Lauren Agee was born in Mississippi in 1993 to Sherry and Brian Agee. Her parents later divorced and at the time of her death she was residing in Hendersonville, Tennessee with her mother and her mother's new husband, Michael Smith. Lauren was very involved with her entire family, and she was very close to her three siblings; Allison, Jordan, and Joshua. She was described by her friends and loved ones as kind, social and outgoing, with a big personality.
She enjoyed singing and dancing and had received a dance scholarship to Bethel University, however she later left to study Criminal Justice at Vol State University in Gallatin, Tennessee. In 2015, Lauren had a new boyfriend and the relationship looked to be going very well, with many describing him as "the one".
At the start of July 2015, Lauren informed her mother that she and her friend Hannah Palmer had planned a trip to Wakefest, a wake-boarding and water-sports event that was taking place at Centre Hill Lake in Smithville, Tennessee, on the weekend of the 25th to 27th. Sherry has stated was not keen on Lauren attending the festival, as it is known for hard-core drinking and wild partying and her friend Hannah was not the most reliable girl. Sherry explained Hannah as a "fair-weather friend", who came in and out of Lauren's life and seemed to be more anxious with boozing and meeting boys than maintaining her friendships. However by this time, Lauren was 21 and an adult who was allowed to make her own choices, and she decided she was going to attend despite her mother's concerns. She tells Sherry that the two girls will be staying in a cabin near the lake, and will be driving down on Friday and driving back home on Sunday.
When the 25th of July arrives, Lauren packs her sleeping bag and some clothes, says goodbye to her mother and stepfather and Hannah makes the drive to Centre Hill Lake. By all accounts they seemed to be very excited about the weekend ahead, posting photos on social media of themselves in the car, smiling and laughing, unfortunately, the weekend trip would take a devastating turn.
Once the girls arrive at the lake, they are soon joined by Hannah's new boyfriend, Aaron Lilly, and his friend Christopher Stout. It is at this point that the sleeping arrangements seem to change and the foursome ends up camping on a cliff near the lake.
Regardless, Lauren didn't seem to be prepared for camping outside in the elements. The only items she has with her are her sleeping bag, her phone, and a change of clothes, and the only shoes she has are flip-flops, which are hardly a suitable choice of footwear for mountainous terrain.
The area where they were camping is a steep cliffside with a 90-foot drop on one side and a 45-foot drop on the other. The only way for them to get up there is to canoe across the lake to the outcrop and then use a rope to pull themselves up the steep terrain, avoiding trees, bushes, rocks, and several ledges on their assent. Despite the treacherous situations, the foursome reaches the campsite in one piece and begins to set up. The boys have brought a tent for Aaron and Hannah to sleep in and a hammock where Lauren and Chris will be sleeping. Lauren's friend Kassi later reports that Lauren said she was not happy with this arrangement, as she had a boyfriend and said she made it clear that she had no romantic interest in Chris. However as others have pointed out, we only have Kassi's word for this, and so we cannot know for sure what her true feelings about sleeping in the hammock were.
There are only two ways the four can get off the cliff and back to the marina where the evening's events will be taking place; either using the thin rope to haul themselves down or jumping from the cliff and into the water, hoping they miss any jagged rocks on the way. It does seem that cliff-jumping was a regular occurrence at Wakefest, so maybe this was part of the planned activities for that day. Aaron and Chris were thrill-seekers, and I am unsure how Hannah and Lauren felt about the prospect of jumping. However, they agree and so the four jumps off the cliff and into the water below. The three friends later report that Lauren hit her head when she landed in the water following this hill jump, and she may have been slightly concussed.
On top of this, she continued to drink alcohol, which would have done her no favors if she did indeed have a head injury. However, all reports from those who saw or spoke to Lauren that night state she was in a great mood and didn't seem to be suffering from any symptoms of trauma. There is video footage of her in the Marina Bar where she appears lively and in good spirits. There is also video footage from that bar depicting Aaron and Chris getting into what is believed to be an altercation with Aaron's ex-girlfriend, Kassi Franks, who attended the same high school as Lauren. The two girls speak at the bar and Kassi asks Lauren if she and Chris are together. From Kassi's report, Lauren says they are not, stating that she has a boyfriend and she has no emotional feelings towards Chris. She clarifies that she has been inadvertently paired with him for the evening because Hannah is now dating Aaron, and the four are camping together. Kassi also said she could tell there was alcohol in Lauren's system when they spoke.
