Mother who abused 7-year-old to death and lied for charity gets 16 years in prison
DENVER — A Colorado mother who fatally abused her 7-year-old daughter and lied about her health to obtain charitable donations worth at least $100,000 was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison. jail.
Judge Patricia Herron handed down the sentence against Kelly Turner after pleading guilty last month to child abuse, charity fraud and theft.
Authorities said Turner lied to doctors about her daughter Olivia’s medical history while airing her struggles to receive money and other favors from organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The girl had received unnecessary surgeries and medication until her death in Denver hospice in 2017.
That summer, Olivia Gant happily sang Hakuna Matata from The Lion King as she was wheeled into hospice care in Denver in purple pajamas. “That means no worries for the rest of your life,” she sang. The girl died less than a month later.
The video released by her mother Kelly Turner was one of many clips highlighting the little girl’s battle with illness and death, which authorities say was used by her mother to trick doctors into calling for help. favors and donations to help ease her daughter’s pain.
Authorities said Turner spent years manufacturing her daughter’s illness, winning sympathy from TV news reports and charitable foundations like Make-A-Wish, which even threw a ‘Bat Princess’ costume party for her. Olivia in a hotel that cost $11,000.
The girl’s cause of death was initially listed as intestinal failure, but an autopsy later found no evidence of the condition. Authorities have not said what killed her but, according to the indictment, doctors followed Turner’s pressure to stop feeding her daughter.
Turner had pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death, charity fraud and theft between $100,000 and $1 million, prosecutors say.
Psychiatrists said Turner’s behavior appears consistent with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder increasingly featured in movies and TV in which parents or caregivers seek attention from their children’s illness. or their dependents and sometimes cause them injury.
But experts said these types of cases are not easy to detect. She referred to the syndrome herself during an interview with investigators and denied having it.
Turner moved from Texas to Colorado with her three daughters and told doctors over the years, starting in 2012, that Olivia suffered from many ailments and illnesses, convincing medical professionals to perform surgeries and fill prescriptions for illnesses she didn’t have.
Several doctors said Turner was the primary source of information about Olivia’s medical history, according to the indictment. Investigators uncovered blogs, a GoFundMe site and news reports in which Turner described Olivia’s various health issues without medical evidence – including claims that she suffered from a seizure disorder, a tumor and an accumulation of fluid in the deep cavities of his brain.
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During Olivia’s first visit to the emergency room, a doctor thought she seemed to be growing normally. But the following year, a surgeon at the same hospital removed part of his small intestine and inserted a feeding tube.
The actions resulted in a $25 million claim against the hospital system by Olivia’s grandparents and father, arguing that the hospital failed to fulfill its mandatory child abuse reporting duties. The case was resolved in August. A lawyer representing the grandparents said she could not comment further.
Before Olivia was admitted to hospice where she died, doctors said she was only receiving 30% of required nutrition, according to the indictment.
Throughout Turner’s campaign to bring attention to her dying daughter, she solicited donations to help fulfill Olivia’s dreams of catching a bad guy with the police and being a firefighter.
Video released by a suburban city government in Denver shows Olivia boarding a truck, putting out a dumpster fire and telling firefighters to stand at attention – all of which are greeted with smiles and cheers. The little girl laughs despite several medical tubes sticking out of her backpack.
While Turner’s behavior raised suspicions along the way, it wasn’t until Olivia died in hospice care in 2017 and Turner brought her eldest daughter to the same hospital with bone pain as the doctors decided to take a closer look.
Prosecutors declined to say whether Turner still had custody of her other two children. The eldest daughter has not reported any other medical issues or pain complaints since October 2018.
By PATTY NIEBERG, Associated Press/Report for America