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Home » Culture and Criticism

Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father

Submitted by on December 21, 2008 – 11:49 PM45 Comments

dzposterI don't really know what to say about Kurt Kuenne's documentary, because to describe it in a way that won't discourage you from seeing it will in turn spoil you. The official website of the film may do so as well, so if you'd like to have the experience I had while watching, namely to recoil physically and to emit a series of involuntary meeps of anguish because you didn't see it coming, you may want to avoid clicking the link.

I can't say that you would "like" to have that experience; it's…not something you "like." Dear Zachary isn't "good" in an enjoyable way, although Kuenne's editing style, which initially presents as overdone and precious, makes his subjects enjoyable. You know them quickly and you wish you knew them personally, counted them as friends yourself. But that in turn amplifies the worst of the events, the affront to sense. It's very effective, and affecting — personal but not amateurish, suffused with grief but not maudlin — and it's a movie I want other people to have seen so that I can discuss it with them. But at the same time it's not a movie I want to send other people off to see all, "Ya gotta see it, it's awesome!"

And now I feel like I've maybe just talked a few people out of seeing it, so for the record, it's not gory (it does have some upsetting imagery at the end, but it's not gratuitous) and it's not hopeless. The Brandon Teena Story, after that one ended the Biscuit and I just sat there in the theater like, "Well, why even get up. Let's just sit here and wait for death." This one isn't like that; it's warm and funny and wherever Andrew Bagby is, he is well pleased with Kuenne's tribute. We should all have someone tell our stories so lovingly, but also with due attention paid to our gassiness. (Hee.) But it's…like a beautiful memorial service: all that love with nowhere good to go. In fact I suppose it isn't like that; it is that.

It's a tough watch, but it's worth doing. Kuenne's facility with bringing us into the Bagbys' lives, thereby making the unfolding of events more painful for the audience, might feel like a mixed blessing, but I admire it on a technical/artistic level, and I admire it from a "this is a hell of a thing for human beings to have to get through" standpoint as well. I can count on one hand the number of times I've wanted to give a filmmaker a hug, but when Kuenne rushed through his narration so he wouldn't start crying; started crying anyway; and left it in the movie anyway, I wanted to find where he lives, go over to his house, and pat him comfortingly.

This isn't the greatest sales pitch I've ever made, but Dear Zachary is an amazing film. You won't be glad it had to be made, but you'll be glad you saw it. It's in theaters now and airing again on MSNBC in January, so check the official site for details.

I'm going to declare the comments a spoiler-safe zone, so that those of us who have seen it can discuss in more depth. If you don't want the movie spoiled for you, caveat lector.

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45 Comments »

  • slices says:

    I have been waiting/hoping for you to review/comment on this film, Sars. This one stuck with me. Like, on the bus ride to work the next morning I felt physically weighed down, couldn't shake the sad feeling, which is just an odd experience to have (even as a huge fan and seasoned vet of documentaries). I watched the midnight MSNBC run, and dozed off in the last half hour or so. The next morning I asked my husband as soon as I woke up, "how did it end?" and he said "you don't want to know." and I said "yes I do" and he told me. So when I watched another showing a week later, I knew – I didn't have that brick in the face realization moment, but STILL I couldn't stop myself from weeping outright for the remainder of the movie (and after), even knowing ahead of time what was coming. Ugh. An unforgettable piece.

  • tixie says:

    wow… i'm going to comment early to avoid spoilers… just watched the trailer, though… i'll be looking for it…

  • Kay says:

    My mother saw this on Sundance and was telling me about it not too long ago. I don't know if I can watch it. What an absolute effing mess the whole thing was, from start to finish. It makes me die a little inside to think about it.

  • Jaybird says:

    Unbearable, unspeakable. I try not to say or write things that sound holier-than-thou, because I'm not, but seriously: That woman, and the judge who let her off the leash, both need to roast slowly in hell. OH my God.

  • Jenny says:

    I caught this a few weeks ago on MSNBC. And I had no idea where it was going when I started to watch it. I thought I would watch a somewhat heartwarming story and instead it turned into a freakin' mess.

    But there is something that makes you hopeful in this film. And it is Andrew's parents. I literally just wanted to give them a great big hug and not let go.

