A Colorado woman who said her 7-year-old daughter’s death was due to a rare, incurable disease was charged with murder, it was reported.
Kelly Renee Turner, 41, was charged with two counts of murder and child abuse in the death of her daughter, Olivia Gant, in August 2017. The details were confirmed by Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock on Monday after a grand jury indicted her, Fox31 reported.
He said, “While it has been an extremely emotional case, they have investigated all aspects of it with diligence and professionalism.” The sheriff added that he is “extremely proud and impressed with the determination of all agencies involved, especially my detectives.”
It’s not clear how the girl actually died.
Turner had claimed that her daughter was terminally ill with neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, which she claimed had caused her to suffer intestinal failure, The Denver Channel reported.
Turner was arrested on Friday, Oct. 19 at a hotel in Glendale, Colorado. She was also indicted on theft, charitable fraud, and forgery charges, officials said.
Before the girl’s death, she went on ride-alongs with Denver police officers as part of a bucket list before her death two years ago, the Denver Channel reported, adding that she was also made honorary police chief.
However, Olivia never had cancer in the first place. Her mother also claimed her other daughter had cancer, but she did not, said a grand jury.
“There is a concern that [mother of child] may have been benefiting from this attention and motivated some of the medical treatment [mother of child] sought for both [daughter’s name] and [daughter’s name],” the redacted indictment said, according to the Denver Channel. “There is a concern that [mother of child] has lied about the children’s medical conditions and therefore may have caused harm to the children and or caused them to have significant medical procedures.”
Turner, according to the report, “reported several conditions and procedures that never happened” and falsified information about the second daughter.
Investigators then noted that Turner, on her own, brought up Munchausen-by-Proxy Syndrome. Investigators questioned why she would bring the syndrome up.
She eventually admitted to officials that she fabricated her second daughter’s cancer diagnosis, but she said that Olivia’s health condition was accurate, saying she had developmental disabilities and severe intestinal disorders.
In November 2018, Olivia’s remains were exhumed before an autopsy was carried out. Arapahoe County Coroner Dr. Kelly Lear said her manner of death was not determined, saying there was a lack of findings that showed her cause of death was intestinal failure or what her mother had described.
Investigators say Olivia had been using a feeding tube and was admitted in July 2017 to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where doctors said her nutrition was deficient. One doctor told investigators that Turner wanted to withdraw all medical care and artificial feeding for her daughter because her quality of life was so bad. He said she insisted that he sign a “do not resuscitate” order for her daughter.
Doctors had said Olivia wouldn’t be able to survive on IV nutrition, and Turner was given the option of taking her home on hospice care, according to the indictment. Olivia died a few weeks later.
Several doctors who were interviewed said Olivia did not have a terminal condition. The girl started getting treatment at the hospital in 2013 after moving from Texas, where Turner’s husband stayed behind.
“Olivia was with us for a very short time, but through her short life and big battles she taught us that we can be joyful in all things,” Olivia’s obituary read. “After many operations and numerous stays in the hospital, Olivia always came home with a smile.”
“It was only the last month that the playing and talking began to cease,” the obituary concluded. “Our precious little princess will now have a new body, no tubes, no more pain or sickness and everlasting joy with our Lord. See you in heaven our precious Olivia added.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.