1K Hospital Visits and One Death Later, Mom Pays for Her Ruse

Kelly Turner sentenced to 16 years for fatally abusing Olivia Gant
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2022 10:25 AM CST
1K Hospital Visits and One Death Later, Mom Pays for Her Ruse
This Oct. 18, 2019, booking file photo shows Kelly Turner.   (Douglas County Sheriff's Office via AP,File)

A Colorado mother who fatally abused her daughter for years while falsely claiming the child was terminally ill has been sentenced to prison to serve more than twice the length of 7-year-old Olivia Gant's short life. Kelly Turner was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty last month to child abuse resulting in death, as well as charitable fraud and theft. In 2012, when Olivia was a toddler, Turner first took her to Children's Hospital Colorado for treatment of constipation, per KCNC. Over the next five years, the pair visited the hospital 1,000 times as Turner claimed Olivia suffered from a range of ailments and diseases.

She "approved surgery after surgery and insisted Olivia was not getting better," prosecutors said in a statement, per the New York Times. During a 2013 hospital visit, Turner reportedly convinced doctors to remove a portion of Olivia's small intestine and install a feeding tube. She was receiving 30% of the required nutrition before entering hospice care in 2017. She died a month later after Turner requested doctors stop feeding her, an indictment reads, per the AP. The cause of death was given as intestinal failure. However, an autopsy conducted in 2018 showed no sign of the condition. It was ordered after Turner told a doctor her other daughter had been treated for cancer, which turned out not to be true.

Prosecutor Christopher Gallo said Turner defrauded "organizations whose only purpose in this world is to help sick kids and families in need," per KCNC. The Make-a-Wish Foundation threw Olivia an $11,000 "bat princess" party. Turner also raised $22,270 through a GoFundMe campaign and collected more than $500,000 from Medicaid. She didn't speak during the hearing but cried as prosecutors played a video of Olivia smiling, laughing, and playing—created by Turner's stepfather, Lonnie Gautreau. "This truth about Olivia has caused such a deep pain that it continues to ravage me every day," Gautreau said in a statement, per the AP. Olivia's grandparents and father settled a $25 million claim against the hospital system in August. (Read more child abuse stories.)

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