A suburban Chicago father killed his wife and teenage son with autism before taking his own life inside their family home over the weekend, according to police.
Oak Forest police were told Margaret O’Leary Joost called in sick Friday to Advocate Christ Hospital, where she was a crisis worker, and didn’t show up again Monday.
A concerned co-worker went to the family's home on the 6600 block of Courtney Avenue and saw what appeared to be blood seeping out from the garage door, police said.
Authorities responded to the home around 8 p.m., forced their way inside and discovered what Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson described to be a "gruesome scene."
The 55-year-old O'Leary and her 18-year-old son, Daniel Joost, were found dead lying in bed in their respective rooms, police said. Both victims had marks around their necks indicating they may have been strangled.
Authorities believe they were killed by father and husband David Joost, who was found hanging in the home’s garage with slit wrists. A car in the garage had also been left running, according to police.
The family is survived by a 20-year-old daughter, who was away at Millikin University in Decatur at the time of the deaths.
"We can't imagine what she has got to be going through," Anderson said.
Neighbors said they hadn’t seen any activity at the home since Saturday. Preliminary investigation found the double homicide and suicide was likely carried out late Friday or early Saturday, according to police. There was not a suicide note left at the scene or any calls to the home in the past, police said.
The deaths were a stunning, sad realization for others in the Oak Forest neighborhood like Bill O'Malley, who has lived next door to the family for years.
"They were nice people, friendly," O'Malley said. "The first people I met when I moved in."
Investigators said David Joost recently lost his job and was struggling financially.
"There was no indication there was anything going on at the home," Anderson said. "No domestic violence, nothing along those types of calls."
The son, Daniel Joost, was autistic and attended a nearby transition program through the South West Cooperative, police said.
"You'd just see him, he was always out barbecuing in the summers, in the flowers ... walking the dog," 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."
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office will conduct autopsies and will determine the official cause and manner of deaths.