Highland Park, News

Double homicide suspected after bodies found at scene of Highland Park house fire

Multiple gunshot wounds killed both men found at the scene of a house fire in Highland Park Wednesday morning, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office

The coroner identified the deceased as Marc Austwick 63, of Lake Forest, and John Austwick, 60, of Mundelein, who are brothers according to the obituary of their mother, Phyllis Austwick.

A homicide investigation is ongoing; however, authorities believe the incident is isolated and “there is no known threat to the community,” according to the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

“Based on what investigators have learned thus far, they believe the offender knew who he was targeting,” said Christopher Covelli, spokesperson for the task force.

Responding to a report of a fire, emergency units found the two bodies at approximately 4 a.m. Wednesday outside of a burning home at 1726 Park Avenue West in Highland Park.

According to property records, the house at 1726 Park Avenue West was most recently home to the Austwick family, specifically Phyllis Austwick and her youngest son, Jeff Austwick. Phyllis Austwick, 84, died on Friday, May 31, according to her obit, which also says she had five children.

It is unclear if anyone lived in the home as of Wednesday.

A home in the 1700 block of Park Avenue West following a fire in the early hours of June 5.

An investigation in conjunction with the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force is ongoing.

Highland Park fire and police units received a call at 3:50 a.m. reporting the fire and responded along with units from Glencoe, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods, Lake Forest, Deerfield, Northbrook and more nearby communities.

As crews engaged the blaze, firefighters entered the home through windows and did not locate any other individuals inside.

Park Avenue West was closed between Ridge and Sunnyside while the investigation continued.

Stay tuned to TheRecordNorthShore.org as this story develops.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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