True-crime author Shanna Hogan has passed away after a freak pool accident. The New York Times bestselling author, who was best known for writing the book "Picture Perfect" about convicted killer Jodi Arias, was drowning in front of her son.
According to her friend former colleague Kathleen "Katie" Mayer who set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of Shanna's family, the late journalist was swimming with her 14-month-old son Zander at her Phoenix home on August 27 when she slipped and hit her head.
When her husband of nearly 20 years, Matt LaRussa, arrived shortly after the accident, he found his son safely outside the pool in his life vest, but his wife unconscious and submerged in the pool. He performed CPR until paramedics arrived and rushed her to a local hospital, where she remained in the ICU in critical condition for several days.
Katie tells PEOPLE that "friends, family and colleagues prayed around the clock for Shanna to pull through," but "her brain suffered too much damage and we lost this wonderful woman" on September 1. She was 38. Her family decided to donate her organs, which Katie says have already gone to save the lives of four people and possibly more in the future.
"At a time where human kindness is so desperately needed, we've lost one of the people who gave that to our world, but Shanna's writing will live on, the lives she saved will live on and her greatest creation – her little boy – will live on to inspire all of us," Katie states.
Katie says she created the GoFundMe page to help cover her medical bills as well as support her family as her son grows up without his mother. "This fund raiser 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," she explains. The campaign has raised more than $20,000 of its goal of $100,000.
In a Facebook post dated Friday, September 4, Shanna's husband Matt remembered her as an "amazing wife" and "best friend to me and thousands." He added, "I would give anything in the world to have her back and hold her for ever, but that was not our story. I am so thankful for the 20 years. And have so many memories that I will never forget and be sure to teach our son who Shanna was nd to be a great man. I will never forget her."