Man's faith tested as wife slips into silence after shooting
SELLWOOD, Ore. - Vanessa Ogden was the manager of a popular kids clothing store at the Clackamas Town Center when a gunman opened fire in the mall that Tuesday, Dec. 11.
She was seven months pregnant at the time, and 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 person started to withdraw and she became really tired and quiet. Eventually, she wouldn't speak at all.
Initially, she and her husband, Doug, thought it was a combination of the pregnancy and maybe the trauma from the shooting. But her condition deteriorated and she wound up in the hospital before Christmas where an MRI revealed she'd had 60 to 70 mini-strokes.
She hasn't spoken since Christmas.
The unwrapped gifts in the Ogden's home say as much about the Christmas they put on hold as they do about Doug Ogden's faith.
"I do have a stack of gifts for Vanessa that I've been saving," he says.
During that tragic day the 5 foot 2 inch woman showed her feistiness.
"Even when SWAT came, she told them that she wouldn't open the door unless they showed identification," Doug says. "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 afterward, that feistiness would fade.
"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 says.
Remarkably, despite her condition, Vanessa gave birth to their daughter, Georgia, on Dec. 27.
"Miracles happen all the time, and people who've seen miracles, they can't deny it, and I've already seen one miracle, and I believe another miracle is possible," Doug says.
So as Doug cares for Georgia, and their 16-month-old Carolina, he waits and hopes. And he prays as he feels his faith tested.
"There's been no greater time in my life where I've had to put my money where my mouth is. I mean, do I believe or don't I? So I do," he says.
Vanessa hasn't shown any progress in two weeks so doctors will be doing a brain biopsy to get some more answers. They can't say for certain if the shooting caused the mini-strokes, but they also haven't ruled it out.
The Ogdens' friends created a Facebook page dedicated to Vanessa and her family during this difficult time. Her husband is posting updates there.