Public Safety

Documents detail last hours Christopher Bagley was seen alive

Someone may have planned to harm him, search warrant application shows

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Several weeks before the body of a missing Iowa man was found buried in southeast Cedar Rapids, investigators were already convinced the man was dead and possibly murdered.

Christopher Bagley, 31, was reported missing to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 17 by his wife, Courtney Bagley. According to court documents, Courtney Bagley told authorities her husband was last seen leaving their Walker home with a woman about 9 p.m. Dec. 13.

Bagley’s body was found nearly three months later buried in a yard on Soutter Avenue SE. An autopsy determined he was stabbed to death.

In the days following the discovery of Bagley’s body, authorities have been tight-lipped about their investigation, but an application for a search warrant filed by Linn County investigators in January to search a mobile home on Mount Vernon Road SE details the hours leading up to the man’s death and threats supposedly made against him.

According to the warrant application, the woman who Bagley left with told investigators they went to her home in Marion and then headed toward Waterloo, stopping at a shop in Robins along the way.

At some point, the document states, the woman’s plans fell through and instead she and Bagley made their way to a mobile home at 7100 Mount Vernon Road SE in Cedar Rapids.

That mobile home is the last place Bagley was seen alive, according to the warrant document.

The woman told investigators that, while they were driving, Bagley called someone on the phone and said he needed help for the “grand finale.” The man Bagley called told investigators he did not know what Bagley was referring to, according to the documents.

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At the mobile home, Bagley and the man who lived there were “talking about ‘hitting licks’ or robbing someone, but not saying who,” the woman told investigators. The woman gave little details about the duo’s plans, but told authorities that Bagley and the man had robbed people together in the past.

One of those people, according to the document, was Bagley’s former marijuana supplier, who the woman said may have paid someone to harm Bagley.

The man who lived in the mobile home told investigators Bagley and the woman discussed “hitting a drug house” and “getting a good score” but did not mention specific plans.

The warrant application states the woman left Bagley at the mobile home about 4:30 a.m. Dec. 14, and the man who lived there told investigators Bagley left the trailer about 7 a.m., though he “did not know who Bagley left with or what vehicle” he got in to when he left.

A neighbor in a nearby mobile home told authorities she heard a “loud bang” in the early hours of Dec. 14, and in the week that followed she saw the man Bagley visited outside of the mobile home “burning items in the same spot repeatedly,” according to the documents.

Authorities said Bagley was a “known drug user” who used marijuana and methamphetamine. Additionally, according to the documents, Bagley was believed to be selling marijuana and “was known to carry a gun.”

Bagley’s body was found on March 1 a few miles west of the mobile home, buried in the backyard of a home in the 4000 block of Soutter Avenue SE. Authorities have not said how that location is connected to Bagley’s disappearance or death.

Through their investigation, authorities said they learned of threats supposedly made against Bagley, stating, “Based on our investigation to this point, it is believed Bagley is deceased and possibly murdered,” according to the warrant application.

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Through their investigation, officials said they learned of a possible “‘hit’ out for Bagley” that was related to an “ongoing feud” between Bagley and a man he used to buy marijuana from, according to the documents.

Additionally, another acquaintance made threats about cutting Bagley’s tongue out to keep him quiet, as Bagley faced possible federal prosecution related to illegal weapons and drug charges, authorities said. No charges had been filed or prosecuted at the time of Bagley’s death.

In their application for the warrant, investigators said they were looking for forensic evidence, firearms, drugs, items belonging to Bagley and “any and all documents, writings, audio recordings and electronic media which may reveal thoughts, details of plans or intentions to harm Christopher Bagley or provide information relevant to this investigation.”

Court documents show the warrant application was granted and authorities on Jan. 8 searched the mobile home where Bagley was last seen alive. The return document states “search warrant served … at 11:50 hours. No items taken during search. Photographs taken.”

No arrests have been made in Bagley’s death, however, a search of the Linn County Jail roster shows two of the men mentioned in the search warrant application are currently being held at the jail for federal authorities.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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