Some time between 12 and 2 am (the exact time is disputed), the group agrees they want to head back, and it appears Lauren has second thoughts about staying at the campsite. She reportedly asks Kassi if she can stay with her instead, but Kassi informs her there is no room at their cabin. With this, Lauren joins the others and they get ready to make their way back to their campsite.
The journey would be especially perilous as they had consumed large quantities of alcohol, and if Lauren was in any way concussed, it was downright dangerous. It does seem that the foursome was well aware of just how dangerous their campsite was, as a video posted online depicts them getting into a canoe on the lake and shouting: "We're headed for the death trap".
Even though all the odds seem to have been against them, they do make it back unscathed. This seems to be the last anyone reports seeing Lauren alive. It has been suggested that Lauren and Chris took this photo of themselves in the hammock on their return, however many posters have rightly pointed out how bright the picture is, indicating it must have still been light out when it was taken. I noticed this as well, and I don't know what to make of it. Maybe it has just been reported wrong in the media, or maybe Chris purposely told detectives they took it at the end of the night. However, it is indicated they then went to sleep.
At nearly 4:45 pm on the afternoon of the 26th of July, a fisherman and his son are out on the lake when they spot something in the water.
At first, they think it is just a pair of pink shorts, but as they move closer they find it is, in fact, the body of a young woman, floating face down in the water. The police are summoned and as they are attempting to remove the body from the cove, Aaron and Chris round the corner in a canoe. The boys ask the officers if they have found their friend and this is when their behavior is first called into question.
One of the officers would later report that he thought this entire encounter was staged and the boys knew where the body was long before the police did. The cove where Lauren was found is located behind the cliff where the four were camping, but their campsite was put on the side of the cliff that faces the marina (i.e. the opposite side to the cove). So if we are to believe that they didn't know where Lauren was or what occurred to her, then this indicates that they got into the canoe to look for her but went in a different direction, away from the marina, and just stumbled across the scene and her body completely by chance.
Of course, this is possible, but I find it unlikely.
The boys are questioned by the officers, who described their demeanor as nervous and unsympathetic.
The discovery of the body leads detectives to believe that this is indeed Lauren Agee, however they are concerned by the fact that she has not been reported missing until now, some 14 hours after she is last seen. They later interviewed other Wakefest attendees, who argued they hadn't realized that Lauren had not been seen since the last night. Many of the detectives present that day reported that Hannah, Aaron, and Chris seemed unalarmed by the fact that their friend had disappeared. However, all her belongings had been left on the cliff where they had been camping, including her shoes. It is my opinion that it is highly unlikely that anyone could have scaled the side of that cliff barefoot, and so the only way Lauren could have voluntarily left was if she jumped.
However, she would have to do this in the early hours of the morning, in the dark, drunk, and without taking any of her possessions. Why would she have jumped off the cliff anyway? It has been suggested she was being picked up by another group in a boat. This is logical, but if true, why didn't these people come forward?
After finding out the body, the three friends are taken by boat to the mainland for further questioning and this is where their stories begin to diverge. Aaron says Lauren never made it back to the camp with them after leaving the bar, while Hannah claims Lauren left the campsite in the early hours of the morning, getting into a boat with some random boys. She stated that she saw all of Lauren's items under the hammock and so presumed she had gone to meet other people but would be back to collect her things, so she wasn't too worried.
Chris states he thinks Lauren got up in the middle of the night, but he didn't feel her leaving the hammock.
If she had gotten up while the others were sleeping and had fallen off the cliff accidentally, I believe they would have heard something. Despite their differing accounts of where Lauren went, they all claim they woke up later that morning and Lauren was nowhere to be found.
However, they agreed not to report her disappearance to the police or make any real effort to look for her, because they assumed she went off with other people. This entire discussion between the three friends and the police takes place on the boat to the mainland, and the officers describe the trio as being very nervous throughout, whispering to each other constantly, with Aaron frequently saying "don't mention anything, I'll do the talking".
