By PATTY NIEBERG, Related Press/Report for America
DENVER (AP) — A Colorado mom who fatally abused her 7-year-old daughter and lied about her well being to get handouts from charities value a minimum of $100,000 has been sentenced to 16 years in jail.
A choose issued the sentence to Kelly Turner on Wednesday after she pleaded responsible final month to little one abuse, charitable fraud and theft.
Authorities say Turner lied to medical doctors about her daughter Olivia’s medical historical past whereas broadcasting her struggles to obtain cash and different favors from organizations just like the Make-A-Want Basis.
The woman had acquired pointless surgical procedures and medicines up till her demise in Denver hospice care in 2017.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story is beneath.
In late summer time 2017, Olivia Gant cheerfully sang Hakuna Matata from “The Lion King” as she was wheeled into hospice care in Denver carrying purple pajamas. “It means no worries for the remainder of your days,” she sang. The 7-year-old died lower than a month later.
The video put out by her mom Kelly Turner is one in every of many clips highlighting the little woman’s battle with illness and demise, which authorities say was utilized by her mom to dupe medical doctors and name for favors and donations to assist ease her daughter’s ache.
Authorities say Turner spent years fabricating her daughter’s sickness, gaining sympathy from tv information tales and charitable foundations like Make-A-Want, which even threw a “bat princess” costume social gathering for Olivia at a resort that price $11,000.
The woman’s explanation for demise was first listed as intestinal failure, however an post-mortem later discovered no proof of that situation. Authorities haven’t stated what killed her however, in response to the indictment, medical doctors went together with Turner’s push to cease feeding her daughter.
On Wednesday in a courtroom in Denver, Turner will probably be sentenced after pleading responsible final month to little one abuse leading to demise, charitable fraud and theft between $100,000 and $1 million, in response to prosecutors. Turner had additionally been charged with a number of counts of first-degree homicide, try and affect a public servant and forgery.
Turner is in custody pending sentencing.
Psychiatrists say Turner’s conduct appears in line with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a psychological dysfunction more and more featured in motion pictures and tv through which dad and mom or caregivers search consideration from the sickness of their kids or dependents and typically trigger them accidents. However consultants say most of these instances will not be straightforward to detect. She introduced up the syndrome on her personal throughout an interview with investigators and denied she had it.
Turner moved to Colorado from Texas along with her three daughters and instructed medical doctors through the years, starting in 2012, that her daughter Olivia was sick with quite a few illnesses and illnesses, convincing medical professionals to carry out surgical procedures and fill prescriptions for diseases that she did not have.
A number of medical doctors stated that Turner was the first supply of data for Olivia’s medical historical past, in response to the indictment. Investigators found blogs, a GoFundMe web site and information tales through which Turner described Olivia’s numerous well being circumstances with out medical proof — together with claims that she suffered from a seizure dysfunction, a tumor and a buildup of fluid within the cavities deep inside her mind.
At Olivia’s first ER go to, a health care provider thought she seemed to be rising usually. However the subsequent yr, a surgeon on the similar hospital eliminated a part of her small gut and inserted a feeding tube.
The actions prompted a $25 million declare towards the hospital system by Olivia’s grandparents and father, arguing that the hospital didn’t do their duties as necessary reporters of kid abuse. The case was resolved in August. A lawyer representing the grandparents stated she couldn’t remark additional.
Earlier than Olivia was admitted to hospice care the place she died, medical doctors stated she had solely been receiving 30% of the required diet, in response to the indictment.
All through Turner’s marketing campaign to convey consideration to her dying daughter, she sought donations to assist fulfill Olivia’s desires of catching a foul man with police and being a firefighter. A video put out by a suburban Denver municipal authorities reveals Olivia using on a truck, placing out a dumpster fireplace and telling firefighters to face at consideration — all of that are met with the little woman’s smiles and laughter regardless of a number of medical tubes poking out of her backpack.
Whereas Turner’s conduct raised suspicions alongside the best way, it was solely after Olivia died in hospice care in 2017 and Turner introduced her older daughter to the identical hospital with bone ache that medical doctors determined to take a more in-depth look.
Prosecutors declined to say if Turner nonetheless had custody of her different two kids. The older daughter has not reported any further medical issues or complaints of ache since October 2018.
Nieberg is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on under-covered points.
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