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The mother of one of two State Department employees killed out biking after being struck by trucks in the Washington, D.C., area over the past few weeks described her daughter as a “shining star,” while also revealing that she, unlike the other diplomat in her early 40s killed, did not work in Ukraine.
The revelation comes after the State Department confirmed the deaths of Foreign Service Officers Shawn O’Donnell and Sarah J. Langenkamp in two separate incidents in Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland, respectively.
The department offered condolences without mentioning any further context.
While Langenkamp was a diplomat who formerly worked at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, O’Donnell’s mother, Mary, shared with Fox News that her daughter did not have any experiences as part of her State Department career working in the country invaded months ago by Russian forces.
Mary O’Donnell said she was at her home in Danville, California, last Wednesday morning when two police officers came to her door. As a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard, Mary knew the sight of uniformed officers approaching her home, was not welcome news. She was right.
Her daughter was dead. Shawn celebrated her 40th birthday on July 7 and recently hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mary O’Donnell said. She spoke four languages: Arabic, Turkish, Spanish and English.
After graduating from Cal Berkeley, Shawn went to Egypt for two years to perfect her Arabic. When she returned home, she was recruited by Google. While she enjoyed the work, Mary said that Shawn was a “shining star” who always wanted to make an impact on the world.
She later moved to Washington, D.C., and went to work at the Department of Homeland Security.
In 2019, Shawn became a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department. She traveled the world, most recently serving in Mumbai. Before her death, Shawn was preparing for her next assignment in Istanbul.
Mary told Fox News that while she is aware of the death of Langenkamp, it’s not clear if she and Shawn knew each other. Shawn was not stationed in Ukraine, according to her mother.
The investigation into 42-year-old Langenkamp’s death on Aug. 25 is ongoing and being handled by the Montgomery County Police in Maryland. She was struck by a flatbed truck while biking in Bethesda.
Her husband, Daniel, also served at the Kyiv embassy as a spokesperson.
Meanwhile, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department told Fox News Tuesday that the investigation into Shawn O’Donnell’s death in Northwest D.C. on July 20 is still “open and ongoing.” The 40-year-old woman was struck by a Mack cement truck while riding her bike to work.