Investigators said a handyman found Mrs. Barragan lying at the bottom of a flight of steps shortly after 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday. She was pronounced dead a short time later.
Her son, Eduardo Barragan, has a history of mental problems, police said. He was taken to a local hospital for observation. He was later charged with second degree murder.
Mrs. Barragan played an instrumental role in the start of the company. She lent her husband $2,000 from her earnings from a small Avon products business to start Dial-A-Mattress in 1976, which was then renamed 1800mattress.com in 1996. In the early years, she also worked in the business handling clerical/administrative matters for the company.
"Napoleon had always credited Kay not only for her encouragement, but also for the money she gave him to start the business," said 1800mattress.com Chief Operating Officer of National Sales Joe Vicens, who worked with her as well in those early years. "She was a dedicated and committed member of our founding team."
Kay Barragan was born on December 5, 1943 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She and Napoleon were married more than 40 years. The couple has two surviving children, Eduardo of Searingtown, NY and Kay Otilia Massel of Santa Rosa, CA. and 12 grandchildren. In 2003 their daughter Beatrice died as a result of illness, and in 2006 their son Luis died in a swimming accident.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS