Murder-Suicide Ruled in Deadly Ferguson House Fire

FERGUSON, Mo. – Authorities have determined that a house fire in Ferguson, Missouri, which resulted in the deaths of a mother and her four children, was a murder-suicide. The St. Louis County Police Department made this determination following their preliminary investigation. It is believed that the mother, Bernadine Pruessner, intentionally set a mattress on fire as the point of origin for the fire. A note was also left, stating Bernadine’s intentions to take her own life and the lives of her children. The tragic incident took place in the early hours of Monday morning, when police responded to the fatal house fire at around 4:23 a.m. in Ferguson.

The victims were identified as Bernadine Pruessner, 39; Ivy Pruessner, 9; Ellie Pruessner, 9; Jackson Spader, 6; and Millie Spader, 2. The family was residing in the 500 block of N. Clay Avenue in Ferguson. The circumstances of the fire, which also claimed the lives of the family’s three dogs, were previously deemed “suspicious,” authorities reported. Jared Spader, the father of Jackson and Millie, released a statement on behalf of himself and David Pruessner, the father of Ellie and Ivy, expressing the deep loss they have suffered and the wonderful qualities of their children, who were the greatest gift any father could ask for.

Ferguson Police Chief Troy Doyle also spoke about the profound impact the incident had on first responders, emphasizing the need for empathy, compassion, and support from the community during such tragic times. He called for unity and support for one another, recognizing the vulnerability that all human beings share. Doyle also expressed the commitment to nurturing an environment where understanding and support are paramount, ensuring that officers are compassionate members of the community who are ready to extend a helping hand. He concluded by providing resources for those who may be considering suicide, encouraging them to reach out for help.

This devastating tragedy serves as a reminder of the unseen battles that some individuals are fighting, and the critical need for empathy and support from the community. It highlights the importance of coming together in unity and offering compassion to those in need during the darkest times.