Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

2008, Crime  -   61 Comments
Ratings: 8.79/10 from 81 users.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His FatherIn 2001, Andrew Bagby, a medical resident, is murdered not long after breaking up with his girlfriend. Soon after, when she announces she's pregnant, one of Andrew's many close friends, Kurt Kuenne, begins this film, a gift to the child.

Friends, relatives, and colleagues say warm and loving things about Andrew, home movies confirm his exuberance.

Andrew's parents, Kathleen and David, move to Labrador where the ex-girlfriend has gone.

They await an arrest and trial of the murderer. They negotiate with the ex-girlfriend to visit their grandchild, Zachary, and they seek custody.

Is there any justice; is Zachary a sweet and innocent consolation for the loss of their son? (More at

More great documentaries

61 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bob Likes Bears

    Must Watch, hands down top 5 documentary ever made.

  2. Alyssa

    A must watch documentary. Cried my eyes out but was so touching and moving!

  3. Vanessa

    The judge that released her the second time when legal aid lawyers wouldn't even look at her case, and decided she wasn't a threat to the general public because she was only accused of killing the man she dated then stalked, should have been stripped of her judgeship and disbarred. Her decision was a causal link as determined in the decision that came straight from the independent internal review. Imagine not a cent. put up for bail. If the psychiatrist was held responsible, why not the judge? Incredulous the incompetence in the Canadian Court and prison systems.

  4. margaret

    was there an anti united states thing going here? there is one comment, kind of overlookable, when kate and david were being welcomed in canada about bunching americans all together and how these too were seen for themselves. nothing overt is ever said but except for just seeing the Americans as picking on a put-upon canadian (one of our own), the rampant idiocy is too .... (too many ineffectual words)

  5. Toya

    This is one of my favourite documentaries, it's an emotional roller-coaster. Kate and David are amazing people. Well done Kurt :)

  6. Lisa Tevebaugh

    Amazing and heartbreaking and a true testament to love and friendship.

  7. Dawn LeForce

    I just read a review where the writer was telling people if they were basically weak maybe they shouldn't watch this. And I just sent him an email & asked him to delete the review.

    The "reviewer" claimed his wife was upset with Kurt because of the ending. She should be upset that a psycho was free to kill not one person but two because our mental health systems, legal systems & child protection agencies totally suck.

    The only people most Gov't/State agencies & orgs help are themselves. The proof is in this as well as other documentaries plus several sites posting pics of dead children DHS knew were being abused/neglected yet did nothing about.

    I wish I had a dime for every time I've heard the blank statement "stop the cycles of abuse". That's all it is - a blank statement. The abuse is everywhere & there's still no help to stop it because too many people assume there is or otherwise bury their heads in the sand. This documentary was created to raise awareness. So watch it & more importantly WAKE UP!!! Quit assuming. Quit "advising" people about things you know nothing about. Quit burying your heads in the sand. As far as that goes quit becoming upset. Do something about it before it's your turn.

  8. Kim Harge

    I find it hard to type the words i'm feeling after watching this doc. Kurt if you do read these comments I just want to express how amazing your character is! A lot of folks could take lessons on friendship by watching this and maybe truely understand what it means. I could literally feel how much love was geniuely shared between all of the family and friends of Andrew. .. thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  9. angieq

    If you are reading this, I wish to write Kate and David a personal e-mail, is there a way? I would like to express, among other things, my admiration for their characters, strength, courage and resilience in facing reality.

    Ma. Angeles Meneses-Quilloy
    (e=mails not allowed)

  10. Chloe Ashford

    It was so terrible when poor Zachary died. I was sitting here watching this wondering what he has grown up to be like and then find out that he died as well. I can't imagine it. These people are so strong to have moved on after having coped with not only their only son, but then their only grandson. Much respect

  11. Lolie Grullon

    Wow! so sad

  12. seasidepress

    kate and david you are everyone's dream parents and grandparents. wishing you love and strength.
    and no more sorrow

  13. Escada Es

    Best documentary I've ever seen. I watched this a year ago and it changed the way I think about things forever. God bless this family.

