A Colorado mother will spend years behind bars in connection to the 2017 death of her 7-year-old child.
According to the Associated Press, 43-year-old Kelly Turner received a 16-year prison sentence on Wednesday, more than a month after she pleaded guilty to felony theft and fraud charges, as well as child abuse that negligently caused the death of her daughter, Olivia Gant. As part of her plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss several charges against Turner, including two counts of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors say the mother spent years lying to doctors about Olivia’s physical health when she had been healthy all along. The mother reportedly told physicians the child had suffered from a number of medical issues, including seizures, a tumor, and a build-up of fluid in her brain. Though Turner never provided proof of these alleged ailments, doctors ultimately gave Olivia unnecessary medications and surgeries up until her death in hospice care.
Though Olivia’s death was initially attributed to intestinal failure, a subsequent autopsy found no evidence of that condition or any other illnesses Turner had claimed. An investigation into Olivia’s death began in 2018, after Turner took one of her other daughters to the hospital with “bone pain,” which caused doctors to become suspicious. The AP reports authorities have not confirmed the child’s cause of death, but an indictment states that doctors granted Turner’s request to stop feeding her daughter.
Authorities also say Turner broadcasted her daughter’s struggles in an attempt to gain sympathy from charitable organizations, such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The nonprofit reportedly treated Olivia to an $11,000 “bat princess” party at a hotel. Prosecutors allege Turner also stole money from the funeral home and cemetery that handled Olivia’s services, as well as defrauded the Medicaid system of more than $538,000.