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Season 1, Episode 2


Age: 36
Location: Los Angeles, California
Addiction:  Shopping, agoraphobia

(Guest Post by Stefan) What’s Memorable: No other episode of the series has touched on agoraphobia. Also, the fact that she had no family present at the intervention, only friends (Annie, the bulimic dancer from Season 2, is the only other person profiled in the show’s history who can claim this).

Update: Vanessa Marquez was shot and killed by police during a welfare check on August 30, 2018. She was reportedly brandishing a BB gun when she was shot. Here is the news story about the tragic incident.

Official Synopsis:  Vanessa, who was a recurring character on the long-running medical drama ER, is addicted to shopping. She is heading towards bankruptcy.

Date Aired: March 2005
Interventionist: Tara

All comments.

  1. Stefan

    This episode has been missing in all capacities for at least the last five years or so. Here it is if anyone wants to watch it (shared with Gabe the gambler):

    1. Brenda

      Why isn’t the Gabe episode listed here?

      1. Stefan

        Read the FAQ section for more info on that.

  2. Stefan

    Vanessa’s Youtube channel, which features some updates. She seems to still have struggles, but it otherwise happy:

    1. George

      Less than a month before she rushed the cops with a BB gun asking them to kill her. I hope people see this and think about what people are dealing with when they observe someone who “still ha[s] struggles, but seem…otherwise happy.”

      1. Stefan

        These videos were from five years before she died. Obviously she went downhill in the meantime.

  3. Stefan

    The intro clip for the episode can be found on Youtube:

  4. Stefan

    Vanessa’s Facebook fan page, although it hasn’t had an update in two years:

  5. Stefan

    Praise God someone has posted this episode to youtube!!!

    1. Ami

      I don’t think Dizzy wants this on her website.

      1. Dizzy

        It’s fine

      2. Stefan


        If you wanna watch it and add your insight, feel free to swap out my words for your own (good luck getting through the Gabe moments though lol).

        The user that uploaded this has been uploading episodes like crazy, and the fact that they have this episode gives me hope they will upload the other missing episodes (Betsy, Mike/Jenny).

  6. RLS

    Is this Vanessa?? I thought I recognized the name! She was shot dead after threatening police with a BB gun.

  7. Emmy

    Just saw this online. Wanted to share it with you so you can update the site accordingly. Cheers!

  8. Holly

    Yes it has been confirmed that Vanessa died today by a police shooting

    1. Elizabeth

      I was sad to read of her passing – it sounds as though she continued to struggle with a variety of issues since her intervention. May she Rest In Peace.

  9. Sue Ellen Hegstrom

    This is so sad…my heart breaks for her.

  10. Desi

    read that she passed away.. is it true?

  11. Laura

    She needed a different kind of help

  12. Kerri B

    Unfortunately she was shot and killed by cops yesterday. They were doing a wellness check on her and she pulled out a bebe gun and pointed it at the officers

  13. Laura

    God, that is devastating.

  14. Kitty Katt

    She’s had many different demons and mental issues going on or years. Sadly, she was never able to get a control of them.

    1. Laura

      You do not know that.

      1. Stefan

        I think it’s safe to say that if you’re an adult and you pull a BB gun on cops pointing a gun at you, you’re not in a sound mental state.

      2. Laura

        one of many good reasons why cops shouldn’t be tasked with welfare checks. not a basis for claiming that a human being is beyond help.

    2. Ez

      There are innumerable reasons why cops should do welfare checks. No law requires them to notify parents about child abuse accusations so if they show up and witness it they are legally obligated and empowered to remove kids from abuse situations. See the Turpin children.

      Second people commit suicide, and sometimes they want to be found by authorities to spare their loved ones. I personally have experienced this, friend of mine called in a welfare check to his parents house while they were on a cruise. He committed suicide by hanging and apologized to the officers and his parents, but he wanted to be found so his parents could bury him.

      sometimes people are suicidal and they call family members before they do it. family cannot get in the house so they call police to force entry. see Chris Benoit.

      Domestic violence called in by a friend or concerned coworker even sometimes the victim themselves. Statistically this is the most dangerous call police can take. The abuser/victim have such a toxic relationship that they can turn violent when the dynamic becomes a threat to their codependency.

      what happened to Vanessa was very sad but she could just as easily have had a real gun, a hostage or in Josh Powells case an axe to hack his children to death before committing suicide and burning his house down.

      Chris Watts that Welfare check is why the police figured out what happened, how and when. He was an idiot and that body cam footage of his numerous lies and inconsistencies were extremely powerful as evidence.

