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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Father strangles wife and autistic son to death before killing himself

David Joost (center left) strangled his wife Margaret O'Leary-Joost (right) and autistic son Daniel Joost (center right) before killing himself, police say. His daughter, Kathryn Joost (left) is away at college and was not home

A father strangled his wife and autistic son before killing himself in a 'gruesome' murder-suicide, police say.

The bodies of David Joost, 54, Margaret O'Leary-Joost, 55, and Daniel Joost, 18, were found inside their home in Oak Forest, south of Chicago, on Monday night.

A colleague of Mrs O'Leary-Joost found blood seeping under the family's garage door after going to check on her after she called in sick on Friday and failed to show up at work on Monday.

The Joosts' 20-year-old daughter, Kathryn, is away at university and has been informed of her family's deaths by police.

Mrs O'Leary-Joost's co-worker at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago called police, who broke down the door of the home and found the wife and son dead in their beds.

There were ligature marks around both of their throats, Oak Forest Police Chief Gregory Anderson told the Chicago Tribune

Joost was found hanging in the garage with his wrists cut. 

Anderson said the deaths appeared to be a murder-suicide, which he described as 'gruesome'. 

His LinkedIn page suggests he was working at a software company, while also running his own business.

His wife worked as a crisis worker at a hospital, while Daniel Joost was attending a transition program for people with autism.

Kathryn Joost was not at the home as she is studying at Millikin University, in Decatur, Illinois. 'We can't imagine what she's got to be going through,' police chief Anderson said. 

Family photographs posted online by Joost, his wife and his daughter show what appears to be a happy family.

In a touching note on his music and theater blog, Joost wrote of his love for his family. 

'Thanks to Margaret for being the love of my life. Thanks to Kathryn for being the music. Thanks to Daniel for being my little Jesus,' he wrote in July last year.

But the father-of-two appeared to have problems under the surface and had blogged about how a U2 song reminded him of a friend's suicide attempt.

He wrote about how he listened to the song Sleep Like a Baby Tonight 'constantly' while walking his dog, adding that he was 'appalled' young people might think 'that taking one’s own life is the only way out' after hearing the song. 

Joost was a keen musician and had created an alternative soundtrack to the Alfred Hitchcock murder-thriller Psycho.

Neighbors told NBC Chicago that they had not seen any movement at the home since Saturday.

Bill O'Malley, who lived next door to the family, said 'they were nice people, friendly'. 

'You'd just see him, he was always out barbecuing in the summers, in the flowers ... walking the dog,' Mr O’Malley said.

'It's shocking. It’s kind of disturbing, really. You never really know what’s going on behind closed doors, I guess,' he added.

Cook County medical examiner's office will carry out autopsies on the bodies and determine their causes of death. 

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