    I think it was interesting knowing that the filmmaker started the process of makign the film with the idea of just a tribute film and then circumstances changed the film. It would be interesting to know which interviews were taped before and after the second murder.

  • Andrea says:

    Amazing documentary, but, having seen it, I can't even read the movie's title without crying at my desk. My heart breaks for that poor boy and his grandparents. Jaybird, I do believe that there is a special place in hell for people like Dr. Turner. I have kids and can't imagine the blend of sick and evil someone has to be to do what she did. You want to die, fine — but leave others out of it.

  • Christina says:

    This movie absolutely broke my heart… I felt the same way – I wanted everyone I know to see it, but it's a mighty hard movie to sell to others. Honestly, I fell for Andrew Bagby a little bit and then just felt weird about it for days afterwards. He seemed like such a lovely, kind soul – why is it always the sweet ones who fall for the loons? Such a senseless tragedy on far too many levels… Judge Welsh should be ashamed of herself – anyone with eyes to see had to know that Shirley was a danger to all that came in contact with her. Crazy like that doesn't happen overnight…

  • Mary Ellen says:

    It is an amazing documentary. I knew nothing at all about the story before I saw it on MSNBC, so I wasn't expecting the utter gut-punch of the murder-suicide — it broke my heart. That poor family.

  • Jaybird says:

    SPOILER–

    When I started reading about the movie, I kept hoping for a "and now Zachary and his grandparents are living happily in California", and to find out that NO, they weren't, because Selfish O'Killerson fixed THAT right up, just made me want to find where she's buried, and pee on that place, or worse. Things like this should make me sad, and they do. But I zoom right past sad into furious.

    Somebody, please tell me this "judge" isn't still "working" in that capacity, because nobody that callous and incompetent needs to have any influence over other people's lives.

  • Slices says:

    I'm also wondering how I never heard or read anything about this case prior to seeing the movie. I consider myself pretty up on things in the true-crime circuit and never had I stumbled across the details of this case. Maybe b/c a lot of the developments occured in Canada? Less publicized/sensational up there?

  • Kim says:

    I saw this on MSNBC too, and I thought it was both beautiful and terrible. I can only hope when I die that someone would take the time to put together such a beautiful tribute. But the scary thing for me is that things like this happen all the time here in America too. There are just so many holes in the legal system in this country and it's just so easy for a child to slip through. I'm a pediatrician and we're often times involved in situations like this, and more times than I would care to count the child ends up going home into a precarious situation because there is no legal way to take them out of their parents' custody. If there is no clear evidence that there has been harm done then often you have no other choice, the law favors the parent in most situations. It just makes me shiver sometimes. One of the major problems with our system is that the social workers who deal with children like these for a living are often paid about the same as a full time McDonald's employee. Just something to think about.

  • Marissa says:

    Sars,
    Thank you so much for writing this review. I caught this doc on MSNBC a few weeks ago and still can't stop thinking about it. Andrew's parents have to be two of the strongest people in the world. What that crazy Dr. Turner and the legal system in Canada did to that poor child is unspeakable. When the events were revealed, I just gasped and then came the waterworks. I wanted to tell folks about this movie, but I didn't know how at all. It's so sad and punches you in the gut but makes you feel so lucky to have known Andrew and his parents for those two hours.

  • Jennifer says:

    There's also a book written by Andrew's father. I know you read true crime so you may want to read "Dance With the Devil" by David Bagby as well.

  • Maria says:

    I also watched this a couple of weeks ago when it premiered on MSNBC, and am glad to find somewhere to discuss it. Yes, Dear Zachary is both wonderful and horrible, and I want everyone I know to see it. I can't imagine being in a public theater when the gut-punch came. It was too much. I was so grateful for the commercial break. And yes, Sars, exactly about wanting to give Kurt Kuenne a hug. The thousands of hours he put into assembling his film, his heart must have broken every day.

    Andrew Bagby reminded me in so many ways of my friend Sean, it was hard to watch at first. There's a physical resemblance, but the personality, my god – he's the guy EVERYONE loves. He's everyone's best friend, best man, mentor, and brother. If you know someone like him or his parents, you feel incredibly lucky to have them in your life and to be a part of theirs. Can you imagine, being so beloved by so many, that when your time is done, hundreds of people who know you come together to film a love letter to your memory?

