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While Madonna Badger copes with an unbearable loss, autopsy results for her three children and parents identify how they perished when flames engulfed her Connecticut home Dec. 25.
The state medical examiner said Wednesday, via The Stamford Advocate, that Badger’s daughters, Lily, 10, and twins Sarah and Grace, 7, and her mother, Pauline Johnson, 69, died from smoke inhalation. Her father, Lomer Johnson, 71, succumbed to blunt trauma to the head and neck after falling from the roof when he tried to save one of his granddaughters.
According to the New York Daily News, the funeral for the girls will be held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on the Upper East Side Jan. 3. They will also be waked at the same location.
The girls’ father, Matthew Badger, was in divorce proceedings from the fashion advertising executive before the tragic fire; his brother, Campbell Badger, told the New York Times that the funeral “has to be done right.” The Johnsons, meanwhile, will be buried in Newfoundland, Canada, where they met while he served in the U.S. Air Force.
Fire marshals ruled out foul play and pinned the cause of the blaze on still-smoldering embers that had been removed from the fireplace and placed outside the $1.7 million Victorian home on Long Island Sound; according to reports, contractor Michael Borcino, who is now being described as Badger’s boyfriend and had been staying at the house, put the embers into a bag around 3 a.m. and placed it in either the house’s mud room, or against its exterior wall.
The house, which had been undergoing renovations and did not have working smoke detectors, was razed to the ground Monday after being labeled a safety hazard.
Badger, who masterminded the Marky Mark underwear campaign for Calvin Klein, among other iconic ads, has received an outpouring of support from Facebook community groups and friends in the fashion industry. In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, her friend Michelle Kessler-Sanders, executive vp and creative director of the Vera Wang Group, called Badger the “strongest woman I’ve ever known in my life.”
“I don’t even know how to describe to you how this is for me,” Kessler-Sanders said. “For all her friends, it’s almost inconceivable. But she has an amazing network of friends who have all shown up. That first day after the fire, we were all together. … You can’t possibly say anything to comfort a person in this time. You just have to be there and sit with her. Be there so she knows she’s not alone. She is being cared for by the right people, close friends. She is not alone.”
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