Secret Kung Fu Gang May Have Killed Carradine: Lawyer

A secret kung fu gang may have killed David Carradine as the actor learned more about their underground society, his family lawyer said.

Attorney Mark Geragos said the "Kung Fu" star who was found dead and hanging from a closet with ropes tied around his neck, wrists and genitals in his Bangkok hotel room may have been slain while he tried to expose clandestine martial arts gangs.

Carradine's family is asking the FBI and private forensics experts to help investigate the death, which they refuse to believe was the result of a sadomasochistic act, the lawyer said. 

The family is also "profoundly disturbed" by the publication of forensics photo in a Thai tabloid over the weekend and are threatening legal action.

"They've done it because of the conflicting reports and the nature of those reports that have given the family great pause," said Geragos.

Geragos said investigators should first probe the martial arts underground to find clues in the actor's death. The Hollywood attorney said Carradine took an interest in the martial arts underground during an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" Friday.

"What that means is connected to marital arts and his interest in martial arts," he said. "And there is a suspicion that if there was some foul play, that that may be the first area where they should look."

Carradine's brother Keith met Friday with the FBI and filed reports that could lead to the agency opening its own inquiry, said Geragos, who represents Keith Carradine.

The family will also seek a private autopsy by famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to determine whether another person could have been involved, Geragos said.

The actor's family hopes his body will arrive in Los Angeles by Monday, Geragos said, but he did not give specifics.

Geragos said the family intervened in the investigation because of conflicting information about Carradine's death and a lack of direct information from Thai authorities.

"All we really know is not much more than what the public knows, and that's disturbing," Geragos said.

A photo published on the cover of the tabloid Thai Rath shows a naked body suspended from a closet clothes bar with hands bound above the head and the head and feet on the floor. The paper didn't indicate the source of the image but cops said they believed someone in forensics snapped the photo.

The family is "profoundly disturbed by the release in Thailand of photographs taken at the scene of David Carradine's death," the family said in a statement.

Carradine's body was discovered last Thursday in his luxury suite by a chambermaid at Bangkok's Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel, said its general manager, Aurelio Giraudo. Carradine's family, friends and representatives have said they doubt the 72-year-old actor would have killed himself.

Police initially said Carradine's body was found "naked, hanging in a closet," causing them to suspect he had taken his own life.

On Friday, however, police said the actor may have died from accidental suffocation or heart failure after revealing that he was found with a rope tied around his wrist, neck and genitals — leading to speculation that Carradine may have engaged in a dangerous form of sex play known as auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Meanwhile, The Smoking Gun website reported that Carradine's ex-wife said in divorce papers six years ago that the actor had engaged in "deviant sexual behavior which was potentially deadly." Marina Anderson also accused him of a "incestuous relationship with a very close family member."

Anderson told the New York Post she was "heartbroken but not surprised" but Carradine's death.

"Everybody has their demons -- it's a matter as to what degree," she told the Post.

When asked later about the assassination conspiracy, Anderson said she never knew her ex was involved in a secret society.

"But he did have some big secrets," she said

The results of an autopsy performed Friday in Bangkok were not expected for at least three weeks, said Dr. Nanthana Sirisap, director of Chulalongkorn Hospital's Autopsy Center. Nanthana said that was normal considering the unusual circumstances of the death.

Carradine, a martial arts practitioner himself, was best known for the U.S. TV series "Kung Fu," which aired from 1972-75. He played Kwai Chang Caine, an orphan who was raised by Shaolin monks and fled China for the American West after killing the emperor's nephew in retaliation for the murder of his kung fu master.

Carradine also appeared in more than 100 feature films with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby. He returned to the top in recent years as the title character in Quentin Tarantino's two-part saga "Kill Bill."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us