True Crime Author Shanna Hogan Dead at 38 After Pool Accident in Front of Infant Son

Bestselling true crime author Shanna Hogan was found unconscious in her pool and died in the hospital days later at 38 years old.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 09, 2020 5:15 PMTags
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Shanna Hogan's life has come to a tragic end. 

The New York Times bestselling true crime author has died following a pool accident at her Phoenix home on Aug. 27. She was 38 years old. The writer had been swimming with her infant son, Zander, when she slipped and hit her head, her friend Kathleen Mayer confirmed to People. Hogan was unconscious in the water when her longtime husband, Matt LaRussa, returned home and found her. Their son was found outside of the pool in a life vest.  

LaRussa performed CPR on Hogan before she was taken by paramedics to a local hospital, according to the report. She remained in critical condition until her death days later on Sept. 1. Her heart, liver and kidneys were given to four others to save their lives, her rep told E! News. "I wanted as much of her in this world as possible," LaRussa said in a statement, "and I can someday meet the recipients."

The new mom was the author of four true crime books, including her 2013 New York Times bestseller, Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story. She was also an award-winning journalist, having been named the Arizona Press Club's 2009 Virg Hill Journalist of the Year. 

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Her literary agent, Sharlene Martin, called Shanna "a brilliant writer." 

"She had many fans and was also called upon often as a consultant for television news programs regarding the crimes she wrote about," Martin said in a statement. "At the time of her death she was working on the adaptation of her book, Secrets of a Marine's Wife, which was optioned by Sony Television and Lifetime. Shanna was prolific and always looking toward her next project and was a dream client of mine as well as a friend. I will miss her terribly. Her book, The Stranger She Loved, was also optioned by Sony TV and Shanna had just turned in her outline for adaptation two days before her fatal accident. It was a stellar piece of writing and the last correspondence I had with her." 

Mayer started a GoFundMe fundraiser in honor of Hogan, which has since raised $19,434 of its $100,000 goal. 

"Wife, mother, friend and talented author Shanna Hogan lost her life tragically in August after a fall and accidental drowning at her Phoenix home," she described her friend for the fundraiser. "She received extensive medical treatments in ICU to attempt to save her life, but her brain suffered too much damage and we lost this wonderful woman."


Speaking of Hogan's husband and only child, Mayer wrote, "She leaves behind a 15-month-old son, who was the light of her life, and her husband of nearly 20 years, Matt LaRussa. This fundraiser will raise money to pay for the family's extensive medical bills, memorial costs and to support Zander as he grows up without a mother."

Mayer reflected on the beloved author, telling donors, "Shanna was always there for her family, friends, co-workers and readers with her warm smile and support. Now is our time to step up and be there for her family. Please help us in any way you can to reach our goal. If you are not in a position to donate at this time, please share this with everyone you know. We will never forget the mark Shanna left on our lives and on this world."