On or about October 23, 2018, the Coeburn Police Department responded to Wagner's residence to assist child protective services workers from the Wise County Department of Social Services in the investigation of possible child neglect. Upon arrival, investigators observed a foul and nauseating odor emanating from Wagner's home, rotten food, unwashed dishes, piles of rotting garbage, an infestation of flies and insects, maggots on the children's car-seats, dirty diapers, disarray throughout the residence, and animal or human feces and urine on the floors of each room. Wagner's five children, who had been residing in these conditions, were removed by Wise County DSS. Deputies from the Wise County Sheriff's Department assisted Coeburn Police officers.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "Child neglect cases are far too common. We believe that every child should be free from any form of abuse, neglect, or endangerment. In this case, Mr. Wagner failed to provide his own children with an adequate safe, clean, and stable home. His conduct showed a reckless disregard for their lives and safety. I am so thankful for the diligent efforts of social workers and police officers in protecting these children from a life threatening environment. I am also proud of Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Michela Panell and Ken Lammers who fought hard in court to secure these convictions and hold the offender accountable for his actions."