Teacher's husband charged with murder

September 30, 2010 (ORLAND PARK, Ill.)

Allan Kustok, a stalwart in the Orland Park sports scene who seemingly had it all, is scheduled to appear in court on Friday morning.

His wife, Anita "Jeanie" Kustok, 58, was shot in the head and driven to the hospital by a family member. Police declined to confirm Thursday whether the shooting happened at her Orland Park home in the 10900-block of Royal Oaks Lane, but they say the initial information leads them to believe so. Authorities say Kustok was pronounced dead at Palos Community Hospital.

The Kustoks were the parents of Sarah and Zak Kustok. Sarah was a standout basketball player at DePaul University who has been a sports anchor and reporter at Comcast SportsNet Chicago for almost two years.

In a statement, Comcast SportsNet Chicago said: "We are all deeply saddened by this tragic news. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sarah and her family."

Zak Kustok was a starting quarterback for Northwestern University in the late '90s and was signed by the Chicago Bears in 2004. He was released from his two-year contract shortly thereafter.

Kustok's death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Officials say Anita Kustok was shot in the face.

Police learned about the death from the hospital Wednesday morning. Sources say that police did not buy Kustok's story that his wife took her own life. She was right-handed, but she was killed by a bullet that hit the left side of her face.

Friends Thursday searched for special words to describe Anita Kustok's character.

At Central Elementary School in Riverside, where Anita Kustok taught for seven years, a flag was lowered, and grief counselors were brought in.

"The sorrow we're experiencing with the staff and with the students is just indescribable," said Superintendent John Lamberson of Riverside School Dist. 96.

Colleagues say Kustok started as a substitute, but her warmth and talent quickly led to a full-time job teaching gifted students.

"She was the kind of person your eyes and your ears would be focused on Jeanie because she had a lively style. She was beautiful on the outside. She was beautiful on the inside," said Lamberson.

In a statement, the school principal sent condolences to Kustok's husband and two children.

"Jeanie is a beloved member of our Central family and our prayers and thoughts are with her husband and her two children," the letter from the school said.

"A wonderful, close-knit family. The kids were terrific, real sensitive and nice kids," said former neighbor Lee Marisi.

The Kustok kids grew up a few miles from their current home in a townhouse in a sleepy cul-de-sac. Lee and Gus Marisi lived a few doors down.

"This is an older community, but they moved in here so they could take advantage of the sports advantages at Sandburg. And just the best people. I can't believe this happened. We're shocked," said Marisi.

"They're a very successful family, and we'd like to know what really happened," said neighbor Beth Glavic. "I've heard about the kids. I don't really know them personally, but it's just very sad."

Glavic took her dogs for a morning walk Thursday past the crime tape around her neighbor's home on Royal Oaks, a short quiet dead end street with a few large brick homes.

"The whole neighborhood is shaken up by this situation and didn't sleep a wink last night with all the activity going on here, and it's just too close to home," said Glavic. "All of us were questioned; nobody heard a thing.

"I never met the wife but the husband was always outside and walking the dogs and very friendly, very cordial, keep up their house very nice," Glavic said.

Orland Park Police will discuss the case at a news conference Friday morning.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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