An 11-year-old girl, known only as Lulu, emerged as the sole survivor in a tragic incident where her mentally ill father, Salvatore Ragusa, allegedly set their Wallingford home ablaze, resulting in the loss of her mother and two younger siblings. In a courageous bid to escape the engulfing flames, Lulu jumped from a second-floor window, sustaining only minor injuries. She then sought assistance from her neighbors.
Salvatore Ragusa, aged 48 and afflicted by schizophrenia, tragically took his own life. Subsequent investigations by authorities revealed the lifeless bodies of Lulu’s mother, Lana Stewart, as well as her 7-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister inside the home, which had been barricaded shut.
Additionally, the family dog, Rosie, was discovered lifeless at the scene.
According to findings from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, Lana Stewart succumbed to multiple sharp-force injuries, while her two children tragically lost their lives due to smoke-related injuries. All three fatalities have been officially classified as homicides.
The police have chosen not to disclose the specific relationship between Ragusa and the family. However, according to reports from the Seattle Times, neighbors identified them as a couple who resided together.
Stewart’s sister revealed that Ragusa had been battling schizophrenia, which had led to the family enduring a cycle of deceit, manipulation, uncertainty, and forced isolation. Approximately 19 months ago, Ragusa successfully completed a court-mandated mental health program, as reported by KIRO 7.
In a February 2022 appearance in mental health court, Ragusa was quoted as saying, “Yeah, family means everything to me. And, yeah. We need to be kind to one another.”
Additionally, three years prior to the recent incident, Ragusa had set fire to another home where Stewart had been living, according to KIRO 7. When Seattle Police arrived at that scene, Ragusa was found standing on the roof with a rope around his neck, threatening to jump.
Relatives of Stewart have mentioned that despite Ragusa’s mental illness, the mother of three had made efforts to keep the family together. Prior to his health problems, Ragusa was reportedly a loving father, as reported by KIRO 7.
Lulu’s aunt, Adrea Stewart-Sloniker, has initiated a GoFundMe campaign for her niece, whom she describes as “brave.” To date, the campaign has raised over $61,000. Stewart-Sloniker shared, “Lulu has always been known as a talkative & loving girl who always put her family first. As she got older and became more aware of her situation, she often took on a protective but nurturing role. Therefore I’m not all surprised she jumped out a window with a 16 foot drop to help others survive. She thought she was going back to save her brother & sister after calling for help.”