updated 5/14/2009 2:19:37 PM ET 2009-05-14T18:19:37

Police have accused the adult son of a national mattress retailer of murdering his mother in their Long Island home.

A family employee found Kay Barragan, 65, at the bottom of a stairway inside her Searingtown home when he came to work Wednesday morning, a statement from 1800mattress.com said. She was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The medical examiner will determine what caused her death.

Nassau County police charged 38-year-old Eduardo Barragan with second-degree murder on Wednesday afternoon. Police say he argued with his mother the night before she was killed.

Barragan was credited with lending her husband, Napoleon Barragan, $2,000 earned from selling Avon products in Queens to start Dial-A-Mattress in 1976. She had also worked for the company in its early years.

1-800-Mattres was famous in the New York metro area for its ads with the popular slogan "leave off the last S for savings."

The privately held company, based in the Long Island City section of Queens, has had annual sales of more than $100 million. It was renamed 1800mattress.com in 1996 to reflect its growth online.

In March, the company filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn. A number of creditors including mattress retailer Sleepy's have expressed interest in bidding on the company's assets. The court has set a May 28 auction date.

"Obviously, for the family it's a terrible tragedy," said company spokesman Stan Steinreich. He recalled Kay Barragan as proud of the company she helped found and "very supportive of her family, especially her four children, that was very important to her."

Family tragedies
The spokesman had no comment on Eduardo Barragan's arrest but said he "had been treated for a number of mental illnesses over the years."

The Barragans had been married more than 40 years but had been living apart. Kay Barragan and her son had lived in Searingtown, on Long Island; Barragan lives in Queens, Steinreich said. He did not say how long the couple had lived apart.

Barragan was born on Dec. 5, 1943, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and emigrated with her husband to New York City from Bogota, Colombia, in 1969.

In addition to Barragan's husband and son, survivors include a daughter, Kay Otilia Massel, of Santa Rosa, Ca., and 12 grandchildren.

The family has also endured the tragic deaths of 34-year-old Luis Barragan, president and CEO of 1800mattress.com, in a 2006 swimming accident, and 27-year-old Beatrice Barragan, who died of an illness in 2003.

Funeral plans were not immediately available.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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