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Cops: 'Make-a-Wish' Mom Killed Her Own Daughter

Colorado woman accused of lying about 7-year-old's terminal illness
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2019 3:59 AM CDT
This Oct. 18, 2019, booking photo provided by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office shows Kelly Renee Turner.   (Douglas County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) – When 7-year-old Olivia Gant died in 2017, people thought she was the victim of a tragic illness. Police now believe she was the victim of a horrific crime—and her own mother was the culprit. Kelly Renee Turner, 41, was arrested last week on 13 charges including child abuse and first-degree murder, the Denver Post reports. Before Olivia's death, Turner claimed her daughter was terminally ill and sought donations for medical care and to help her fulfill her "bucket list." The Make-a-Wish Foundation paid $11,000 for Olivia to have a "Bat Princess" day in Feb. 2017. Investigators say Turner told doctors in July of that year that she wanted to withdraw medical care and artificial feeding for her daughter because her quality of life was so bad, and she died a few weeks after being taken home on hospice care, the AP reports.

Turner claimed her daughter suffered from autism and illnesses including neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, a disease that attacks the body's vital organs, CBS Denver reports. According to a grand jury indictment issued Thursday, Olivia's body was exhumed in Nov. 2018 and an autopsy found no sign of any terminal conditions. Olivia's death was not investigated until Turner brought her other daughter to doctors last year, claiming she had bone pain and had been previously treated for cancer. A suspicious doctor determined that the girl had never had cancer—and investigators discovered that she did not report the same symptoms when separated from her mother. Turner, who is accused of defrauding Medicare and others of more than $500,000, admitted lying about her older daughter's diagnosis but insisted that Olivia had really been ill, the indictment states. (Read more Colorado stories.)

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