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Sister's Long Crusade Ends in Murder Charge

Sarah Turney celebrates her stepfather's arrest
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2020 5:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Not everyone celebrates when their stepfather gets arrested. But then, not everyone is Sarah Turney: "I'm shaking and I'm crying," she tweeted Thursday. "We did it you guys. He's been arrested. Omg Loudly crying face thank you." Turney had waged a long social media campaign accusing her stepfather, 72-year-old Michael Turney, in the 2001 disappearance of her sister, Alissa Turney. Sarah's dogged pursuit in the case—including a website, posted conversations with her stepfather, and footage he recorded—caught fire after she took the crusade to TikTok, the New York Times reports. How much it helped police is unclear, but an Arizona prosecutor acknowledged Sarah after Michael Turney was charged with second-degree homicide last week: "Because of [her] love, Alissa's light has never gone out," she said.

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It seems Alissa, 17, was last seen when Michael Turney picked her up from school in Phoenix 19 years ago, the Arizona Republic reports. He told ABC News in 2009 that Alissa ran away because he was too controlling, and said "yeah, of course I feel bad about it," but Sarah's campaign painted him as a controlling "pervert" who "physically and sexually abused" Alissa and refused to give his DNA to police. His prison sentence in an alleged bomb plot kept him on the police radar, but for Sarah it appeared to be a deeply personal crusade: "What I'm going to do is scream to the whole world until Alissa has justice," she blogged last year, adding that "I'm going to abandon all fear" and "do it because it's the right thing to do." As for Alissa, she hasn't been found, dead or alive. (Read more murder stories.)

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