At the date of this post this is streaming on Netflix. Spoiler Alert…Don’t read if you want to watch Dear Zachery before I write about it. I stumbled upon this documentary on Netflix after positive reviews on the web. Dear Zachery is a documentary made by film maker Kurt Kuenne. From a young age, Kurt created movies with childhood friend Andrew Bagby. Andrew was a funny individual that amassed many friends. His schooling had led him to become a doctor. We see him in his final years giving a best man speech on a video. Andrew became engaged himself, but the engagement came to an end. Friends were commenting that he wasn’t the same after the engagement ended.
Andrew managed to meet someone else. Early on friends had noticed that the new love was a little strange. They described her as someone who was very needy. Moreover, she had about 13 years on Andrew. After some time, Andrew knew that being with Shirley Turner (the one he met) was not going to work out. She was very jealous and needy. Andrew broke up with her and put her on a plane to go back to Iowa. Unfortunately, when Shirley got home she decided to drive 16 hours to Latrobe, PA to see Andrew again. Andrew told his friend what was going on. The friend’s advice was, if someone drove 16 hours and is in the front door, than you should go out the back door. Andrew did not take the advice, was shot 5 times, and left for dead. The police had many reasons to believe Shirley was guilty. This included evidence of a recent gun purchase and cell phone records of her making calls in different cities. After some lieing to the cops, she decided to flee to Canada.
Shirley would be put on trial and found guilty of Andrew’s murder. But there was another surprise. She was pregnant with Andrew’s baby. After labor and during trial, Kathleen and David Bagby (Andrew’s parents), would bring baby Zachery to prison to see his mom. Shirley’s therapist, Dr. Doucet, posted her $75K bail. At that point, Shirley would come up with different excuses for Zachery not to see his grandparents. The Bagby’s were angered by this, as well as Shirley being allowed to post bail.
In July 2003, Shirley met another man. They dated until he found out that she was in the middle of a trial for killing a man. When he tried to break it off, she left him about 200 voicemails. The next month, she took drugged up herself and baby Zachery, tied Zachery to her body and committed murder-suicide via ocean drowning.
The documentary is as unique as the story. Kurt interviews many people to set up a video memoir of Andrew for Zachery. In the process, he also documents the trial and the state of child custody. The documentary fails to be a memoir for Zachery because Zachery dies. But it helps Kathleen and David cope with their loss. After the original devastation of their son’s death and then their grandson’s death, the documentary ends up showing how loved Kathleen and David are by the extended Bagby family. This truly is a great documentary and my first time watching a documentary that I wished was actually fiction.