In July of 2015, 21-year-old Lauren Agee left home to spend a weekend at the lake. Sadly, Agee never returned. Days after Agee and her friends embarked on their journey to WakeFest, an annual wakeboarding event, Agee was found floating lifelessly in Center Hill Lake. More than five years after she was found dead in Dekalb County, Tenn., Agee's family is still searching for answers.
What really happened to Lauren Agee?
According to reports, Lauren Agee and four of her friends — Hannah Palmer, Aaron Lilly, Chris Stout, and Brixner Gambrell — arrived in Dekalb County, Tenn., on Friday, July 24. Her friends learned that she was missing after a night of partying on June 26. After hours of searching, Agee’s body was later discovered in a cove and her death was ruled an accident.
Agee’s friends claimed that Agee and Chris Stout slept in a hammock the night before her disappearance, while Lilly and Agee's childhood best friend, Palmer, slept in a tent. Palmer said in a police interview, “I woke up and I woke [Stout] up and I said, ‘Where is Lauren?’ And he said, ‘She got up a while ago, but I didn’t feel her.’ … And I said, ‘How long?’ And he said he didn’t know.”
Stout told detectives that he assumed that Agee had gotten up earlier than the rest of the group and left. He recalled, “We then went down to the boat dock … and we waited and waited and waited.”
A medical examiner later determined that Agee “fell from a cliff, landed on rocks, and rolled into the lake,” but new evidence has surfaced that suggests otherwise.
The truth about what happened to Lauren Agee is still unclear, but her mother, Sherry Smith, believes she has a pretty good idea of how her daughter died. Since Agee’s untimely death, Smith has fought relentlessly to get justice for her daughter, even enlisting the help of veteran private investigator Sheila Wysocki in 2016.
Both Smith and Wysocki agree that Agee’s case was mishandled and have subsequently taken legal action. Here’s an update on Lauren Agee’s case in 2021.
Here’s an update on Lauren Agee’s case.
After Lauren Agee’s case became nationwide news, several witnesses stepped up to share their accounts of what happened the night she went missing, but their testimonies didn’t do much to sway detectives. In the past, Smith has been vocal about her disappointment in how the DeKalb County Sherriff’s Office and the Assistant District Attorney have handled her daughter’s case and eventually took matters into her own hands.
In 2017, two years after her daughter’s death, Smith filed a $10 million wrongful death suit against the last people to see her daughter, but according to the grieving mother, her case was not about money — it was about the truth.
To see where Smith is on her quest for justice today, tune into MTV’s True Life Crime on Wednesday, July 14 at 10 p.m. EST.