Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Murder of Anne Kasprzak

Who killed Annie Kasprzak — and WHY? 'Injustice with Nancy Grace ...

Annie Kasprzak was only 15 years-old when she was brutally murdered in March 2012. The young girl faced a lot of hard times during her short life. Annie spent most of her childhood in the foster system before she was adopted by Veronica and Dennis Kasprzak when she was nine years old. At some point after the adoption, Veronica and Dennis got divorced and remarried to other people. Annie primarily lived with Veronica and her new husband James Bratcher at their home in Draper, Utah, but she also still spent plenty of time with Dennis and his new wife as well.

Annie was last seen by Veronica and James around 7:45pm on March 10th, 2012. The couple checked Annie's bedroom about an hour later and noticed she was gone. Even more troubling, James found a note tucked under Annie's pillow that stated she was running away to California. Annie wrote in the note that she had told people she was pregnant even though she really was not. She ended the note by writing, "please don't try to look for me because I don't want to be found." After finding the note, Annie's mother and stepfather called the police to report her missing.

The police began their search by looking at Annie's cell phone records. They noticed that Annie's phone pinged several times between 8:45pm and 9:22pm in an area near the Jordan River. After the final ping at 9:22pm, the cell phone went out of service. Annie's parents also shared her diary with police in hopes that it would provide clues as well. Annie had written in her diary about her possibly being pregnant with 14 year-old Darwin 'Christopher' Bagshaw's child. Christopher and Annie were dating at the time, and just weeks before her murder, she told her parents that she was having sex with him. Annie's parents had her take a pregnancy test, which came back negative. However, Annie had entries in her diary that were dated after she had taken the test that indicated that Christopher still thought she was pregnant, and he did not want the baby.

Based on the note Annie left behind, her parents felt that she planned to run away because she was embarrassed about faking her pregnancy. Once the cell phone pings revealed her phone was still in the area, Annie's parents had hope that she would come home. Unfortunately, that did not happen. The morning after Annie was reported missing, a jogger spotted a significant amount of blood under a pedestrian bridge near the Jordan River. Police were called, and investigators began searching the surrounding area. Shortly thereafter, they found Annie's body in the water. She had been brutally beaten to death. 

Annie's case then shifted into a murder investigation. Police inevitably questioned Christopher, but he denied even speaking with Annie on March 10th. Eventually, though, he admitted that he did speak with her on the phone that evening, but he did not know who killed her. Christopher also told police that both he and Annie had hung out at a mutual friend's house in the days before her murder. He explained that Annie got a nosebleed while they were hanging out, and that she might have dripped blood onto him--which would explain why he had a small bloodstain on one of his sneakers. Investigators seized the shoes, along with a few other items, and later confirmed that the blood on his shoe did, in fact, belong to Annie.

Although Christopher denied being involved in Annie's murder, it appeared that police had evidence that indicated otherwise. Still, police did not arrest Christopher right away--and just a few days later, the investigation shifted away from Christopher altogether. About a week after Annie's murder, a woman named Joanna Franklin told police that she witnessed Annie being killed by Daniel Ferry (31) and Veanuia Vehekite (30) during a house party at Daniel's house. Joanna explained that Daniel got angry after Annie refused his sexual advances and subsequently beat her to death with the help of Veanuia.  Daniel already had an extensive criminal history, which is why investigators did not think Daniel's potential involvement was far-fetched. Daniel and Veanuia were both subsequently arrested and held in custody on suspicion of murder.

After their arrests, it appeared that Annie was closer to receiving justice. Unfortunately, this was far from the truth--and there would be many twists and turns in the case before justice was finally served.
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With both Daniel and Veanuia behind bars, investigators then began to try and build their case against the two men. Investigators searched Daniel's house, and they found plenty of evidence of criminal activity--but ultimately nothing was found that linked Annie to Daniel or Veanuia. After searching Daniel's home, he was subsequently charged with both drug possession with intent to distribute and kidnapping--however neither of those charges were related to Annie whatsoever. In fact, it was these very charges that would eliminate Daniel as a suspect in Annie's case altogether--as he was committing these crimes around the same time Annie was killed. After determining it would be impossible for Daniel to commit these crimes and kill Annie at the same time, police announced that Daniel and Veanuia were no longer suspects in Annie's murder. Joanna Franklin would later admit that she only told police that Daniel and Veanuia were responsible for Annie's death in hopes that it would help her break free of criminal charges that she was already facing.

After months of focusing on the wrong suspects, the investigators in Annie's case were back at square one. The case seemed to stall for a bit. Then, a new investigator took on the case and decided to take another look at those closest to Annie prior to her murder--including Christopher Bagshaw. 

Annie's friends reportedly told investigators that Annie had told them she was pregnant with Christopher's baby prior to her murder. Annie's cell phone records also contained messages that indicated that both Annie and Christopher had talked about running away together after she told him she was pregnant. Christopher's cell phone records also contained messages that he had sent to his friend, asking said friend to lie on his behalf about why Annie's blood was on his shoe. The text message read, "The cops might come back to your house. I need you to tell them that Anne got a bloody nose cause she did, but you were lying down and she got some on my shoe and they took my shoes for testing and I need you to tell them that so I don’t get blamed." 

Additionally, Christopher's cell phone records confirmed that Christopher spoke to Annie's mother on the phone the night she was reported missing. Annie's mother had called Christopher to see if he knew where she was, but he denied knowing anything about her whereabouts. However, during that phone call, Christopher's cell phone pinged off a tower located just 100 meters from where Annie's body was later found. It is believed that said phone call occurred very shortly after Annie's death. In October 2014, over two years after the fact, Christopher was arrested and charged with Annie's murder.

Utah teen sentenced 15 years to life for murder of girlfriend ...
Darwin 'Christopher' Bagshaw
Due to the fact that Christopher was only 14 years-old when the murder occurred, he was initially charged in juvenile court. Later, his charges were upgraded to adult status. In 2016, Christopher pleaded guilty to the murder charges. In court, prosecutors explained their belief that Christopher grew scared and angry after Annie told him she was pregnant with his child. He then lured Annie to meet him near the Jordan River under the false promise that the two of them would run away together. Once they met up, Christopher attacked Annie and began beating her with a shovel. Annie fought for her life, but unfortunately Christopher overpowered her and beat her to death. He then dumped her body in the water.

Christopher faced a minimum of 15 years in prison, however at his sentencing, his defense attorneys argued that the sentence should be lesser since she was only 14 when the crime occurred. Still, the judge ultimately handed down a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Christopher remains behind bars today. 

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