Moving. Touching. Powerful.
I watch a lot of true crime documentaries, but I’ve never seen anything like Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. Now streaming on Netflix, this documentary is about the twisted reality that we, the innocent, live in. How many times have we heard about the government failing good people? All too often. Yet, life goes on. We think, “That could never happen to me.” Because we like to live in a bubble or because we’re naive, or because…turning a blind eye is easier, the struggles of others don’t concern us – that is until we face them ourselves. Even then, when facing the unthinkable, we put our trust in a higher power – the government – and hope, and pray, that justice will be served, that wrongs will be righted. It’s a fantasy that we like to believe so that it’s easier to step out our front door.
During this documentary, you will come face-to-face with pure evil, maybe even the devil incarnate. You’ll also come face-to-face with true love – the love of parents, extended family, and friends. I’ve been a husband for almost six years and a father for a little over three years now, and I can tell you that this documentary will make you hate the…hate that humanity is capable of. It will also restore your faith in humanity. I’ve never, EVER watched something so polarizing.
I am from a small, rural town in Pennsylvania, not far from Latrobe, Pennsylvania – the home of Arnold Palmer, the possible birthplace of the banana split, and good people. It was in Latrobe that Dr. Andrew Bagby found his purpose in life at Latrobe Area Hospital. His profession was to help those that are hurting and as the documentary plays out you can see from home video footage that it fit his personality exactly.
Andrew spent most of his childhood visiting family across the United States and abroad. He was the only child of David and Kathleen Bagby. He enjoyed making backyard movies with his best friend Kurt Kuenne, who grew up to become a filmmaker. Andrew had a lot to live for. Unfortunately, his scorned ex-girlfiend Dr. Shirley Turner murdered him. You’d think this is where the story ends, but it’s just the beginning.
Turns out Dr. Turner was one month pregnant with Andrew’s son when she killed him. Let that sink in for a minute. Let this sink in too – the evidence against Dr. Turner was plentiful – but she fled to Canada. You’d think it would be somewhat easy to get a murderer sent back and convicted if there was overwhelming evidence. But it isn’t. In fact, if you’re with child, and a murderer it seems like the Canadian government would rather protect you then send you back to the United States for prosecution.
What’s different about this documentary is that Andrew’s best bud, Kurt, decided to film all of Andrew’s friends and family about Andrew’s life after hearing of his death, but during it, the twist of Dr. Turner’s pregnancy is discovered, and Kurt decides to make the documentary for Andrew’s son, Zachary, since Zachary will never know his father. What follows is a gut-wrenching as we watch Andrew’s parents battle the Canadian government and Dr. Turner for the custody of Zachary.
Think about it. You’re a grandparent and you know that the person who murdered your son now has custody of your grandson. It’s unthinkable. It’s unbelievable. It’s a tragedy. The story goes on from there and it gets worse before it gets better.
This Father’s Day hug your father. Remember the good times you spent with him if he’s passed on. Kiss your son or daughter and tell them how much you love them because you never know when all of that will get stolen from you.
Consume Review Repeat gives the documentary Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father a ten out of ten Happy Father’s Days. If you feel so inclined here is the link to make a donation to the Bagby family.