St. Louis Mom & 4 Kids Die in Fire Deemed Murder-Suicide — She ‘Got to an Awful Place’

Pic: KSDK

In a tragic incident in Missouri, authorities have determined that a fire resulting in the death of a mother and her four children was deliberately set by the mother herself. St. Louis County police disclosed that their preliminary findings indicate that Bernadine “Birdie” Pruessner was responsible for the murder-suicide that claimed her life along with her twin 9-year-old daughters, Ivy and Lillie Pruessner, and her younger children, 5-year-old Jackson Spader and 2-year-old Millie Spader, authorities told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and local outlet KTVI.

Sgt. Tracy Panus revealed that the investigation pointed to Pruessner setting a mattress on fire as part of a premeditated plan to end her life and those of her children. A note found at the scene confirmed Pruessner’s intentions, shedding light on the heartbreaking decision that led to the catastrophe. The specifics of the note and further details of the investigation remain confidential at this time.

The fire, which broke out in the early hours of Monday in Ferguson, was so intense that despite neighbors’ valiant efforts to rescue the family, they were unsuccessful. The flames quickly engulfed the home, making it impossible to save the occupants.

Amidst this sorrowful event, it has come to light that Pruessner was entangled in prolonged legal disputes with the fathers of her children. A statement from Pruessner’s relatives conveyed through her attorney Nathan Cohen, portrayed her as a joyful and loving mother whose life was overshadowed by these court battles, ultimately leading her to a moment of despair.

In the aftermath of this devastating event, the fathers of the children issued a joint statement through KSDK-TV, emphasizing their intention to honor the memories of their lost loved ones. They expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support from both acquaintances and strangers alike during this difficult time and acknowledged the continued need for community support as they navigate through this period of mourning.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, texting “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741, or going to 988lifeline.org.

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