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Landis’s father-in-law found dead

  • By VeloNews.com
  • Published Aug. 16, 2006

By The Associated Press

Floyd Landis’s father-in-law was found dead in his car after committing suicide, coroner’s officials said Wednesday.

The body of 57-year-old David Witt was discovered at a parking garage Tuesday afternoon, said Paul Parker, an investigator with the San Diego County Medical Examiner. He had a gunshot wound to the head, and the death was ruled a suicide, Parker said.

“The Landises are devastated by the news of David’s death,” family spokesman Michael Henson told The Associated Press. “They loved him dearly, and they miss him.”

Witt was the stepfather of Landis’s wife, Amber Basile.

Landis’s close friend, Dwight van Slyke, said he did not believe the recent doping allegations against the cyclist directly led to the suicide.

“It could have been a few percentages of the whole maybe, or just another negative thing that he was depressed over,” said van Slyke, adding Witt had also been struggling under the strain of opening a new restaurant earlier this year.

An avid amateur cyclist, Witt met Landis through a mutual coach in 1998, and at one point the two shared an apartment in San Diego, Henson said. It was Witt who introduced Landis to his future wife, and he also has been credited with introducing Landis, a former mountain biker, to the world of road racing.

Witt and Landis served as best man at each other’s weddings, Henson said. Witt married Amber’s mother Rose, a schoolteacher, a short time after the younger couple married in 2000.

Landis, who lives in Murrieta, has been under investigation by cycling authorities after testing positive for high levels of testosterone last month. The Tour de France has said it no longer considers Landis its champion.

Funeral arrangements for Witt were pending.

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