Family: 'Silent victim' of Ore. mall shooting is near death
SELLWOOD, Ore. - A pregnant woman who was not injured during the mass shooting at the Clackamas Town Center last December but who became mysteriously ill afterwards is close to death, according to posts on a Facebook page dedicated to her recovery.
KATU News reached out to Vanessa Ogden's family through Facebook early Friday. A representative for the family said Vanessa was in a Beaverton hospital, "has no brain activity" and would be taken off life support on Friday while surrounded by her family and friends.
Ogden was the manager of a popular kids clothing store at the Clackamas Town Center when a gunman opened fire in the mall on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
She was seven months pregnant at the time. When the shooting started she herded her employees and customers at Justice for Girls into a backroom and kept them safe.
But in the weeks following the shooting, the normally bubbly Vanessa started to withdraw and became tired and quiet. Eventually, she stopped speaking.
Initially, she and her husband Doug thought it was a combination of the pregnancy and maybe the trauma from the shooting. She became known as the "silent victim" of the shooting incident that left three people dead, including the gunman.
But her condition deteriorated and she wound up in the hospital before Christmas. An MRI revealed she had suffered 60 to 70 mini-strokes. She hasn't spoken since Christmas.
Despite her condition, Vanessa gave birth to a daughter, Georgia, on Dec. 27. The couple also have another daughter who is 16 months old.
On Thursday, Valentine's Day, Facebook posts said Vanessa had gone into respiratory arrest and doctors could no longer detect brain activity.
She was breathing only with the help of a respirator. "Our darkest hour is near," the post read. "If ever we needed a miracle, it is now. This will be my last personal communication to you."
It appears the post was authored by her husband Doug but it was not signed.
Just after 1:30 p.m. Thursday, a post by "Geoff" appeared on the page reading:
We had a conference with the doctors and family/close friends. The decision to take Vanessa Off the ventilator is the last decision that needs to be made. We are waiting for more family to get here to say goodbyes. We have consistently had 15 people in the room with V. Lots of tears and lots of hilarious stories being passed around in these final days. Pray for the wisdom to make the hardest decision Doug and his family will ever make. Thank you.
During the shooting at the mall, Doug said Vanessa, who stands just 5 foot 2 inches tall, clung to her usual feistiness.
"Even when SWAT came, she told them that she wouldn't open the door unless they showed identification," Doug previously told KATU. "And the SWAT guy said, 'Well, I can't slide my badge under the door.' So she said, 'OK, I'm going to be the only one coming out but you can't come in.'"
But as time went on, Doug said her feistiness faded.
"Her speech was definitely hindered - considerably, although she was able to say one-word answers: 'Hello,' tell people 'Merry Christmas,' 'Thank you.' That kind of thing," Doug said.
Doug said doctors were not certain if the shooting caused the mini-strokes, but they also haven't ruled it out.
Test were conducted but KATU News has not heard of any results of the tests.