October 5, 2010
Rene Ogden seemed lonely and depressed to a Facebook friend who corresponded with the mother of two who was found dead Monday along with her twin teenagers in the family's Colorado Springs home.
Brad Ake, who lives in Cedar Park, Texas, said he met Ogden on the social networking site early this year, and they often played online games like Farmville, Vampire Wars or Café World.
The two developed a deep friendship, eventually spending hours online talking about a common issue: children with developmental disabilities and birth complications.
Ake's daughter died soon after birth from severe birth defects caused by a rare disorder; Ogden’s son, Chase, had autism.
“It gave us a common bond there we could relate to,” Ake said. “I just kind of encouraged her that she’s always there for her children. Her children have to come first.”
Ogden came across as “a very, very sweet, nice lady,” Ake said. She also seemed depressed about her home life, complaining that her husband did not appreciate her.
“She was very sad most of the time,” Ake said. “Whenever I talked to her, chatted to her, it always seemed like she was depressed.”
Ake said he has not corresponded with Ogden for the past month and a half.
Investigators made no arrests Tuesday in the deaths of 38-year-old Rene Ogden and Chase and Olivia Ogden, both 13, and have not said whether all three were homicide victims or if murder-suicide is suspected.
Their bodies, bearing signs of "obvious trauma," police said, were found by Ogden's husband, Tommy, around 3:30 p.m. Monday at the family's rented home in the 1900 block of Essex Lane near Constitution Avenue and Academy Boulevard.
Tommy Ogden, who served in Iraq with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment while stationed at Fort Carson, was questioned by police and released, an officer said Tuesday.
The officer, who did not want to be identified, said there was no sign of a break-in at the home.
Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Noblitt would not say if Tommy Ogden, who now works for Ace Hardware, according to his Facebook page, is a suspect in the deaths.
An autopsy to determine the causes of their deaths could be done Wednesday.
If the El Paso County coroner rules the deaths homicides, it would bring the number of homicides in the city this year to 22.
At the Colorado Springs District 11 school the children attended, Galileo School of Math and Science on Union Boulevard, Principal Robin Colbert held a meeting Tuesday morning before school started to inform teachers about the deaths.
There was also a short assembly in which students were told that counselors were on hand if they needed them. They did not tell the students the names of the kids involved.
"There has been an unfortunate incident and you may have heard things in the media. If you would like to talk to a counselor, they are available," Elaine Naleski, District 11 spokeswoman, said students were told.
Neighbors described the family as quiet and Rene Ogden as reclusive, spending much of her time inside her house at 1941 Essex Lane. Some people living just a few houses away said they would not be able to recognize her if shown a picture.
“The wife — we’ve never seen her outside,” said Lisa Komer, a nearby resident.
Rene Ogden spent much of her time inside on Facebook, according to several of the people she met on the site.
A Reunion.com posting bearing her name said she graduated from Vidor High School in Vidor, Texas, and married Tom Ogden in July 1996 in Hawaii. They called the state home for two more years before the couple moved to Colorado Springs while her husband was in the Army.
Gazette writers Carlyn Mitchell and Carol McGraw contributed to this report.