A jury will hear testimony in March detailing the events that led to the August 2009 drowning deaths of two Licking brothers.
Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker said he has filed a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Jesse James Bagley, 7, and his 4-year-old brother, Wyatt Earp Bagley. Their bodies were found Aug. 10 in the Big Piney River behind their home in remote northwest Texas County.
A coroner’s jury will hear testimony beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, March 12, inside the Texas County Justice Center.
“There are still lingering questions surrounding the deaths of these two boys — questions that need answers,” Whittaker said. “Missouri statutes give the coroner the authority to impanel a coroner’s jury. This jury will hear testimony that will help determine how these brothers came to their deaths and whether it was by accident, by their own hand or by felony. Impaneling this jury will hopefully insure that justice is served by full disclosure of all the facts to the public.”
A 911 call for help was received around 5:20 p.m. Aug. 9 after the brothers went missing, according to authorities. Whittaker previously said he believes the boys, who were playing unattended with their younger sister, had entered the water between 3-5 p.m.
Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said 1-2 hours may have passed before the boys’ mother, Jennifer Bagley, called authorities to report Jesse and Wyatt were missing. Watson also the clothes of 3-year-old Belle Starr Louise Bagley were wet and that she had also likely been in the river.
Authorities said Belle alerted her mother that her siblings were missing. She and both grandparents, who rented the home on Hazelwood Drive, were inside.
Watson said the children had been playing unsupervised near the house when he believes all three ended up in or near the water. Nearly 300 searchers combed the rugged, wooded terrain surrounding the house by foot, horseback, four wheelers, boats and helicopter throughout the night until the boys’ bodies were discovered shortly after 7 a.m.
Watson previously said he believed the family members were at least negligent.
“They did nothing other than the fact that the children were not supervised with the river being nearby,” he said in August. “They were in the house and not watching the children.”