Police: Inverness father poisons children, killing son, critically injuring daughter

  • Inverness police say a father fatally poisoned his 10-year-old son and critically injured his 6-year-old daughter while also taking his own life at this home over the weekend. The children's mother found them Sunday afternoon, police said.

      Inverness police say a father fatally poisoned his 10-year-old son and critically injured his 6-year-old daughter while also taking his own life at this home over the weekend. The children's mother found them Sunday afternoon, police said. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/12/2022 8:53 PM

A 10-year-old Inverness boy is dead and his 6-year-old sister is in critical condition after their father poisoned them with carbon monoxide, killing himself in the process, police said.

Inverness Police Chief Bob Haas said officers were called to the family's home just after 4:20 p.m. Sunday for a well-being check.

 

The mother of the children had gone to the home after their father had not returned them from a scheduled weekend visit, Haas said. Inside she found the three unconscious, he said.

The father and son were pronounced dead at the scene, but the girl, identified as Jeslyn on a fundraising page, was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where she is in intensive care, Haas said.

The Cook County medical examiner's office identified the father as 41-year-old Woo Chang and the boy as Austin Chang. Autopsies were conducted Monday, but official determinations of the causes of death are pending further investigation.

Haas said investigators found a gasoline-powered generator inside the home that was turned on but had shut off after running out of fuel.

Investigators said the mother had last been in contact with her children the night before.

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Police had never been called to the home before Sunday's investigation, Haas said.

"It's a very sad circumstance, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family," he said.

Neighbor Renata Dyrda described the family as normal and nice, and said Woo Chang was very friendly.

"I was very surprised to hear this," she said. "10 years old. I can't imagine."

The house was dark Monday, while a pickup truck sat parked in the driveway. In the backyard were remnants of normal family life: patio furniture, a slide and a child's toy.

A Gofundme page by "Friends of the Changs" was set up to "help cover burial costs and medical expenses as well as provide financial support for Chelsie (Austin and Jeslyn's mother) and Jeslyn."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Thank you for the outpouring of love and concern," said a message on the web page. "Please continue to keep the Chang family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Palatine Township Elementary District 15 confirmed Monday that Austin was a student at Frank C. Whiteley Elementary School in Hoffman Estates.

"The district is simply heartsick, and in both shock and mourning over the tragic loss of one of our students," a statement from the district reads. "Our efforts right now are focused on offering support to staff and students at Frank C. Whiteley where the student attended school. It goes without saying that this is a devastating loss for all of us here in District 15, especially as we look to the remainder of the school year where the child's absence will be felt by classmates and staff."

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