Sandra “Sandy” Duyst was shot and killed by her husband, David Duyst Sr., a respectable member of the community. The Michigan man tried to make the murder look like a suicide, and it almost worked. On Wednesday’s Grave Secrets, investigators believe that a wife’s death was from a self-inflicted gunshot wound until a note buried deep in the family’s home reveal that it was murder. Grave Secrets’ episode dealing with the Sandy and David Duyst case is “Beyond the Grave.” Expect a recreation of events and interviews with relatives and police detectives.
Woman Commits Suicide or Did She?
David Duyst made a frantic call to 911 in March of 2000. He told dispatchers that his wife had shot herself in the head at their home. By the time his wife reached the hospital, she was already dead.
The victim was 40-year-old Sandra Anne Bos Duyst, affectionately known as Sandy. When detectives originally arrived, they found Sandy Duyst in a pool of blood. There was also a gun nearby.
A picture of the home can be seen here.
David Duyst told cops that his wife had been suffering from depression. He said that he was jolted when he heard a gunshot and ran to the bedroom to discover that his wife had shot herself. According to Duyst, the specks of blood found on his shirt happened after Sandy coughed.
The cops believed him. However that changed after an autopsy report concluded that she had two holes in her head and that there was no way this was a suicide. A person doesn’t try to shoot themselves twice.
A check into the couple’s background indicated that there were many problems in the marriage. Aside from Sandy Duyst’s depression, the couple was not sleeping together any more. But there was something more stunning. David Duyst was carrying on an office fair with his secretary Linda Ryan. And Linda Ryan had given David Duyst an ultimatum: He needed to end it with his wife.
Authorities now believed that David decided to end it permanently. In addition to the blood found on his shirt and the autopsy report confirming that this was a homicide, there was one more eerie piece to the puzzle.
Sandy Duyst had left her sister a note that she kept hidden in her china cabinet. When she died, her sister directed police to it. And there it was, buried deep inside the cabinet, a white envelope with shocking details inside.
The insurance salesman had tried to kill her the year before. Everyone believed that Sandy was kicked in the head by one of her horses. The note directly accused her husband, David, of beating her with a hammer or an ax.
The note from the grave also added one last detail that police needed. It said that if she was dead, David had done it. Once police gathered all of the evidence and authenticated the note, David Duyst was arrested and charged with murder.
Despite his lucrative career in insurance sales, prosecutors alleged that David Duyst was heavily in debt. They also uncovered a life insurance policy worth $500,000 that would pay out even in the event of Sandy’s suicide. With Sandy dead, there would be no alimony payments, no loss of his home, and he’d get his mistress to boot.
A jury found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison. It’s a shocking and twisted case, indeed. But one question remains.
How could Sandy have stayed with the same man who tried to kill her once before?
Those who knew her believe that Sandy Duyst was so in love with her husband that she didn’t want to part with him. Others speculate that the family life was so appealing to her that she just wanted to make it work for sake of family and possibly to save face.
The first attempt on her life hurt Sandy to the core, both physically and emotionally. And the affair, which everyone at the insurance office knew about, would have hurt her even more.
In the end, it turned out exactly how she suspected it would. And if she hadn’t left the note, David would have likely gotten away with murder.
Watch this very sad case this Wednesday, December 7 at 9/8 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. Another Grave Secrets episode covered the story of Jamie Laiaddee.
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