  14. windowshopper_oz

    I have seen this movie a few times now, first time since I had my babies. I knew it would be hard to watch but I am just hurts so much to think of these people's hardship that the pain is almost exquisite, if that makes sense and I am not sure it does. I worked for Child Welfare in Canada for 5 years, all after this movie was made, and I believe that they have made a difference - everything was checked and double checked and while the system was by no means perfect I think it would have been very unlikely to see such a failure of protocol in the time I did the job. I wish very much that these good people had not had to suffer for this change to be brought about. I know that because of their loss other children have probably been saved, no doubt including Shirley Turner's daughter, who I imagine has had a very difficult life because of her mother's, for lack of a better word, sins...I doubIt that that knowledge would be enough to fill the hole in the Bagsby's hearts. My inlaws live 5 minutes from us and have only met my daughter, who is almost a year old, once, for 5 minutes. They refuse to see our children if I am present, because they feel strongly that their son could have done better. I wish they could see this movie, and see the lengths that Kate and David went to to enjoy every single second they could with that little boy... I am quite certain they hated every minute of interaction with Turner but they weighed the positives of seeing Zachary and felt it was worth it. I hope that they are able to feel the love of all their friends and family and find some small pleasures in their lives in spite of the horror that woman inflicted...

    1. Ibeenthere5

      no, they still don't change, I doubt if there is documentation when this is reported. My son and us have been going through this for 9 years, although she has not done anything we walk on egg shells, when the children tell us things she does my son reports it, he is not rich by any means and cps woman said amazing what money can do.

  15. helloworld100

    no words can explain this documentary...just great.....god bless kate n david

  16. safehaven7

    I'm in a state of shock! Just when I think I have heard everything, I see something like this ridiculous miscarriage of justice! Kate and David, my hearts cries for you. You are the 2 storngest people I have ever seen! I live in a small town and am all too familiar with crooked legal systems. But I have never seen anything this offensive. God bless all of you.

  17. S Pilkey

    Whatever words I write could never express or do justice. Just an incredible documentary..God bless

  18. kia56

    Amazing. at its core.

  19. kia56

    this is what i want to do for a living...make documentaries like this that can change things in our society. wonderful. amazing. smart. factual. most importantly Truth.

  20. Timi Taaffe

    AMAZING documentary. If you are going to watch one, make it this one. It draws you in and keeps you there. UNBELIEVABLE! And I had never even heard this story! The family and friend relationships are so incredible. One could only wish to have a friend like Kurt. This one will leave you raw...

  21. Tanya Anderssen

    Wow..amazing doc!!! so so so sad. Kate and David u are truly an inspiration. hats off to u for making this. I am the mother of an only son who is 21 yrs old, if I lost him, life would b over as I know it. I was not expecting the outcome of this, wow. As a Canadian from Ottawa, Ont, this sickens me. Some 1 should have taken that ******* b*tch Shirley out long ago, or locked her up indefinitely. R.I.P Andrew & Zack.

    1. Ibeenthere5

      no one listens

  22. Valerie Pippi

    Just broke my heart. Tears are still running. Justice failed miserably. So, so sad.

  23. Lynsee

    This documentary is crushing.

  24. Matt

    If there were any justice in the world, that bitch Turner would have been thrown in the deepest darkest hole and left to die like the animal that she was.

  25. Holly Ratliff

    WOW,i started to stop watching,then something led me to continue and watch to the end and all i can say is iam numb,tears fell from the start,i thought it was over,then i watched the last part and wow,the system really let this family down so bad its not funny,God is with them and all my prayers too,iam so sorry for this tragedy that shouldn't of even happened the second time,im pissed as i said the system sucks,wow and Shirley ,your a bitch who im sure is burning right about now,stupid,this is the saddest documentary iv seen.

