While those close to a man who was found dead in Mid-City over the weekend suspect he was murdered and are even offering a reward for information leading to his killer, New Orleans police on Wednesday said there is no evidence suggesting he was the victim of violence.
Police said it appears that 34-year-old Julius Rene "Jules" Bagley instead died after falling while leaving a bar. But a relative of Bagley, who asked not to be identified, questioned why there was a four-hour gap between when the reported fall occurred and when first responders were called to examine Bagley after he had been left in a vehicle.
According to a police report obtained by The Advocate, two witnesses said they saw Bagley fall as he left DMac's Bar & Grill in the 500 block of South Jefferson Davis Parkway about 3 a.m. Saturday.
Both had seen him drinking, so they carried him to a car, which one drove to the nearby 500 block of South Clark Street for Bagley to "sleep it off."
Later, paramedics were called out to check on Bagley, who had bruising and discoloration on the left eye, the police report says. According to the report, he was taken to University Medical Center and pronounced dead.
In a separate statement Tuesday, police said physicians at the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office indicated that the man’s facial injuries were consistent with the fall documented by the witnesses, who were described as friends.
“Investigators were also informed that there was no evidence to suggest Bagley suffered any blunt force trauma,“ police said.
Nonetheless, the Coroner’s Office said the cause of Bagley’s death remained under investigation pending the results of a toxicology test, which is likely to take several weeks to complete.
A police officer spoke with two women tending bar at DMac's in the hours before Bagley died; they said they could not recall whether two people whose names were redacted in the police report had been at the establishment. They also said they were not aware of any fights at the bar.
But the relative of Bagley said the family was concerned that some of his belongings appeared to be missing. The family is hoping to learn why his supposed fall wasn't immediately reported and why he was driven to another spot and left there if nothing violent had occurred.
The relative said detectives were at DMac's on Wednesday while Bagley's father was there seeking information.
"Sounds like there were a lot of people there that night," Bagley's uncle, Dr. Beau Bagley, told WWL-TV. "Somebody's got to have some information."
Bagley’s family published an obituary on Tuesday that said he “died due to a senseless act of violence.”
A reward flyer circulated on social media also said Bagley was killed and offered $30,000 “for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for (his) death.”
Bagley is survived by his son, Brayden, and his fiancée, Kimberley Carrero, the obituary said. It described Bagley, who attended St. Ann School and John Curtis Christian School, as a family man who coached his son and the boy's friends in sports.
It also thanked those “who advanced his career working for Moran Towing and earning his captain license.”
Anyone with information on the case can call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Bagley family attorney Adam Stumpf said tipsters also could contact him at (504) 833-5600.
"The family has confidence that the (Police Department) is actively and thoroughly investigating the death of their dad, son, brother, grandson, fiancé, uncle and nephew," Stumpf said in a statement.
This post was updated since it was first published to include information from a police report.