Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about His Father
is a 2008 documentary detailing the life and death of one Dr. Andrew Bagby, a resident at a family practice in Latrobe, Pennsylvania who was brutally murdered by an Axe Crazy
ex-lover, Shirley Jane Turner. Shortly after being taken into custody, Turner announced that she was pregnant with Andrew's child, a boy she named Zachary. Initially, Andrew's close friend Kurt Kuenne, a filmmaker, intended the film as a personal memorial and scrapbook so that Zachary could know the kind of person his father was. However, as events transpired, the focus shifted to the incompetence of the Canadian courts in keeping Turner behind bars, as well as the plight of Bagby's parents, David and Kate, in getting custody of Zachary, as well as justice for their son.
This film provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: Your children could be taken away from you and given to their abuser by the court, which finds it OK because she's their mother.
- Author Tract: Understandably
- Badass Grandpa: David Bagby (and his wife), simply for enduring every. Single. Thing.
- Big Bad: Shirley Turner
- Canada, Eh?: A rare negative example.
- Downer Ending
- Driven to Murder-Suicide: The deaths of Shirley and Zachary
- From Bad to Worse: Not only does Turner kill Bagby and makes the extradition and custody cases drag on, but she kills herself and Zachary during one of the court-ordered visitations.
- Infant Immortality: Averted.
- Karma Houdini: Shirley Jane Turner
- Offing the Offspring: Poor Zachary...
- Plot Twist: Admittedly a realistic and incredibly cruel one, but a plot twist nonetheless.
- Someone to Remember Him By
- There Should Be a Law: And now, there is.
- The Bad Gal Wins: Shirley Turner kills both Bagby and his son, and is never held accountable thanks to the incompetence of the Canadian courts.
- The Unfair Sex
- Trauma Conga Line: The Bagbys' ordeal in a nutshell:
- First, Andrew Bagby is murdered in premeditated fashion by Shirley Turner; then just as U.S. law enforcement gets an arrest warrant, Turner flees to Canada; then the Bagbys find out that Turner is pregnant with Andrew's child, turning the extradition case into a custody battle as well; then the Bagbys are forced to stand by while the Canadian courts ignore Turner's history of emotional disturbances and let her walk free (with the U.S. still seeking her extradition, mind you) and then give her unsupervised visitation rights to Zachary; and then endure another round of grief when Turner has another psychotic episode and drowns herself in the ocean along with Zachary.
- Yandere: Shirley Turner. The sections about her history in the extensive government report here make her look like a walking poster child for dangerous manifestations of borderline personality disorder, for years even before the tragedies depicted in this film.