    I kind of have to focus on that lasting memory of this film, because thinking about Dr. Turner and the joke of a legal system in Newfoundland is bad for my rage.

  • Kristi says:

    Andrew's parents are amazing, they did not deserve even a fraction of the tragedy that evil woman brought into their lives. I don't know how her psychologist or that judge can live with themselves. "She was only a danger to one person and he's gone (BECAUSE SHE KILLED HIM), so she's free to go!" Which makes perfect sense. GAAAAAAH. It makes me so sick I can't even articulate it.

  • Nicole says:

    I haven't seen the film yet, but I would like to. I can remember hearing about the case in the news when it was occuring. I was still in high school (in Newfoundland) at the time, and I was shocked that something like that was able to occur. The legal system really did fail Zachary.

    There was a full review done on the case by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, here are the links if anyone is interested:
    http://www.childandyouthadvocate.nf.ca/Pdfs/turner-v1.pdf
    http://www.childandyouthadvocate.nf.ca/Pdfs/turner-v2.pdf

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    "When the events were revealed, I just gasped and then came the waterworks."

    I thought I was going to puke — not figuratively. I must have turned green. They're talking about how Dr. Psycho vanished, and the authorities found a baby in the water, and they had to go down to the morgue, and I'm like, oh, whatever, it's obviously not going to be THAT baby because this is a letter to Zachary! So this is just misdirec– oh my holy God in heaven IT'S HIM HE'S DEAD WHAT. And the shock of it just kind of backed up into my system so fast that my stomach felt like I was falling. And Maria: totally. If I'd been in a theater and hadn't had the tiny mercy of a commercial, I think I would have booted on the floor.

    I have to give Kuenne credit; I knew from the reviews that it was going to be bad, but I had no inkling that it was that bad, or that variety of bad, or was going to kick me that hard. That is some righteous narrative set-up right there — which feels weird to pay a compliment, given the subject matter, but as a storyteller, that guy is for real. And then when he goes to the playback on those fucking sick-making phone calls with Turner, that sing-songy "Mommy loves youuuuu"…uch, I feel sick again. It's fucking horrible! And yet I don't feel manipulated at all; it's well done.

    I just can't imagine having to tell a story like this about a friend of mine, much less telling the hell out of it this way and staying up on a tightrope that fine for two hours. Amazing.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    PS The shot of the "You Still Have Children" plaque killed me. KILLED ME.

  • Jaybird says:

    The thing that utterly strips the gears on my imagination: How Andrew's parents, who were viciously robbed of both their son AND grandson, manage to live without just screaming and jumping up and down and clawing pieces off everything and everyone they see. Seriously. They must be hellaciously strong people. Ditto for Mr. Kuenne. People who have endured MUCH less than this have gone completely off the rails. God bless them, is all I can say, because the alternative is to think about that Turner thing, and…no.

  • tadpoledrain says:

    Sars, can you add a note in your review that if we don't want to be spoiled, we shouldn't go to IMDb? I'm not sure how much it spoils, because I haven't seen the movie, but just the teeny-tiny review on the top of the page seems to give quite a lot away.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @tad: That isn't the spoilery part. Folks who don't want to know more shouldn't click through to the full plot synopsis, but what you see on the movie's main page is common knowledge, in every review, etc.

  • JeniMull says:

    Holy moley. I am glad I read through the spoilers, because at 26 weeks pregnant with my third – I would probably go into premature labor from the stress of watching this, right now. Just reading up on it yesterday resulted in my crying for my entire commute home.

    Someday, I'll see it. I don't know how – but I feel like their memories deserve that attention.

    I will never, ever understand how anyone could do something like that to any child – much less her/his own.

  • Molly says:

    I'm going to have to see this.

    And then I'm going to regret having seen it.

    And THEN I'm going to be really glad I saw it.

    I'm getting the feeling it's one of those movies, anyway.

