By: Eric Ross
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KOAA) — A few weeks before her case was set to go to trial, Kelly R. Turner accepted a plea deal in her daughter’s murder case.
In January, Turner pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death, theft and charitable fraud.
Wednesday afternoon, a judge sentenced Turner to 16 years in prison for child abuse resulting in death, 10 years for felony theft and 3 years for charity fraud. Since the sentence will be served concurrently, the maximum time Turner will serve behind bars is 16 years. According to Turner’s defense team, she’s already spent 843 days in county jail.
Authorities arrested Turner in 2019 following a lengthy investigation into the death of her daughter, Olivia Gant.
According to investigators, Turner made up fake medical illnesses and subjected Olivia to multiple unnecessary hospital visits and surgical procedures in an attempt to “cure” a mysterious medical illness that could never be pinpointed. During this time, investigators say Turner used Olivia’s “terminal illness” to defraud Medicaid and solicit monetary donations.
“Doctors say Olivia for over 1,000 hospital visits and hospitalizations,” family attorney Hollynd Hoskins told KOAA in this 30-minute special report profiling this case.
Olivia’s surviving family also placed blame on the Children’s Hospital Colorado where Olivia was taken for treatments between 2012 and 2017.
The hospital eventually settled the family’s lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money.
Our original News 5 Investigates special report on Olivia Gant’s death can be found here.
ORIGINAL REPORT (December 2021):
Olivia Gant, 7, spent most of her childhood in and out of hospitals—battling a series of “mysterious” illnesses before passing away.
“She was a loving child,” Olivia Gant’s step grandfather, Lonnie Gautreau said. “She just had a great imagination and loved playing with her dolls.”
“They (doctors) saw Olivia for over 1,000 hospital visits and hospitalizations,” family attorney Hollynd Hoskins said.
Now, Olivia’s mother, Kelly R. Turner, is charged with her daughter’s death and is accused of making up medical problems.
“Over 25 unnecessary surgical procedures were performed,” Hoskins said.
News 5 Investigates found staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado had their suspicions that Turner may have been lying about her daughter’s condition.
Hoskins says the hospital failed to notify law enforcement or the Department of Human Services until it was too late.
“Colorado’s mandatory reporting law absolutely should have protected Olivia, and they didn’t,” she said.
As Olivia’s mother awaits trial, there are questions over whether the hospital is partly responsible for the child’s death.
“I want answers,” Gautreau said. “We want the truth of why all this happened.”
At the center of this case: Did a mother really do the unthinkable and were there red flags that were missed?
“Olivia’s family is absolutely committed to making sure this doesn’t happen to any other child,” Hoskins said.
Our News 5 investigative unit is looking into what investigators believe is a rare case of medical child abuse known as “Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy”.
For five years, Olivia’s mother had been taking her to Children’s Hospital Colorado for a series of treatments.
Olivia eventually passed away in 2017.
Olivia’s family also believes Children’s Hospital Colorado should be held accountable too—sending an official “notice of intent to sue” seeking $25 million in damages.
Just days before an official lawsuit was going to be filed, News 5 learned the hospital settled the case behind closed doors.
When Olivia was just two years old, her mother left Texas with her children and came to Colorado.
Gautreau says he and his wife would come to visit their grandchildren as often as they could.
“Olivia loved watching movies,” Gautreau said. “She could watch a movie one time and the next time she watched it, she could say word for word what the characters were saying. That’s just how smart she was.”
Unfortunately, Gautreau would never be able to see Olivia grow up.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
- Olivia’s medical records provided a road map for prosecutors.
- In 2012, Olivia was taken into Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus for the first time.
- Her mother claimed Olivia was having trouble digesting foods and was constipated. Doctors addressed the issue by removing a hardened stool from her colon.
- As time went on, Olivia’s mom kept bringing her back and claimed she was unable or unwilling to eat normally.
“We had no reason to believe that what Kelly Turner (Olivia’s mom) was telling us wasn’t true because she was in the best care she could be under,” Gautreau said.
- In 2014, Olivia went in for surgery. Doctors re-routed her small intestine to bypass her large intestine so that waste went into a bag through a hole in her stomach. The surgery reportedly relieved the constipation, but Turner continued reporting that her daughter was still having digestive problems.
- In less than a year, Hoskins says Olivia had three different types of feeding tubes installed. Then when Turner claimed her daughter couldn’t tolerate being fed that way, doctors installed a tube to send nutrition through her veins—a process known as TPN.
- During the time Olivia was at Children’s Hospital, Turner somehow convinced doctors to prescribe her daughter Keppra, an anti-seizure medication. This was done despite medical reports showing doctors never actually witnessed Olivia suffering from a seizure.
- For years, doctors continued treating Olivia based heavily on statements Turner was telling them.
- Then in 2017, Olivia’s mother made a “do not resuscitate” request to the hospital and told staff that she wanted to stop Olivia’s TPN, the tube sending all of her nutrition through her veins. Stopping this process would kill Olivia.
- Some medical staff opposed the “do not resuscitate” order, also known as a DNR. When this happened, hospital staff assigned Olivia a new doctor who agreed to sign off on the order.
- Olivia was discharged, went into hospice care and died less than 3 weeks later.
This story was originally published Feb. 9, 2022, by KOAA in Colorado Springs, an E.W. Scripps Company.