Lauren Agee: How Did She Die? Was She Killed?

Image Credit: Nicole/Find a Grave

In the episode titled ‘MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF: Lauren Agee’ of ‘Crime Junkie Podcast,’ the listeners are provided with a detailed account of the untimely death of 21-year-old Lauren Agee whose body was found floating in the lake near the wakeboarding festival she was attending with her friends. Reported as an accident, Lauren’s family suspected that there was foul play involved in her mysterious death as they took matters into their own hands.

How Did Lauren Agee Die?

A free-spirited young woman, Lauren Taylor Agee was the beloved daughter of Mrs. Sherry Anderson and Brian Agee. Born on August 19, 1993, in Biloxi in Harrison County, Mississippi, Lauren was brought up alongside her loving siblings, brother Joshua Smith as well as sisters Alison Bivens and Jordan Smith. Her world revolved around her family members and she never missed a chance to show them how much importance they held in her life. Though the Agees were a lovely family, things didn’t work out between Brian and Sherry, who got divorced while Lauren was growing up. Following their split, both parents embarked upon separate paths in life. Sherry found love again when she met Michael Smith, and the two tied the knot eventually.

Image Credit: Nicole/Find a Grave

Lauren shared a good relationship with her father as well as her stepfather and his kids. At the time of her death, she was a resident of Hendersonville, Tennessee, where she lived with her mother, stepfather, and siblings. The 21-year-old fierce woman led an independent lifestyle, free from the shackles of traditional societal standards. Like a bright flame in the darkness, Lauren was the sunshine that brightened the lives of everyone she met with her mesmerizing beauty, warm-heartedness, and radiant and dimpled smile. A zesty personality who loved life and all its quirks, she was quite outdoorsy and never shied away from going on adventures that challenged her resilience and spirit.

Lauren’s undying love for animals showcased her compassion. Being an extrovert, Lauren never had problems making friends. Her ability to be the first one to offer help in need, trustworthy nature, quick wit, and humor made her quite popular in her group. She was quite passionate about music and dance and had scored several medals in gymnastics. While she was a student at Hendersonville High School, Lauren spent four years performing with the celebrated Hendersonville High Golden Girls dance team. Her dedication to the craft earned her a scholarship at Bethel University.

However, she didn’t take it up and chose to pursue Criminal Justice at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin as her major. With a supportive family, caring friends, a loving boyfriend, and good grades, Lauren’s life seemed sorted until everything came crashing down in the summer of 2015. Upon receiving an invitation from a friend to attend the annual wakeboard competition called WakeFest at Center Hill Lake, Lauren secured permission from her mother, packed her bags, and headed to Smithville in DeKalb County for the festival in the last week of July.

Lauren had a great time camping with her friends on a steep cliff near Pates Ford Marina on Saturday night. However, she went missing the next morning, precisely July 26, 2015. The fun-filled trip soon turned into a tragedy when the 21-year-old was found floating with her face down in a nearby cove on Center Hill Lake, at a 90-feet drop from the cliff, by two fishermen. The authorities were immediately alerted, and her remains were sent for medical examination. As per the examiner’s report, Lauren incurred blunt force trauma after falling from the cliff and slamming on the rocks before slipping into Center Hill Lake and possibly drowning.

Was Lauren Agee Killed?

Upon the discovery of Lauren Agee’s body, the police launched an investigation right away, determined to get to the bottom of the case. As they interrogated the victim’s family members and friends, especially with whom she attended the festival, several new and important details emerged. On July 25, 2015, Lauren was accompanied by her best friend Hannah Palmer, Hannah’s boyfriend Aaron Lilly, and his friend Chris Stout, as she went to WakeFest, a grassroots wakeboarding tournament that takes place annually in Tennessee.

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The festival usually calls for a late-night party with people camping out on houseboats and cabins around Center Hill Lake, which was what Lauren and her friends were planning to do that weekend. They were staying at a campsite that lay on an outcropping with about a 35-foot drop down to the lake on one side and a 90-foot drop to the lake on the other side, making it a risky place to camp. According to Lauren’s friends, they partied late into the night of July 25, 2015, and were drunk when they returned to the campsite. Lauren slept in the hammock that was placed near the edge of the cliff. When they woke up the next morning, she was nowhere to be seen.

Instead of reporting Lauren missing, Hannah and the others assumed that she might have gone to meet someone, with all her belongings still at the campsite. Soon, her body was found floating in Tennessee’s Center Hill Lake by a pair of fishermen. After retrieving her body from the cove, the police sent it for an autopsy. The results showed no signs of foul play, but the cause of her death turned out to be blunt force trauma to the head, with her blood alcohol level being twice the legal limit. According to the official report, she fell from the cliff, hit her head on the rocks, and possibly drowned in the lake.

Although her death was ruled an accident, Lauren’s mother, Sherry Smith, did not believe it and hired a private investigator to carry out the investigation thoroughly. Upon looking at her daughter’s autopsy reports, Sherry noticed what appeared to be a bite mark on one of Lauren’s breasts and some signs of strangulation. Refusing to believe that Lauren died of accidental drowning, she believed that her daughter was killed and then placed in the water as there was no water found in her lungs. Some kind of bruising was also spotted on the victim’s thighs. Since Hannah, Aaron, and Chris were the last ones to see her daughter alive, Sherry was always suspicious of them and filed a wrongful death suit against them in order to get them to talk.

Image Credit: NewsChannel5

To strengthen her case further, Sherry hired a hydrologist who confirmed her doubt about the tragedy being an accident. The professional reported that had Lauren fallen from the cliff where she was camping that night, she could not have been found where she was found. However, her case against Hannah, Aaron, and Chris was dismissed by the court due to insufficient evidence. On the other hand, this decision was overturned by the Tennessee Court of Appeals, which meant that Sherry and the rest of Lauren’s family had every right to file another wrongful death lawsuit against the group of friends. In their defense, the trio still claim that they had nothing to do with Lauren’s death.

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