  • Rebecca U says:

    I couldn't response when this first posted. As soon as I saw the title, I knew. I remembered my mom's horrified look as she related the horrific details of these events that happened to her acquaintances, people I knew in passing, the Bagbys, while I cradled my son, my mom's only grandchild. I couldn't help but think how the baby must have been scared and crying as she plunged into the water, the one he was calling to help him was the one putting him through that. I can't see the movie, I could barely read the newspaper accounts that accompanied the release of the movie here. Maybe some day, but I'm glad the movie is out there, the story is being told and heard.

  • Courtney says:

    I just watched this a couple of weekends ago, and I'm happy to see your take on it. I, of course, watched it at 3 a.m. because I couldn't sleep, which is possibly the worse possible time to see it. I thought it was really well done, and you're right, my initial bad reaction to the editing quickly gave way, because there's no better way to bring these folks to life then to let us see them and see people talking about them, almost as if in real time. When the "twist" was revealed, I let out a huge gasp of sorrow, waking up everyone in the house. The only complaint I had, I guess, and it wasn't even a complaint, was that it looked like the grandparents discussed the happy times with their grandson in the same interview where they broke down, so I felt, not cheated exactly, but almost uncomfortable that I had somehow magically forced them to relive the most miraculous thing and then the most tragic.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    It's re-airing tomorrow (Sunday Jan 4) at 11 PM ET on MSNBC.

  • Tricia says:

    I was flicking through the channels, and the title jumped out at me (I remembered your posting). I can honestly say that I have never openly sobbed like I just did. My stomach hurts and my heart aches. Those poor people … I just can't imagine what they've gone through, and don't know how they're walking and talking, never mind serving as much needed advocates in Canada.

    When they talked about going to the crematorium with Zachary I felt like my heart was going to break.

  • Casey says:

    I just finished watching, and while still crying, got on my computer to look up more information. There are absolutely NO WORDS to describe the gambit of emotions I'm feeling right now. I do not generally watch true-crime shows, movies, or read the books, but I've very….well, not glad…but I almost feel honored to have gotten to see this. Definate props to Kurt Kuenne on having the ability to produce such a film, let alone do such a fine job of it. And the Bagby's….geez, they're practically saints! I admire them for even finding the wherewithall to just put one foot in front of the other each day. I could go on and on, but let me just say…. Wow! This is one that will definately stick with me.

  • Caitlin says:

    I just got done watching this about 40 minutes ago, and still have a knot in my stomach. I'm right up there with all of you who wanted all your friends and family to watch it — I linked this post to a friend of mine because I needed someone else to know that this film, and these people, exist and are worth knowing about.

    I wasn't at all prepared for the murder-suicide. Throughout the first part of the film I kept thinking about how old Zachary would be now, and wondering if he were old enough to have seen and understood it on his own before it was released to the public. Then, of course, I found out how cruelly irrelevant that question was. Sars, I wanted to throw up, too.

    The beautiful thing about this documentary, I think, is that what started as a private memorial for one man turned into a public tribute that honors not only Andrew Bagby and his son, but his parents who have somehow managed to find and fight for the one shred of light that could possibly come out of this tragedy. It always amazes me when people can get it together enough to push for reforms after losing one family member; David and Kate have had their child brutally ripped from them twice, and are still out there making sure it never happens to anyone else. That's incredible.

  • Watched it last night, and Holy God. I can't shake it. The Bagbys are truly incredible people, and I just want to build some kind of hug robot to follow them for the rest of their lives. I wish I could reanimate Turner just to slap her silly.

  • George McRae says:

    I accidentally turned on msnbc last night and couldnt stop watching. You get absolutely pulled in and cant get out. The worst nightmare you ever had. Except that it is completely real. My reactions were all over the board including fear of Canadians. Was part of this insanity on the part of the "system"due to an intrinsic dislike of Americans? The presence of the grandparents? A sort of "in your face" dont tell us what to do, you inferior American savages with your lethal injections? And the horror for the Bagbys having to witness this in front of them. And at the end my completel empathy for David and "alt" ending he had considered. I would have too! I try to consider myself a kind compassionate loving human being, but I am a complete believer in justice swift and absolutely SURE. Always err on the side of caution. This bizarre disease of the rationalizing of the judge. Rampant social cancer that is killing our ability to remain compassionate people. In the end you see yourself becoming a vigilanty. A Charles Bronson spin off….

