A former resident of Highlands Ranch has been arrested and charged with 13 counts in connection with the August 2017 death of her 7-year-old daughter.
An 18th Judicial District grand jury returned an indictment against Kelly Turner, 41, on charges including murder, child abuse, theft and forgery.
Turner convinced doctors to cease treatment on what she said was her terminally ill daughter, according to the indictment. Turner said her daughter, Olivia Gant, had multiple conditions, including seizures, malfunctioning intestines and constipation. A recent autopsy shows the child was not facing many of the conditions that Turner claimed.
Turner was arrested in Glendale on Oct. 18 and is being held in the Douglas County jail without bond, according to a news release from the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
In 2013, when Olivia was being treated at Children's Hospital Colorado for constipation, Turner told physicians the child had extreme pain while eating, and Olivia was eventually placed on a feeding tube.
Turner later refused care for Olivia recommended by doctors, and within a matter of weeks, the girl died, according to the indictment. Before her death, multiple media outlets reported on a bucket list Olivia was completing, including riding along with a police officer for a day.
Doctors became suspicious of Olivia's death because in 2016, Turner brought in her other daughter and claimed that she used to have cancer, the indictment said. The doctors at Children's Hospital Colorado checked with the girl's former doctors in Texas and found that she never had a cancer diagnosis or treatment.
Investigators in the Douglas County Sheriff's Office began interviewing Olivia's doctors in October 2018 and found that throughout her treatment, most of the girl's medical history and symptoms were relayed to doctors by Turner, according to the indictment.
Turner repeatedly went against doctors' recommendations, including continuing to administer a seizure medication with side effects to the girl, even though she was never diagnosed as having seizures, according to the indictment. When doctors told her they wanted to try weaning Olivia off her feeding tube, she told them “it had already been tried."
Eventually, Turner demanded that all care be withdrawn from her daughter, claiming the child's “quality of life was poor,” according to the document. On Aug. 20, 2017, Olivia died while in Denver Hospice.
More than a year later, Olivia's body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed. The cornoner found the manner of death to be undetermined and that there wasn't evidence she died from the stated cause of intestinal failure.
When interviewed by detectives, Turner denied ever fabricating medical conditions for her children, according to the indictment.
Without being asked, she also brought up Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a person repeatedly claims someone in their care, usually a child, is ill, sometimes causing actual ailments to the person.
“That has never been my case, like at all, whatsoever,” she said, according to the indictment. “You can talk to anyone that stood by my side through … all of this.”
Turner reportedly admitted to fabricating an early childhood cancer diagnosis for one of her children but told authorities the other health-related claims were legitimate.
Turner was also charged with charitable fraud, theft and forgery for the financial side of the medical claims, according to the indictment.
A GoFundMe page for Olivia, which was started in 2015, raised more than $22,000. A Make-A-Wish Foundation event put on for Olivia totaled more than $11,000 in expenses.
The indictment also said Turner defrauded the Medicaid system of more than $530,000 between 2014 and 2018. It also states she never paid for funeral expenses for the child, which cost more than $5,000, despite receiving a check of $3,000 from a foundation aiming to help the families of sick children.
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