Updated: Former Northwestern student Jaqueline Mahoney found dead in Oregon

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

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Former Northwestern student Jaqueline Mahoney was found dead in Tigard, Ore., on Monday, Tigard police said.

Mahoney, 23, was found in the Tigard Embassy Suites hotel, said Tigard Police Sgt. Jerry Bartolomucci.

Josh Brechner (Weinberg ‘12), a friend of Mahoney, said Mahoney was working on becoming a comedian and was a very talented rapper. He said he last spoke to her a few months ago.

Mahoney was enrolled in the School of Communication beginning Fall Quarter 2008, University Registrar Jaci Casazza said. She was last enrolled as a student in Summer Quarter 2012. Mahoney never graduated from NU and her enrollment was not consecutive. She returned for Winter Quarter 2012 after taking more than two years off.

Brechner said Mahoney’s time off was due to a medical leave.

Mahoney was living in Portland, Ore., at the time of her death, according to her Facebook page. Bartolomucci said Mahoney’s family has been notified.

University spokesman Bob Rowley did not have any additional information Tuesday evening.

Brechner knew Mahoney through Boomshaka, a drum and dance ensemble, which she was a part of during her first year at NU. He called her “extremely genuine and unselfish.” 

“Everyone was always stunned by how unique an individual she was and how remarkable and how talented she was in what she applied herself to,” Brechner said. “She was very supportive, very excited by other people’s ideas and would love to suggest her ideas to help improve your ideas even though it could be on any topic at any time.”

He added she was an energetic participant of Boomshaka. When both were accepted into the group, Brechner remembered the directors singling Mahoney out for her talent.

“When she left, it was definitely a really unfillable hole,” he said. “When it came to further members of Boomshaka down the line, they are always compared to her and her abilities and her explosive energy. It was thought that no one would be able to match the energy she brought because she was so unique and so expressive.”

Medill senior Lara Walsh lived in Allison Hall with Mahoney during the 2011-12 school year. Walsh connected with Mahoney because both were from Portland. She said Mahoney worked in the Allison mail room.

“When I saw her working at the Allison mail center, she would always say ‘Hi,'” Walsh said. “She seemed very cheerful.”

Walsh said she was shocked when she learned the news of Mahoney’s death. From messages on Mahoney’s Facebook timeline, Walsh said it was clear that many in the NU community considered her a friend.

“She seemed to have been there for people during difficult times,” Walsh said.

Brechner said her death has been hard to process.

“I’m at a loss for words,” he said.

Ally Mutnick contributed reporting.

Email: tylerpager2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @tylerpager