      I can go on but my point is that Vanessa was determined to die one way or another it just happened she the police to do it for her.

  15. Amanda

    I’m so sad for Vanessa.

  16. Courtney

    Why is there no page on Gabe, the guy who shared this episode with her?

      1. George B.

        I understand that Gabe exploited everyone he touched, but that seems a strange reason not to cover him at all. Before I saw the FAQ, I assumed he did something to exploit coverage of himself, maybe something directly aimed at you, but the FAQ just seems to say that he’s omitted because he’s a bad person, while many people here are bad people. Even Allison, who we generally view as a good person who made the best of a bad situation begs for money and often turns her own flaws into issues that entirely originated from the outside. There are horrible people on here, and unless there is something outside of the episode, I’m confused about his omission. His being pushed into instructing collegiate courses at an age that most people would be in high school certainly is something that people should know about. We provide links to Amy P. defending herself via poetry about how she was misrepresented despite pawning the wedding ring of her sister.

        Long story short, there are many horrible people on this show, and Gabe like most of them seems like he was partially a product of environment.

        Regardless, you’re site, and I really appreciate what you’ve done. I use it often for what is probably my favorite show.

      2. Dizzy

        You have this wrong. He isn’t “omitted because he’s a bad person.” He is not on this site because I believe the production and airing of the episode itself to be exploitative of he and his family, of Gabe’s mental illness and its effects on the family. When producers witnessed his manic abusive behavior he should have been referred/sent to a psychotherapist or in-patient mental health treatment, off-camera, certainly not followed around by a camera crew under the guise of a gambling documentary. That’s my problem. Their story wasn’t about a gambling addiction and it shouldn’t have been presented that way and it should have never aired.

      3. George B.

        I lost my comment to website issues, but I thought Gabe was omitted because perhaps he was exploiting the episode or attacking you personally. Hearing that the episode was uncomfortable because of his generally exploitative nature seems wrong, knowing that most people on this show have the same issues. Even people like Allison, who we admire for her recovery, still after recovery has issues with pushing other people to take care of her.

        That’s just my personal opinion. Regardless, you’ve created a wonderful directory that I often use. Thanks.

  17. Anonymous

    Good! What was Vanessa, 90 lbs? They couldn’t take her down- they had to shoot? Seriously?

    1. Elizabeth

      I think that they thought she had a gun (that turned out not to be real). It doesn’t matter how big she is if she was armed.

  18. Anonymous

    Bullshit- they didn’t have to shoot to kill. I’m military so don’t assume I don’t know what I am talking about.

    1. Darren

      First, thank you for your service. Second being in the military has nothing to do with being a police officer, they are different as night and day. If you shoot to wound that person can still kill you. As an officer you can’t assume anything, if a person is holding a gun they intend to use it. You identify yourself if they don’t drop the gun you have to defend yourself and your fellow officers and the public. You have no idea what frame of mind a person holding a gun is in. You know nothing about that person or what they are thinking.

    2. Ez

      yes they should shoot to wound her, no negative consequences or lawsuits could ever come from that/s.

      Be realistic, if you were in the service you were taught to aim center mass i.e. the chest and abdomen. Police are taught the same thing. permanently disfigurement or physically incapacitating a person for the rest of their lives trying to shoot people in the arms and legs is cruel and fucking stupid. And btw you can still die getting shot in the arm or leg and neither of those are quick painless deaths.

  19. Jeanette

    Dizzy – if you are still updating the pages, could you add one for Gabe (gambling) please? He was in the same episode as Vanessa…

    1. Stefan

      Read the FAQ section for more information on that.

      1. Dizzy

        🙂 Thank you Stefan

      2. Fred

        Too bad, because I found Vanessa unwatchable. Gabe was annoying as all heck, but his antics were funny in a pathetic way.

  20. mercy

    I think Corinne from season 2 may have passed, based on what I saw online. RIP, child.

  21. LC

    Vanessa was one of the first addicts on the show. This was back before they offered everyone 90 days in treatment. In Vanessa‘s case, for treatment, she only spends about a week in a hospital near her home, and then, as the show says, “her insurance said she was well enough to go home.” No way that was enough time to touch on her issues.

    I always wonder what would’ve happened if they had found her a season or two later, and if they sent her to an actual rehab for 90 days. If she would still be alive today.

