FERRIER FILES: Lauren Agee's mom speaks after wrongful death lawsuit
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
Lauren Agee was beautiful, spirited, athletic, loud and full of life.
Her camping weekend at Wakefest on Center Hill Lake with four friends in July 2015 was typical. Her choice of campsites on a bluff overlooking the lake was Lauren.
But then she allegedly goes missing and her body is found floating just 12 hours later. Her friends never reported her missing or called Lauren's mom. They didn’t go to the hospital either.
"The first thing that popped into my mind was where are the kids she was with,” said her mother Sherry Smith.
“She was missing for an entire day and nobody notified us, I was blowing up Lauren’s phone and it was just sitting there at the campsite. Nothing. And we knew at that time something was very wrong."
It would be the beginning of a heart-breaking unsatisfying journey.
The DeKalb county sheriff's department determined after interviewing the four friends and visiting the scene that it was an accident. The medical examiner ruled it as a probable accidental drowning.
But there were problems, and Officer Chris Yarchuck was one of them. He was the first officer on the scene, and he never for one second believed it was an accident
“There is no way that was an accident, I will go to the grave believing that girl was killed her body was moved and they are hiding the truth,” Yarchuck said.
Officer Yarchuck was from White county. The death was out of his jurisdiction, but there was enough doubt for the family to redo the entire investigation.
The family's own independent pathologist reported very different possible causes of death.
“Her larynx was crushed the new autopsy shows her larynx was crushed," Smith said. "And that only happens from choking. You can't get choked from a fall."
Even simpler: Was it even possible for Lauren to fall from the campsite into the water and drown? The detectives used a 105 pound dummy and threw it off the ledge.
Throw after throw, it never made it to the water. Never. Not even close.
"It debunks their whole theory she must have went pee slipped and drowned no way, no way," Yarchuck said. "That is ridiculous."
Agee's mom is now suing the four friends at the campsite; Aaron Lilly, Brixner Gambrell, Hannah Palmer and Christopher Stout for wrongful death.
“Science doesn’t lie, people do, said mom Sherry Smith.