When 45-year-old Stanley Frank Hagan died after five days in the hospital, his family thought his injuries and subsequent death had been caused by a nasty fall down some stairs resulting in his head hitting a mobile home tie-down stake.
"We were just so upset by the fact that it had happened," said his sister, Susan Koerber of Gordonville. "When the burial was over with, things just started to settle down."
Some time later, police told Hagan's family that his death was probably no accident.
Now a Scott County grand jury has indicted 18-year-old Marcus A. Bowers of Scott City with first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges in the death.
Police informed the family that they had changed their focus to a murder investigation months ago, Koerber said. "We were kept apprised by the Scott City Police Department as to what was going on ... that's basically all there was," Koerber said.
Koerber said the family as shocked by the death, and equally shocked by the news that police thought it was a murder. She said her brother had a "hard life" but was a good person and a good father to his son.
Koerber said waiting was difficult, especially after the family had accepted the death as an accident. The later news that foul play was suspected reopened the emotional wounds of the grieving process, but now the family is ready to see justice done and get some closure, she said.
"While we can not comment on the case at this time, we would like to say that we are happy with the way the Scott City Police Department and its officers have handled the investigation," Koerber said in written remarks on behalf of the family. "We hope that justice will be served, therefore giving our family the closure we need."
In a later phone conversation with the Southeast Missourian, Koerber expressed no anger toward Bowers.
"I hate that it has happened, and I hate that this is happening to this young man's life," she said.
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