Homicides of Lana A. Stewart, Sebastino Ragusa, and Valentina Ragusa in Wallingford Fire

By | September 6, 2023

The deaths of a 40-year-old woman and two children in a burned rental house in Wallingford have been ruled as homicides by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. The victims died from sharp-force injuries, asphyxia from toxic fumes, and smoke inhalation. The deaths are being investigated as an arson-homicide, with no outstanding suspects. These deaths bring the number of confirmed homicides in Seattle this year to 48, with two additional shooting deaths reported recently. The city is now only three killings away from surpassing last year’s total. The Seattle Times reported

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Tragic Incident in Wallingford: Woman and Two Children Found Dead in Burned House

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has officially declared the deaths of a 40-year-old woman and two young children as homicides. The devastating incident took place on Saturday in Wallingford, where their lifeless bodies were discovered amidst the charred remains of a rental house.

Lana A. Stewart, the 40-year-old woman, succumbed to multiple sharp-force injuries. Sebastino Ragusa, a 7-year-old boy, tragically died due to asphyxia caused by inhaling toxic products of combustion. The youngest victim, 4-month-old Valentina Ragusa, lost her life due to smoke inhalation, according to the medical examiner’s report.

A day prior to this heart-wrenching discovery, the medical examiner revealed the identity of a man found inside the house. Salvatore Ragusa, 48, was determined to have died by suicide.

Though the exact relationship between Salvatore Ragusa and the three victims has not been disclosed by the police, they were seemingly a family. Neighbors have referred to Salvatore Ragusa and Lana A. Stewart as a couple who resided in the house with their children.

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The horrifying incident unfolded just before 9 a.m. on Saturday when an 11-year-old girl managed to escape through a window and seek refuge at a neighbor’s house. The neighbor promptly dialed 911 to report the tragedy unfolding inside the engulfed residence.

Efforts were made by the Seattle Police Department to enter the premises, but they were met with a barricaded door from the inside. Firefighters valiantly battled the intense blaze for 45 minutes before discovering the bodies of two adults, two children, and a dog.

Arson-Homicide Investigation Underway

The deaths are now being investigated as an arson-homicide, with the Seattle Police Department treating the incident as a deliberate act. An SPD spokesperson confirmed that investigators are not actively pursuing any outstanding suspects. Collaborating with the Seattle Fire Department, the SPD Arson & Bomb squad is diligently working to determine the origin of the fire.

Unsettling Rise in Homicide Cases

This tragic event marks the 46th, 47th, and 48th confirmed homicides investigated by the Seattle police this year, based on preliminary data compiled by The Seattle Times. The numbers highlight a concerning trend of escalating violence within the city.

Unfortunately, the grim tally climbed further on Sunday when two men were fatally shot in separate incidents. The victims, identified as Abdurahman Haji, 38, and Bret Aaron Bunnell, 56, lost their lives in NewHolly and North Seattle, respectively.

Abdurahman Haji succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds, while Bret Aaron Bunnell’s cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the torso, as revealed by the medical examiner’s report.

These recent shooting deaths bring the total number of homicides in Seattle to 50 for the year, inching closer to surpassing last year’s grim record. The city’s 2022 total stands only three killings away, as documented in The Seattle Times’ comprehensive database.

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