  • Chrissy says:

    I watched this last night too and bawled like I had know Andrew, Zachary, and the Bagby's personally. The Christmas picture with the Bagby's and the baby? I still cry when I think about it. I wanted to keep it on my DVR so other's could watch it, but had to delete it- it was upsetting me just seeing the TITLE!

  • Jamie says:

    Words are hard to come by after watching this documentary. I stumbled upon it last night about 20 minutes into it. Wasn't sure what it was at first, but couldn't stop watching. By the end I was sobbing about people I had never met, but felt that I knew. Kurt Kuenne has done a truly magnificent job of honoring his friend. I don't know how he did it, but I wish to thank him for making this story available to the rest of us. I am going to scour the MSNBC website to see when it comes on again because I want my mom and husband to see it too. Everyone should see it!

  • Heather says:

    Sars, I've felt exactly that way since seeing the movie…wanting to recommend it to people, but not wanting to put them through the experience.

    I saw the movie at the HotDocs film festival in Toronto this summer. In a theatre full of people. With a simultaneous audible reaction to the murder/suicide. When the film finished Kurt Kuenne got onstage to talk about the film and do the usual Q&A, and then he introduced the Bagbys and they stood up from the seats directly behind me to make their way to the stage to join him. Started the tears gushing all over again. The fact that they continue to relive this horror as they push towards bail reform is humbling.

  • Angie says:

    Sars, I had caught the beginning of the movie last month and then recorded it this weekend on your recommendation. I thought I'd watch a few minutes of it last night before mentally checking out with The Big Bang Theory and my DS, but ten minutes in I could not stop watching. You're absolutely right, I think we should all be so lucky as to have that many people speak with that much warmth and affection about us when we pass. So here I am watching this film and drooling for the trial, thinking "Well, a jury's gonna hang her in the damn court after all this crap. Enjoy your bail you horrible bitch!" It literally never occurred to me that she might take Zachary and hurt him. Even when she went missing with Zachary, I was like, sure, she's run off to god knows where, but they'll find her and then it'll be kidnapping and murder. Even when they said they found a body of a woman and child by the ocean, I still thought, "Dear God, they must have been so relieved to find out it wasn't Zachary." And… then it was. And to say my heart broke for the Bagbys doesn't really describe it. I just thought, "This can't happen to them, that baby was their reason to live, she can't have taken that from them, too." It was just so sad.

    My boyfriend is in law school, and I called him last night right after finishing the movie so angry, wanting him to explain to me how it happened, how could this woman be allowed to walk free and be alone with the child of the man she murdered? And he didn't have any answers, because it was just so fucked up. And you're absolutely right, now I want him to see it, too, and anyone else I talk to, as well. I really like the way that emotions were allowed to be what they were, with people crying and joking about the funny and dumb stuff about Andrew, and that they showed Dave Bagby so angry and calling that woman a bitch. Usually people try to be composed, but he's not composed, and he shouldn't be. And to speak so candidly about thinking about sneaking out and killing her and knowing he regretted to a degree not doing it… it was incredibly well done.

  • Jenno says:

    Watched this movie this afternoon after DVRing last Sunday night. My almost-15-month-old slept in my arms during the last half of it, just a little older than Zachary was when he died. The worst moment for me was when Andrew's ex-fiance talked about Zachary's funeral, and said something like "The tiniest coffin…I didn't know there were ones that small…there shouldn't be."

    And while I understand the huge frustration over the Canadian authorities' mishandling of the case, what I want to know is, why the hell did the Pennsylvania State Police interview Turner over the phone? Why didn't they coordinate with the FBI and Iowa law enforcement to bring her in for questioning and confiscate her passport then, or at least notify the border to hold her if she tried to cross? If she'd never gotten out of the USA, none of the later events would have happened. There is blood on many hands here.

    The Bagbys are truly amazing people, and I lost it all over again when Kurt revealed how he'd known when his film was done…when it became a love letter to them: Dear Kate and David,….

