Colo. Mom Who Solicited Donations, Sympathy for 'Make-a-Wish' Daughter Is Now Accused of Murder
Kelly Renee Turner allegedly claimed the 6-year-old girl died of intestinal failure, but an autopsy revealed otherwise
A Colorado mom who received media attention and charitable donations while saying her daughter had been diagnosed with myriad health problems is now accused of inducing the girl’s illnesses and murdering her.
Kelly Renee Turner, now 41, was arrested at a hotel in Glendale last Friday in connection with the 2017 death of 7-year-old Olivia Gant, according to a statement from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
She is charged with first-degree murder, child abuse, theft, charitable fraud, attempt to influence a public servant and second-degree forgery.
Turner had claimed the girl had been diagnosed with neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, which caused her to have intestinal failure. On a GoFundMe page she launched that raised nearly $23,000, the mother wrote her daughter was born prematurely and suffered from autism, seizure disorder, developmental delays and a tumor, among other health problems.
CBS-Denver reports that the mom and girl received media attention for Olivia’s “bucket list” of last wishes, including riding in a police patrol car and spraying water on a fire as a firefighter.
According to an indictment against Turner obtained by 9 News, several of the girl’s doctors told investigators they did not believe Olivia’s medical problems were terminal. But an investigation wasn’t launched until Turner allegedly claimed that another child in her care had been diagnosed with cancer.
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The Denver Channel, citing the indictment, reports that during the investigation, Turner herself allegedly brought up Munchausen by proxy syndrome, where a caretaker exaggerates or induces illness in a child for attention and sympathy.
According to the indictment, Turner allegedly admitted to fabricating the second child’s cancer but maintained she had been telling the truth about Olivia.
When Olivia’s body was exhumed, an autopsy showed no evidence that she died of intestinal failure, the indictment states.
Turner is being held without bond in the Douglas County Detention Facility. It was not immediately clear if she has entered a plea or retained an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
A GoFundMe spokesperson tells PEOPLE that the site has banned the account and will process refunds for donors while working with law enforcement.