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4-year-old found dead in garage with father nearby

The home 363 Bertram Yorkville where 35-year-old man his 4-year-old swere found dead Wednesday. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

The home at 363 Bertram in Yorkville where a 35-year-old man and his 4-year-old son were found dead on Wednesday. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 28, 2012 6:13AM

Law enforcement workers often see tragedy, but the scene they found in west suburban Yorkville this week still hit them hard.

Two lawn chairs set up in a closed garage. A father on the floor near an empty chair. His 4-year-old son still sitting in the other chair. Both dead, with carbon monoxide poisoning likely a contributing factor.

“I’ve done this 20 years and I can’t get this out my mind,” said Kendall County Coroner Ken Toftoy.

“Seeing that little guy sitting in the chair in his pajamas. . . . I had tears in my eyes when I was picking him up.”

With tests pending, Toftoy said he could not label the deaths of Joseph Schmitt, 35, and Wyland Schmitt, 4, a murder-suicide. But Yorkville Police Chief Rich Hart said that police are not looking for any suspects and there is no danger to the public.

Both father and son appeared to have breathed in a significant amount of carbon monoxide. Neither had signs of trauma. They were found Wednesday in the garage of the two-story, single-family home where Joseph Schmitt lived in the 300 block of Bertram Drive. Police were sent there to do a well-being check.

Sources said Schmitt’s car was parked in the closed garage where the bodies were found. The car was no longer running when police arrived.

According to DuPage County court records, Schmitt’s wife, Kyle Weber, had filed for divorce in August. The couple was scheduled to be in court at the end of November.

Neighbors said Joseph Schmitt and his wife were separated and she no longer lived in the house. Wyland would visit his father often, neighbors said.

Hart said police had no previous contacts at the house. He declined to comment further because of the ongoing investigation.

Toftoy said the carbon monoxide levels were clearly high enough to cause death. Blood and urine samples were sent to the state crime lab to determine if there were signs of any drugs in either body.

“We just need to know,” Toftoy said. “It’s part of the legal process.” Family members could not be reached for comment.

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