Highland Park Businessman's Autopsy Report Reveals Sleeping Aid

Man attacked wife in their home before fatally stabbing himself

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Saturday, Aug 25, 2012  |  Updated 1:24 AM CDT
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Police say traces of zolpidem, which is used to treat insomnia, were found in the system of a Highland Park man who tried to stab his sleeping wife before fatally stabbing himself.

Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News

Police say traces of zolpidem, which is used to treat insomnia, were found in the system of a Highland Park man who tried to stab his sleeping wife before fatally stabbing himself.

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Prayer Service to be Held Thursday

A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday for the family and congregation affected by the stabbing in a Highland Park home.

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Friends who knew a Highland Park man who attacked his wife and then fatally stabbed himself say they are shocked by the attack.
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Highland Park police say traces of a drug used to treat insomnia were found in the bloodstream of a successful Dallas businessman who tried to stab his sleeping wife before fatally stabbing himself last month.

The autopsy report from the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office shows that 50-year-old John "Rod" Steele had .05 milligrams of zolpidem in his system.

In the aftermath of Steele’s July 11 death, friends and neighbors told NBC 5 he was taking prescription pills because he had trouble sleeping.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, zolpidem, which is sold under several different names, is used in adults for short-term treatment of insomnia. Possible serious side effects can include “more outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts or actions.”

Steele's family had a note on the door of their Highland Park home asking for privacy.

Steele had no prior history of violence. He taught Sunday school and Bible study at Highland Park United Methodist Church.

The husband and father of two also sat on the boards of two Dallas area banks.

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