A mother duped doctors and medical professionals into believing her daughter was suffering from debilitating illnesses before the child died. According to reports, she almost got away with murder after she allegedly orchestrated the 7-year-old’s death. That’s when the little girl spoke from the grave.
Kelly Turner was arrested in connection to the death of her daughter Olivia Gant, whom Turner claimed suffered from several diseases, including a seizure disorder and a buildup of fluid in cavities within her brain, according to the indictment. At the time of her death, it was believed Olivia had succumbed to her alleged condition. The official cause of death was ruled intestinal failure. Sadly, that wasn’t the case at all.
The 7-year-old endured more than 1,000 doctor visits and dozens of unnecessary surgeries before Turner allegedly put a “do not resuscitate” order in place and withdrew her daughter’s feeding tube and IVs. Withdrawing those treatments, which provided Olivia with nutrients, led to her death. No one was none the wiser to what had really happened until Turner’s other child allegedly fell ill.
“Authorities began their investigation after Turner claimed that her other teenage daughter had been diagnosed with cancer, which medical records showed was not true,” New York Post reported. “Olivia’s body was exhumed as part of an investigation and found no signs of intestinal failure, according to the indictment. Officials also found no evidence that she suffered from any of the conditions that her mother had claimed she did.”
Grilled by investigators, the mom spontaneously brought up Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological disorder in which parents make up serious illnesses of their loved ones to get attention, authorities say. “That has never been my case, like at all, whatsoever,” Turner said in the interview, according to the New York Post.
Olivia’s doctors claimed that they repeatedly said the youngster was not terminally ill, starting from when the girl started getting treatment four years before her death, the complaint said. Turner utilized her daughter’s fake illness to go on a high-profile fundraising blitz. Her “Go Fund Me” campaign raised nearly $23,000 and the Make-A-Wish Colorado Foundation spent $11,264 on a bat princess party for the girl, who was separately made an honorary police chief and then a firefighter during ride-alongs.
Medicaid also overpaid Kelly Turner $538,991 for treatments that authorities now say the girl no longer needed, according to the indictment. The 43-year-old was charged with 13 criminal counts that included first-degree murder, child abuse, theft, and charitable fraud in a grand jury indictment.
Looking at potential life in prison, Turner opted for a plea deal with the prosecutor. The allegedly mentally ill mom pleaded guilty to felony child abuse negligently causing death, felony theft, and felony charitable fraud, according to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. Other charges, including murder, were dismissed per the agreement, spokesperson Vikki Migoya of the DA’s Office told NBC.
Kelly Turner faces up to 16 years in prison. “[The results of Munchausen syndrome by proxy] can be heinous, they can be dangerous, or, as in this case, they can be deadly,” said District Court Judge Patricia Herron, according to KUSA. “It’s a horrific, depraved condition when left undetected can result in exactly what happened here – the death of a young child.”
Make-A-Wish Colorado told the Denver Post it was “deeply disturbed” by the horrendous situation. “As we seek to learn more about the circumstances that led to Olivia’s death, we fondly remember her spirit and hope that granting her wish brought some joy to her tragic life,” a spokesperson told the paper. Olivia’s grandfather said if just one doctor at Colorado Children’s Hospital would have come forward with their concerns, Olivia might still be alive. “That would have saved her life,” he alleged. “We’d have custody. She’d still be with us.”