A girl, 11, is the only survivor from a Seattle home fire which killed her mother, two of her siblings, and their father. Police say the father barricaded his family in the house and started the fire.
Lulu Ragusa was able to escape by running and jumping out of a window, according to her aunt’s post on GoFundMe.
Adrea Sloniker wrote that the girl “always put family first”. She also “took a nurturing but protective role” towards her siblings. “I’m not surprised that she jumped from a 16-foot window to save others. She thought she was going back to save her brother & sister after calling for help.”
But her siblings, 4-month-old Valentina Ragusa and Sebastiano “Seby” Ragusa, 7, died alongside their mother, Lana Stewart, 40, and Rosie, the family’s dog, inside their home in the Wallingford neighborhood on Saturday.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Stewart died from “multiple blunt force injuries”, while her children were killed by smoke inhalation. Three deaths were ruled as homicides.
Salvatore Ragusa died from smoke inhalation as well, but it was determined that his death was suicide.
As of Friday afternoon, the GoFundMe Campaign had raised $41,981. The money will be used to pay for Lulu’s education and recovery. She will be adopted.
Sloniker claimed that her sister and children suffered abuse from their father who is mentally ill for years.
She wrote on Facebook that “over the years I knew Sal, he changed from a loving dad to someone nobody would have imagined.” “What started as a gradual mental spiral suddenly became out of control, before Sal consented to receive professional help again.”
Salvatore was paranoid, and Sloniker claimed that he suffered from schizophrenia. He believed he was being watched, as well as that his family’s phone had been wiretapped.
The statement states that “Lana and the kids have endured lies, manipulating, uncertainty, and forced isolation” at times. It also says that Lana has often been able to calm Salvatore’s delusions but at a high emotional cost. Lana was aware that she needed to leave Salvatore, but had not yet “gathered the courage”, her sister wrote.
Salvatore, who was arrested in 2019, is accused of setting Lana’s apartment on fire and threatening himself.
Lana, a mother of three children, is seen holding her baby in her arms while her older kids play with Rosie in a recent family photograph.
Sloniker, who lost her sister to a car accident, said that one of her favorite things was being a mom.
Lulu and Sebastiano shared a special relationship. Sebastiano “loved laughing and being goofy.”
She wrote: “His rambunctious spirit will be greatly missed, especially by Lulu who was happiest by his side.” “Baby Valentina has been a shining light since the beginning.”
She wrote that Lulu enjoyed making her little sister laugh and taught her to crawl.
Lulu’s aunt said that despite the loss to her family, Lulu would thrive.
She wrote: “We want everyone to know that, even though this situation was tragic, Lulu can and will live her life fully.”