Casualties, Murder-Suicides

Father Strangles Autistic Son and Wife in Oak Forest Murder-Suicide

OAK FOREST, IL — A father distraught over finances after losing his job killed his wife and their 18-year-old autistic son before taking his own life in their Oak Forest home at 6609 Courtney Drive.

Police said Tuesday that David Joost, 54, is believed to have strangled his wife Margaret O’Leary Joost, 55, and their son Daniel in their beds, in the house they’d shared for more than 16 years, then killed himself in the garage.

Police responded to the house Monday evening after Margaret Joost did not show up for her job as a crisis worker at Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn Friday and Monday. A coworker who went to the family home to check on Margaret called police after spotting what she believed to be blood coming from the overhead garage door.

Officers forced entry into the home, where they discovered mother and son dead in their respective bedrooms, with indications they were strangled. David Joost was found in the garage, dead by apparent suicide. He cut his wrists and hanged himself, police said. It appeared the car had been left running and ran out of gas.

Police said no suicide note was found at the scene.

A 20-year-old daughter was away at college in Decatur.

“We can’t imagine what she has got to be going through,” Police Chief Greg Anderson said.

David Joost recently started his own business, House of David, providing pop/rock music from the 1960s to present day. Prior to that, he worked in sales and marketing for 30 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Police said he had recently lost a job in Orland Park. He lists a position as general manager of a software company as his most recent work. In recent years, he tried his hand at managing local performers.

Joost also was a singer and musician who played local gigs and sang at Zion Lutheran Church in Tinley Park.

David Joost’s Facebook page in recent months featured posts about his music, religious pictures and loving photographs of his wife and children.

“I know I sound like a dork (but I don’t care) … my wife … is so beautiful,” reads one, posted July 2015, with a strip of photo-booth pictures of David and Margaret before they were married. He jokes: “This is when I was duping her into falling in love with me. I guess it worked (24 years later). Best sales job ever. I should win a prize (I did).”

Pastor Rev. David Peters recalled Joost as a “happy person” who freely and passionately contributed his talents to the community.”I’m very happy to share what a lot of people appreciated about Dave, which was the passion and the praise he brought with the music he shared,” Peters said. “Whether it was singing with ensemble, or a solo piece, you always knew David did nothing without offering his heart in the middle of it.”

Joost was often seen sitting alongside his wife and children in the pews—though not in a designated spot, Peters said, they were nearly a constant. Joost was the picture of family pride. He swelled with it when daughter Kathryn, 20, returned from Millikin University in Decatur, engaging her with all those he knew in the church.

He was also involved in activities for son Daniel, who was autistic and attended a nearby transition program through the South West Cooperative.

“Dave was a happy person to help facilitate whatever was taking place, not just for Daniel, but for others in the group,” Peters said, “… which almost makes this all the more confusing and disturbing. Someone doing so much positive, it doesn’t make sense.

“It really gives you pause, and changes your perspective, short and long term.”

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