  • Leslie says:

    Anyone who doubts that suicide is usually a selfish act should see this. Obviously bothered that not enough people would miss *her,* she took the baby, too. And in addition to ravaging the threadbare strands of the Bagbys' lives, she left behind her other children. I can only hope they have strong, compassionate guardians and really good therapists.

  • Roy Rhodes says:

    This film's been out for four months now, and I only saw it tonight. I stumbled across it because the film's distributer brilliantly licensed it for Netflix's instant watch interface, and I now see the real power of cinema. I want to thank the reviewer for articulating this impulse I now find within myself: "I can count on one hand the number of times I've wanted to give a filmmaker a hug."

  • HeatherB says:

    Just saw the DVD, and….wow. I'm awed and humbled to know that people like Kate and David Bagby are in this world.

    To survive Andrew's loss, then have to play nice with his MURDERER to be able to see Zachary, then to have the utterly unthinkable happen because of the legal system's incompetence, THEN to pick themselves back up again and go out to work for change so it doesn't happen to someone else's kid? I'm staggered at their strength, resiliency, and generosity.

    And I, too, did the whole, "Wow, what a bizarre coincidence that another adult and child died like that right then…wait – WHAT?!?" thing. I'd already cried for the Bagbys about three times, was like "No, you can't, you just CAN'T do that to them!" And when Kate totally broke down and David's saying "This is what she didn't know, what she was doing to us"…the horrible thing is, yeah, she did. That's exactly WHY she did it – to cause them that pain. She was fucking evil, and even Zachary knew it; when I think of those clips of him always going to Kate instead of her, it kills me.

    (And "forgiveness"? [See the DVD extras, last deleted scene] Yeah. Not happening. I subscribe to the idea that forgiveness is something that can only be given, if you choose to, to the offender who ASKS for forgiveness, who actually recognizes the harm they have done and are contrite and willing to take the consequences. Our culture seem to have this Oprah-esque idea that we should forgive everything, and we're mean and unhealthy if we don't. Forgiveness needs to be earned, and even so, some things are just unforgiveable. Like, um, this.)

    @George McRae, it's not Canada. Our system (the U.S.'s, that is) is just as messed up and if anything has more holes for children to fall through, and our courts are almost as slow. The bail laws in Newfoundland were part of the problem, but the prosecutor literally did NOTHING, and obviously that nightmare of a judge was the key issue. The problem with any system is that people, being fallible (and, apparently, completely insane themselves – did that judge think that murder/suicide threats, 8 restraining orders, and an actual premeditated murder were normal dating behavior? I'd like to talk to some of her exes…if any are still among us), will drop the ball either accidentally or purposefully. Checks and reviews can help, but often take far too long to actually help the child, and it's incredibly tough to get even a judge like that off the bench. Our system isn't doing any better than Canada's by any measure. Fear incompetence, red tape, cronyism, and greed wherever you find them, but fear not the Canadians! :)

    Thanks for the (qualified) rec, Sars. I might not have seen it otherwise, and I'm glad I did. Tearstained, heartbroken, horrified, and glad. The truly amazing thing to me was that after all of that tragedy and grief, what I'm left with is a warm fuzzy feeling for the Bagbys, Kurt Kuenne, Andrew's friends, and pretty much everyone else shown in the film. There was so much love being expressed, so many lives involved, for joy and pain, such connection to each other and devotion to Andrew and Zachary's memories – ultimately, there was one horrific, selfish monster, and dozens of warm, loving, funny, brave, amazing people. May they all have long, happy lives that honor their friend and his son.

  • Keith says:

    I recently rented this movie on Netflix, though the purely self-preservation side wishes I hadn't. Then maybe I would get a peaceful night's sleep without re-experiencing the anger, frustration, and sadness all over again. After watching the movie, the viewer is left desperately searching for relief, even if it's only in a slap on the wrist for Turner's therapist….ANYTHING to provide solace that justice will somehow be done. I would like nothing more than to hear that Justice Gale Welsh has since resigned her post (she hasn't) and lives a hermit lifestyle (she doesn't) struggling with the deep despair and guilt that must be hers (she doesn't) for directly contributing to a preventable death. She has prosperred since her actions, with no recourse whatsoever for her fatal flaw. And it's not so much revenge that I want, but more the fear that she continues to apply the same flawed logic to her current judicial decisions.