When one of the officers asks them what they are thinking about, Aaron reportedly says "I'm thinking about how I am going to get that gun from your hip and get off this boat"
Meanwhile, Lauren's body is brought back to shore and is examined by both the medical examiner and the local police.
The postmortem revealed Lauren had suffered blunt force trauma, as well as a catalog of other wounds; including broken fingers, a broken nose and bruises, and hemorrhaging on her back and thighs. What was surprising, however, was that Lauren had very little water in her lungs, which would be extraordinary if she had indeed fallen from the cliff whilst alive. I know there is the assumption that she could have suffered dry-drowning, but the Generation Why team was right to point out that dry drowning usually occurs in young children or people with poor health, which would not apply to Lauren.
Despite these inconsistencies, officials rule the death as accidental and state no foul play is suspected. They assume that Lauren fell off the cliff while drunk, hit the side of the cliff as she fell, causing her injuries, and then suffered blunt force trauma when she entered the water, due to the force of her fall.
Lauren's mother is notified of her daughter's death and asks to speak to her friends, she is notified by authorities that they were questioned and released.
Sherry is very concerned by this, but she initially feels she has little evidence to go on, and so refrains from demanding a further inquiry. She soon begins to question why Lauren's friends had not called the police when they realized she was missing.
Sherry reports she is then contacted by one of the officers who were at the scene that day, who states he does doubt foul play in her daughter's case. He relays the full details of the three friends' odd behavior and when she hears they all gave numerous stories, she becomes upset and requests a reexamination of the case, but this is denied.
Kassie Franks reported she was equally as disturbed by the circumstances encircling Lauren's death and tried to voice her concerns to authorities. She informed them that while she was dating Aaron Lilly, he was violent towards her and she produced photographs of her injuries. He was arrested on charges of domestic violence, for biting and choking her during an altercation. She reveals Chris Stout also had a record and had been charged with 3 DUIs, including one for fleeing the scene of an accident. However, the police still insist that Lauren's death was due to misadventure and until this day, are refusing to interrogate further.
The three friends returned to their normal lives after Lauren's death. Hannah and Aaron continued dating and eventually moved away to Florida together.
A later report by Sherry states she reached out to Hannah via Skype, requesting more information about the day of her daughter's death. This is when Sherry says Hannah changes her story again, telling her that Lauren went to pee in the middle of the night and fell off the cliff. In the middle of this Skype call, Sherry reports that Hannah's cell phone rings and she answers while Lauren's mother is still on Skype. Sherry claims that the call is from Aaron and she hears him tell Hannah to "shut up and stick to the story".
We have no way of verifying whether this is true, but if it is then this trio must be so unbelievably stupid, I cannot fathom how they have managed to get away with a crime.
Currently, Aaron and Hannah are married and have a child together.
Sherry decided to hire a private detective, who has the postmortem reexamined. This reveals that the original inquiry failed to disclose that Lauren had to hemorrhage in her throat, which could have indicated choking.
Concern to them is why a rape kit was never done to Lauren's body. The police explain that Lauren had a tampon in, so that couldn't mean she was raped.
It sucks that the police have ruled this case an accident despite all of the contrasting proof.
It seems to me that maybe they don't want to handle all of the police work that would be involved in investigating a case with that many possible witnesses, but that's no excuse for shoddy police work.
Her "friends" did this to Lauren, even how Chris & Aaron were canoeing to the spot where Lauren's body was found. It was like they KNEW where her body was.
Didn't police find that skeptical as well? Like how did they knew where Lauren's body was?
Even they all carried on at wake fest as nothing occurred, then Chris posting that picture on Instagram... something is VERY suspicious here.
Sherry did say that Hannah was never really a “friend” to Lauren because she would only talk to her when she needed something and that they were never really close.
I think Lauren was murdered but her death was a cover-up since Hannah's family or Aaron's were rich or political, It seems like there are dirty paid-off cops or judges involved. One of them has to have connections, or something because the judge was way out of line & law enforcement just wanted to close the case. Something is super sketchy.
Let's hope the case is being handled professionally.