Coroner IDs Highland Park man
Updated: November 20, 2012 11:31AM
The Lake County coroner has confirmed that the body found in a burned out Highland Park house last month was that of restaurateur Giacomo Ruggirello.
The 61-year-old died in a fire at his home, 1788 Midland Ave., on Sept. 24. Firefighters responded just before 1 a.m. to his home and found it engulfed in flames, which damaged a neighboring house as well.
Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey said Tuesday that Ruggirello’s cause of death was not yet being released because he still awaited reports from the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Neighbors had said the homeowner was Giacomo Ruggirello, owner of the popular Trattoria Giacomo Restaurant in Highwood, which he opened in 1998.
He was found early on a Monday morning and that also is the day that the restaurant is usually closed. Police put police tape around the restaurant during their investigation.
Highland Park Police Deputy Chief George Pfutzenreuter said authorities could not comment on the investigation, which includes the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office. But they were “exploring all avenues,” he said when asked about the restaurant police tape.
He did not return a telephone call Tuesdy. The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force also was called in to investigate.
In a 1998 interview in the Lake County News-Sun, Ruggirello said he came to the U.S. from Palermo, Italy, where his family operated a pastry shop and café. He worked in a bakery in Cicero, several Chicago restaurants and for a 12-year stint in New Orleans. Then he moved north to open his own restaurant.~.