A mother in Colorado is behind bars today after a grand jury indicted her for allegedly causing her 7-year-old daughter's death, even as she sought donations to cover medical treatments and fulfill the child's "bucket list" before she died, an indictment released on Monday revealed.
Kelly Renee Turner, 41, was charged by a Colorado grand jury with 13 criminal counts that included child abuse, theft and charitable fraud related to the death of her 7-year-old child, Olivia Gant, in 2017. Olivia, who used a wheelchair and a feeding tube, was a "fighter" according to her mother, who investigators say used her child's illness to solicit donations worth more than $20,000 as well as help fulfill items on the 7-year-old's 'bucket list.'
However, the truth was, Olivia was never terminally ill and she was not dying of intestinal failure. Instead, authorities believe Turner killed her daughter and used her illnesses to raise money.
According to the indictment, first obtained by KUSA, in the weeks leading up to Olivia's death, Turner placed her daughter in hospice care, insisting to doctors that her 7-year-old's quality of life was so poor, they should discontinue all medical treatment, remove the feeding tube and allow her daughter to pass away peacefully under a "Do Not Resuscitate" order.
Olivia eventually died in hospice care in Aug. 2017, allegedly of "intestinal failure."
It all began in 2011 when she began posting about her daughters' medical problems on a personal blog she kept about her family. She described Olivia as having a misshapen head and vascular malformation in her brain, which caused seizures. Her older daughter had been supposedly diagnosed with "osteomyelitis," a bone infection. In her blog, Turner claimed she'd moved her family to Colorado to seek better medical treatment.
As time passed, Olivia's 'ailments' were growing worse, with Turner claiming in a GoFundMe she started in July 2015, that her daughter would never recover after she'd been diagnosed with a variety of other issues including autism, sensory processing disorder, focal cortical dysplasia, digestive issues and hydrocephalus. Turner said Olivia also had "neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy," which would eventually cause her daughter's body to shut down one "system at a time."
News of Olivia's conditions spread quickly, with the 7-year-old's bucket list playing out across TV stations and articles published all over the country. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, paying around $11,000 to throw a "bat princess" party for Olivia.
It wasn't until Turner brought her older daughter to the hospital complaining of "bone pain" that authorities began conducting an investigation into Olivia's death. The indictment says Turner brought her elder daughter in to see a new physician, claiming she had already survived cancer and undergone chemotherapy. When the physcian contacted doctors in Texas, he learned Turner's daughter had not undergone any of those procedures and he reported it to authorities.
As the Jefferson County Human Services Department began interviewing doctors Turner had dealings with, a pattern began to emerge. Of the11 doctors interviewed, they all expressed doubts about Olivia's symptoms at the time, with one doctor finding no evidence that Olivia was even having seizures and warned against giving her daughter anti-seizure medication. Another doctor questioned whether Olivia was autistic after observing the 6-year-old being active and social.
However, Turner reportedly ignored the doctors' advice and recommendations, the report from the health department said.
Olivia's body was exhumed in November 2018 with the Arapahoe County Coroner's office finding nothing to support Turner's claims of her daughter's illnesses.
Turner was arrested on Friday in Denver and is currently being held without bond, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said.