A tragic scene unfolded late last month that left Shanna Hogan, the New York Times bestselling true-crime author dead at the age of 38. Hogan was at her Phoenix home on Aug. 27 with her 1-year-old son, Zander, swimming in their pool when she slipped and banged her head, submerging underwater before being discovered by her husband, Matt LaRussa. Their child was not in the pool at the time.
LaRussa, who had been married to Hogan for 19 years, attempted CPR on his unconscious wife. The paramedics transported her to the local hospital. There, she remained for a few days in ICU before all attempts at saving her failed. She passed away on Sept. 1. Her friend, Katie Mayer set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of her family. As of this writing, more than $17,000 have poured in. She set the goal at $100,000.
On the GoFundMe page, Mayer called Hogan a “mother, friend and talented author.” She said her son was "the light of her life" and that she hopes the funds raised can "support Zander as he grows up without his mother." In the call-for-action, Mayer explains that Hogan was "always there for her family, friends, co-workers and readers with her warm smile and support." As donations continue to come in, many have left touching comments for her family. One in particular, which was left by a friend of hers named Liz Whale, called her a "bright light" and that her love for her family “will never fade.” Another supporter, Scott Lehman, knows that her "kind spirit" will live on through her son.
at the end of the semester she gave every student a reporter's notebook with a detailed, personal message. pic.twitter.com/m0FxMyx5tK— Bailey O'Carroll (@baileyocarroll) September 3, 2020
Some of Hogan’s more well-known novels include Dancing with Death, Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story and the Stranger She Loved. She also taught at her alma, Arizona State, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. On Twitter, the school’s account shared the news of her passing. "While an adjunct professor at Cronkite, Shanna made a lasting impact on our students," the post read. "She was, and continues to be, an inspiration to all of #CronkiteNation." Many of her past students shared tributes to their former professor on social media, including one tweet that thanking her for teaching her "the importance of believing in myself" and changing her life. She was named the Arizona Press Club Journalist of the Year in 2010.