Today’s news:

Son accused of killing LIC mattress king’s wife

The wife of the founder of Long Island City’s 1−800−Mattress was found murdered in her Long Island home last week and her son is suspected of the crime, Nassau County police said.

Kay Barragan, 65, wife of Napoleon Barragan, was found dead in her Searingtown, L.I., home shortly after 7 a.m., Nassau police said. A release put out by the mattress company said Kay Barragan was found by a family employee who called 911 after finding her lying at the bottom of a flight of stairs.

Police arrested 38−year−old Eduardo Barragan, who lived with his mother, on suspicion of second−degree murder.

Eduardo Barragan had a history of mental illness and was being evaluated at a nearby health facility, the mattress company said.

His father, an Ecuadorian immigrant, founded the company as Dial−A−Mattress in Jamaica in 1976 with a $2,000 contribution from Kay Barragan’s Avon products business, the company said. She also handled clerical duties for the mattress company for the first few years, the company said.

“Napoleon had always credited Kay not only for her encouragement, but also for the money she gave him to start the business,” 1−800−Mattress Chief Operating Officer of National Sales Joe Vicens said in a statement. “She was a dedicated and committed member of our founding team.”

It is not the first loss the family has faced. Their daughter, Beatrice, died from illness in 2003 and their other son, Luis, who had taken over operations at the mattress company, drowned in a swimming accident at Twin Lakes in Salisbury, Conn., in 2006.

The news dealt another blow to the weakened mattress company, which was worth as much as $170 million in 2006. In March, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to federal court papers.

Napoleon Barragan, who now lives in Middle Village, was awarded the Ecuadorian National Order Award of Merit, the country’s highest civilian honor, in 2007 for his success in business and establishing a foundation to help organizations that provide health screening and on−site surgery for children with special needs in Latin American countries.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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