    Regardless, it was a marvelous piece of film, well constructed, brilliantly told. I can't imagine tackling such a difficult goal: to tell the life of your best friend, the tragedy of his death, and the even greater tragedies to follow. I applaud Kurt for giving Andrew's parents, and Zachary himself, a voice that otherwise might have been lost forever.

  • AliceP. says:

    Shirley Turner was a classic psychopath. She faked "feelings" "charmed" authorities and played in their sympathies like playing a tune on a fiddle and she faked emotions like any other garden variety psychopath. She had zero empathy. Having zero empathy IS evil. It's all about control with them, and when she couldn't control how the entire world around her would go anymore she didn't just take her life, she had to take Zachary with her to make that final act more impactful. Psychopaths believe they are "special" and wish to create the largest lasting impact upon others possible. Most of them don't kill but, she was one of the "special" ones alright.

    Judges, lawyers and social workers can be charmed and played by these people but, that is NO excuse. They treated Turner as if she were the victim and knew somewhere deep inside themselves that her pitiful stories really didn't add up. They knew Zachary was in danger or might be and let their "heartstrings" be manipulated in a sick dance of a psychopath. Isn't Dr. Robert Hare from Canada???

    Surely, these professionals saw the illness that was taking place before their eyes when they forced the Bagby's to share a kind of custody with their sons killer. They saw and did it anyway because of the power of "charm" these psychopaths have. It's no excuse. They should have known better or wanted to know better enough to find out before this already tragic situation played out to it's inevitable and horrific conclusion.

    I could not get this film or these people out of my heart. Maybe we're not supposed to. Maybe we're supposed to learn more about these disordered people so that when we meet them in our daily life, jobs and social lives we will know how to handle them better…when to stay away, how to tell others before it's too late.

    There were early signs with her but, a normal person will blow off those signs usually. She had all those children by different fathers and she did not have custody. She was in her forties and seemingly had not been given custody or did not want it. She already had left a string of brokeness behind her and she had a very cavilier *read: I don't feel anything about it and don't care* attitude.

    God Bless, the Bagby's. Kate is right. She met evil. People like this are the definition of evil whether the professionals use that word or not. Good has won out in you David and Kate and for Andrew and Zachary's memory it will continue to.

    As hard as this film is, it is a tribute that deserves to be seen. A tribute to Kate, David, Zachary, Andrew and all those who have loved them.

    It will be a long time before the experience of seeing this film leaves me.

  • sara says:

    It's taken me about three hours to process watching this, and I'm still stunned and pained and sad. And freaked out, a little; I have a friend named Andrew with one British parent who bears an uncanny resemblance to Andrew Bagby. It was really creeping me out during the documentary, almost as much as that miserable bitch and her awful, manipulative phone calls.

  • Cindy A says:

    I just watched this movie and am stunned and moved and angry. I hope that Canada has laws similar to our "Wrongful Death" lawsuits available. Even though it's been a while since the murders, especially Zachary's, there are a number of officials who directly contributed to this baby's death. I would start with the judge who last let that woman free while awaiting trial. I am stunned along with the Bagby family, who have my deepest sympathy.

    Cindy,
    Washington State, USA

  • Daphne says:

    I just watched this movie and can't control my anger. I want a follow-up on all of the incompetent bastards who were accomplices to Zachary's death (judges, child welfare workers, psychiatrist) and I want to know what they are doing today. It appears that Judge Gale Welsh is still on the court- WTF? I hope as this movie gains more publicity it gets harder for them to weasel their ways out of this. A public apology, resignation, and responsibility of their part in a small boy's death would just be for starters. And Canada, time to grow up legislatively-speaking. I am embarrassed for you. You can take some steps forward now, although you will always have to live with your share of responsibility in this. All of us concerned can log onto dearzachary dot com and write letters to parliament, Canada's attorney general, etc. for change. After you cry that is- then get angry and get active, just like the courageous Kate and David Bagby.

  • doin says:

    Here's Welsh, still sitting on her throne.

    http://www.court.nl.ca/supreme/appeal/judiciary.htm

    contact information is on their as well.

    gross.

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