Former Calgary Stampeder Mike Labinjo's death has been ruled as "suspicious" by Calgary Police on Monday. Labinjo was found dead in his home on Sept. 21, 2018, with the cause of death not immediately known at the time. Police did not believe his death was criminal in nature.
However, Calgary Police said they received new information as family members reported many of Labinjo's personal belongings were missing from his home. The police department conducted a theft investigation which concluded that numerous items and sports memorabilia were stolen from his home immediately following his death.
Among the items stolen from Labinjo's home were two championship rings with his name inscribed on them — one from the Philadelphia Eagles's 2005 NFC Championship victory and the other from his 2008 Grey Cup win with the Stampeders. Police said the rings have not been recovered and there are four suspects believed to be involved with the crime.
"We are asking for the public's help to identify four suspects believed to be responsible for the theft of the stolen items and notify us of their current whereabouts," Calgary Police said in a statement. "Investigators believe that these individuals may also have knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Labinjo's death."
Labinjo's family is also asking for the public's assistance.
"He was a gentle soul, hard-working, kind young man who knows how to put a smile on anyone’s face if they’re not having a good day. That is who Michael was," says Mike Labinjo’s mother Margaret.
"Michael, you did not deserve to die this way." pic.twitter.com/yLkfw1vVdH
— Sammy Hudes (@SammyHudes) May 11, 2020
He was 38 years old at the time of his death, having played four seasons with the Stampeders following a three-year NFL career. In the CFL, he totaled 61 tackles, six sacks and two fumble recoveries, helping the Stampeders win the 2008 Grey Cup.
Labinjo played a total of 10 NFL games with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts and was a third-round pick by Calgary in the 2003 CFL Draft.