  22. Luna

    I’d like to comment on Vanessa’s episode. I felt it was handled very poorly! She was already in therapy and treatment for every mental illness she admitted to having. Right now she would be considered disabled by the state I’m sure. As someone with bipolar 1 disorder and also agoraphobia/PTSD and anxiety I knew exactly how she felt and compulsive spending is a symptom of bipolar disorder which she was already diagnosed as so I didn’t exactly understand why they were treating her as an addict. She needed long term treatment. Maybe back then they didn’t know what they knew now about the disorder but also the doctor or interventionist I don’t know what she was was treating Vanessa’s medications that were prescribed to her like drugs on the street. You don’t detox someone from powerful psychiatric drugs and expect no side effects. Also the police were doing a wellness check on Vanessa. Again, as someone with agoraphobia you are afraid to leave your house so someone busting through the door in the door that you don’t know about you’re going to protect your house at all costs. There really should be another line people can call when others are having mental health crisis because they don’t know how to deal with those situations. And I agree with some of the other commentators that she should not have been shot, if it’s a welfare check That shouldn’t end in the owner of the home being killed.

    1. Mia Basqua

      She was exploited from day one. They wanted her in the episode to draw viewers, so they conveniently ignored the truth of her mental state and made her “diagnosis” fit the narrative of the show. She was basically another Gabe, only their sin was a little easier to hide in her case.
      It took teamwork to kill that woman.

  23. Luna

    Also in the article posted above about the wrongful death suit (if anyone read it) that the police officers arrived and she was having seizures and realized she might be having a mental health crisis and called the paramedics then somehow she pointed a BB gun and shot at them so they killed her…. that BB gun just coming out the blue doesn’t really make sense.

    1. TMC

      Hi, I was curious about this too, there is a body cam video available to watch – it was not an easy video to watch but does better paint the picture of what was going on.

  24. Julie PV

    Today TMZ posted bodycam footage from Vanessa’s shooting. I’m not going to link it here but it’s easily found by searching.

    1. Stefan

      Just watched it. Damn that was disturbing.

  25. Janice

    I watched the body cam and I’m trying to figure out where the mom is filing a wrongful death suit. She should be ashamed for allowing her daughter to live like that and it’s quite obvious she was not in her right state of mind. Also, you NEVER take a chance with a suspect who has armed themselves to what appears to be a real gun. Do I agree with them killing her of course not. Maybe hitting her in the foot or knee to drop the weapon but people forget an officers life can be taken just as quickly. This woman needed long term care treatment and for her home to look the way it did indicated she wasnt well nor was she in the right state of mind to kill her. They brought in someone to evaluate her and gave her multiple chances to surrender.

    1. WAdude

      Wow, looks like the stage was set for a hoarders intervention. Really! Its easy for me to observe but WoW. They could have re-approached her later or made an appointment with a clean-up crew to SOFTEN the intrusion into her space. AND Told her its another TV opportunity, Or just write her a citation with a “Court Date” for her appear. She truly was in bad shape and needed a more rational approach than Blue Badges Entering and demanding to extract her Right NOW.

    1. George B.

      He should be though, right? She charged him with what he should have assumed was a normal gun, though it was a BB gun, while yelling that she wanted someone to kill her. If someone was doing that to you, I’m sure you would try and defend yourself.

      1. Mia Basqua

        If you read the entire article, her social media posts make it pretty clear this was a case of suicide by cop. If we don’t want stuff like this to keep happening, it should be illegal to make and sell real guns that look like toys, and toys that look like real guns. Firearms are not toys or fashion accessories, they are instruments designed to end lives, and should be handled with the utmost transparency and respect.

    2. Maz

      Good, she was obviously suicidal and deeply disturbed, who lives like that it’s gross

  26. Stefan

    Her episode (along with he who shall not be named) is available on Dailymotion:

    1. Kathryn

      Thanks for the link. I had looked everywhere for this episode and found watching Vanessa so interesting and sad.

  27. Beatrice Thomas

    Anybody else feel like she was also clearly anorexic?

    Poor girl 🙁 RIP

  28. Jeanette

    Does anyone have any information on Gabe? I’d love to know how he is doing at the moment.

    1. Stefan

      Nothing is really known about him post-Intervention other than what’s on his follow-up and Wikipedia:

  29. Poppy

    Wow, such a sad situation. Here’s a very detailed account of what happened that day along with photos of her living conditions. She clearly needed a lot of help.

  30. Jayla

    Police bodycam from the incident. She looks so thin 😔

  31. Hhippie

    if you look up the body cam footage from the shooting she looks very very I’ll. she’s emaciated, she has multiple seizures while the cops are talking to her and her house is a hoarders house for sure. it’s very sad seems she still had so many issues.

  32. Miranda

    Where can I find the Vanessa episode at?

  33. Julian

    I found the Episode with Vanessa and Gabe: