least two years.