An investigation was not launched by law enforcement agencies until Turner allegedly claimed that another child in her care had been diagnosed with cancer.
The mother of seven-year-old Olivia Gant, who said she had a terminal illness, has been charged with her murder and fraud from a charity.
Kelly Renee Turner, 41, previously known as Kelly Gant, had claimed Olivia Gant had been diagnosed with neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, which caused her to have intestinal failure. She had a blog “Prayers for Olivia” and a GoFundMe page from 2015 which raised nearly US$23,000. On the blog the mother wrote her daughter was born prematurely and suffered from autism, seizure disorder, developmental delays and a tumour, among other health problems.
The GoFundMe account stated: “We are hoping for support both financially, spiritually, and emotionally. Not only will this be a taxing time for Kelly (mom), and Olivia but for Olivia’s sisters and the friends and family who are willing to step in and help during this time.”
In 2017, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and DaVita, a dialysis company in Denver, Colorado, helped Olivia Gant live out her fantasy — dressing up as “Bat Princess” to battle Ursula and Captain Hook to save the Disney princesses Bella and Ariel. Olivia received national media attention for a “bucket list” of last wishes, including riding in a police patrol car and spraying water on a fire as a firefighter.
Olivia died in August 2017 supposedly of intestinal failure.
According to an indictment from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office against Turner, obtained by 9News, several of Olivia Gant’s doctors told investigators they did not believe Olivia’s medical problems were terminal.
An investigation was not launched until Turner allegedly claimed that another child in her care had been diagnosed with cancer.
Turner during questioning, allegedly admitted to fabricating the second child’s cancer but maintained she had been telling the truth about Olivia. Turner herself allegedly brought up Munchausen by proxy syndrome, where a caretaker exaggerates or induces illness in a child for attention and sympathy, the indictment stated.
When Olivia Gant’s body was exhumed, an autopsy showed no evidence that she died of intestinal failure.
Turner, who was arrested in a hotel in Glendale, Arapahoe County, Colorado, is being held without bond in the Douglas County Detention Facility.
She was charged by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with 13 offences, including murder, child abuse, theft and fraud from a charity.
A GoFundMe spokesperson told People that the site has banned Turner’s account and will process refunds for donors while working with law enforcement.