  26. ranii02

    first off, this shirley lady IS a psycho! and secondly, the Judge Welsh that set her free on the basis that "she isnt a threat to the public" (around the 52minute mark) also a fcking lunatic. I am appauled to be a criminal law student in Ontario and to hear of a case in New foundland. How is she a fcking Judge?! OMG IM SO MAD!

    this is a trully heart breaking documentary. before the end i was imagining an epilogue scene with Zach now 9 years old.. im at a loss of words right now.

  27. Fiona Southworth

    I watched this documentary for the first time this evening and I'm still rather numb. I can't express my gratitude for Kurt Kuenne for having made this heart-wrenching, inspiring film. There are many flaws in both the Canadian and American judicial system and this film highlights not only the flaws but the effects those flaws have on people.

    If you watch any documentary at any point in the near future, I sincerely hope it is this one.

  28. Filius DeNemo

    This is one of those cases in which I am a liberal in America but a Conservative in Canada/Europe.

  29. Janne Börje Niemi

    This is a sad sad story.I've watched it 4 times and im showing all of my friends too.My heart too goes out to the Bagby family and to the many friends of Andrew.10+ doc...

  30. XZanthia

    This is by far one of the best Documentaries that I have ever seen. And I watch a lot! LOL. It is very sad and most of my male friends refuse to watch it. However it is shot and edited beautifully. It is created with such diligence and love. The over all story although heartbreaking is powerful and needed to become public to stop things from happening like this again.
    Andrews death was their - Vasoon

  31. Mayra

    I cried so much during this doc/:

  32. Rachelnico

    Great doc, the narrator/producer did a really good job.

  33. aaangie123


  34. tomregit

    I am Canadian. All Canadians should be aware of this travesty and take responsibility for our collective guilt.

    All too often, we have been smug in our false pride in being different from Americans, particularly after 9/11 and the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld years. There are honest, thoughtful, moral people in all places and a few psychopaths who are among us. I live at the absolute far end of our country from the last province to join Confederation, Newfoundland. A difficult economy has caused many "Newfies" to leave "the Rock" and seek employment across Canada. They have brought their strange accent, their unique culture, their strong morals and ethics, but above all their down to earth warmth and humanity. Yet this terribly sick twisted person once walked among them.

    My heart goes out to the Bagby family and to the many friends of Andrew. Not only do bad things happen to good people, sometimes the worst things happen to the best people. Thanks to Kurt Kuenne for the lovingly crafted, beautiful film which I will watch again after the emotional impact subsides enough. As always, thanks Vlatko.

  35. Gunnar

    Breathtaking - one of the best documentary I have seen.

  36. redteddy

    What's more disturbing about this documentary is its a reminder that there is one less good person in the world, someone lost because of another's sickness. This woman really left a void in the world.

  37. redteddy

    The mother wasn't 'a devil' but a classic sociopath and the lesson of this film is that sociopaths/psychopaths DO NOT CHANGE, the behaviour they display is who they are and they cannot be rehabilitated. Kate describes the mother as being without genuine emotion, as a person who mimics emotion and that is typical. These are not people you can appease or be nice to or give a little bit of slack. They will use your compassion against you. They are unconscionable and manipulative and see others as objects or extensions of themselves. They cannot empathize. If she were properly vetted by a well trained psychiatrist then the courts would not have been so lenient or rather I should say completely irresponsible. I hope that judge is de-benched and I hope legal establishment takes a close look at the mistakes they made in this case so nothing so tragic ever happens again.

    1. avd420

      Dime store psychology: Google it.

  38. Micah

    A very rare kind of doc. This story is truly a wake up call. So horrible. My heart was weakened but touched by this documentary.

  39. Kirsten

    This film was so well done. What a wonderful man Andrew was and what amazing parents he had. David and Kate are truly inspiring people and my heart ached for them watching this film. As a Canadian this angers me about the legal system and I applaud David and Kate for using their lives to make changes. I will be writing a letter in support of these changes.

