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Deaths of Yorkville father, son ruled murder-suicide

Updated: January 15, 2013 11:19AM

A young boy may have been asleep as his father carried him to the garage of his Yorkville home, started the car and left them both to die of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Kendall County coroner’s jury Thursday ruled the deaths of Joseph Schmitt and his 4-year-old son, Wyland, as a murder-suicide.

The two were found by Yorkville police on Oct. 24, in the garage of Schmitt’s home at 363 Bertram St.

Schmitt and his wife, Kyle Weber, had been going through divorce proceedings and were not living together at the time. Weber called police around 2:40 p.m. that day for a wellness check when her calls to the home went unanswered.

A police officer visited the home, saw no movement inside, and Weber gave him the entry code for the garage door, according to Detective Stacey Mott of the Yorkville Police Department.

“He hit the garage door button and was bombarded with heat and (exhaust) smell,” Mott said.

Schmitt was found on the ground. Wyland was found sitting in a chair, wearing his pajamas. The boy was not restrained, and the vehicle in the garage was out of gas, probably meaning it had been running for some time.

That led police to believe that the boy might have been brought into the garage while he slept in the middle of the night, but there was no way to confirm that suspicion, Mott said.

An autopsy found the cause of death to be carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Coroner Ken Toftoy. The carbon monoxide level in Schmitt’s blood was 41,000 parts per million, and in Wyland’s blood, 30,000 ppm. Carbon monoxide can be lethal at just 1,600 ppm.

“Death was in minutes,” said Toftoy.

He also noted that Schmitt had a blood-alcohol level of about .02, the equivalent of about one alcoholic beverage. Wyland had no other drugs in his system.

Coroner’s jurors also heard Mott read a hand-written note Schmitt left in the house, that discussed the divorce proceedings, relayed his hatred for his wife, and blamed his wife for the deaths.

DuPage County court records show signs of what appeared to be a relatively uncontentious divorce case. Joseph Schmitt filed for divorce from Kyle Ashley Weber Schmitt on Aug. 3, citing irreconcilable differences.

The two had been separated since February 2011, and were scheduled to appear for a hearing, typically the last step in finalizing a divorce, on Aug. 30. However, that hearing date was stricken about a week before it was to occur. The case was next to be in court on Nov. 30, records show.

Jurors deliberated about 10 minutes Thursday before making the murder-suicide finding. No family members attended the hearing.

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