  40. ash breaks stuff

    This was so heartbreaking. What that woman did to the Bagby family is truly disturbing.

  41. jessica

    I saw this about 3 years ago, and I will never, ever forget this story. My husband and I bawled our eyes out watching this documentary. The horror the Bagby's endure is almost physically painful to watch, but they are amazing people, and I strongly recommend this film, just get have some tissue ready.

  42. Carrie

    I agree the film was well put together.

  43. Carrie

    This is the saddest story - I've watched it 2X - It makes me very angry at the Canadian/US justice relations - Or was it the drs. protecting her .... either way she sure suckered the authorities. Boo to them, why didnt her psyciatrist see any of the phoney behavior??? Too too sad. Beautiful people totally ripped off by a psycopath 'doctor'!!!!

  44. GoldenLady

    PLEASE watch this. This is an incredibly sad, sad story. However, it speak triumphs about love and survival. It makes you want to be a better person at the end of it all. The lives of Kate and David are some of the most amazing that I've ever had the opportunity to get a glimpse of.

    Vlatko, please add to the featured doc reel on the home page and thanks for your work here.

  45. brad reynolds

    Ahhhhhhh best documentary ever. Absolute must watch.

  46. Fi-licious. ;)

    Cirkel... this is what I did: just 'pause' the movie for a while so it loads. Watch something else and go back to it in about 30 min... you'll be able to view it then. ;)

  47. Cirkel

    I cannot watch the film, it stops every 2 minutes, and I really want to! I am in northern europe. Do you have another link?

  48. Fi-licious. ;)

    Kate & David Bagby are my heros. I would have been honoured to have them as parents...even as friends. Their son and grandson did not die in vain - as they will live on in the hearts of millions (yes) who see this film. For those who were fortunate enough to meet Andrew and Zachary in person, I have to admit, I'm very envious, but thankful, that they will remember them in body, soul and spirit forever. You will be united together with both of them again... and the 'egg donor mother' will have her reckoning with the Almighty. She, who took two precious lives will have finally face her day 'In Court'. God bless you both and thank you for bringing Andrew (and Zachary) into this world to touch others and to make their lives that much better. Thank you. ?

  49. Karenep

    This is the best documentary I have seen by far. I cried from start to finish! It reiterated the importance of having a good and loving mother and father and how parents and family nurture individuals to grow into loving people themselves. I wish Kathleen and David were my parents! They inspired me so much! A must see for all!

  50. Rachael

    I loved this. I don't think I will ever forget watching this, really made an impact with me.
    recommended to EVERYONE.

  51. chocolatestarfish

    wow, good docu indeed. thought it was some sappy whinefest. yet turned out to be just...well, real.

  52. Bill

    well educated, reasonably urbane father balls his eyes out over a profoundly moving documentary. this is what docs are all about to me: passionate individuals who become consumed about telling a story. they upend their lives because they must make this movie. oh how i want to feel that way about something! the irony is that this wonderful filmmaker set out to tell a much different story, the letter, than what the movie turned out to be - hence the punch line of the film.
    brilliant stuff, yet utterly haunting. sublime pain.

  53. Jen

    I hate Welsh.She should be in jail.For the grandparents, God loves you.Zachary will meet his dad Andrew in heaven. The crazy bitch will be in hell.

  54. someone

    Wow! That was amazing.... just wow

  55. Renn

    Best documentary I've seen, or really comes close. I don't cry but this film had me in tears. Very surprising twist and unfortunately an entirely true story. Teaches about friendship, love, hate, good and evil. A must watch for everyone.

  56. Kieran

    Couldn't agree more..... A MUST watch for every docu fan.... I'm a red blooded male.... but blubbed my eyes out... I won't tell you why!!.... Delighted you put this up... I hurt tho for watching it(again)

  57. mazzy

    That 'mother' makes me sick. This documentary however is seamless. It has a rhythm you cannot look away from.