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Colorado mother reaches plea deal in the 2017 death of ‘Make-A-Wish’ daughter

<i>Douglas County Sheriff's Office</i><br/>Kelly Turner
Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Kelly Turner

By Travis Caldwell and Raja Razek, CNN

A Colorado woman accused of profiting off the fake illnesses of her young daughter before the girl’s death in 2017 has reached a plea agreement, authorities said.

Kelly Turner pleaded guilty to felony theft, felony charity fraud, and child abuse negligently causing death, according to the district attorney’s office of the 18th Judicial District.

Turner’s attorney, Ara Ohanian, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Turner previously was charged with murder in the death of 7-year-old Olivia Grant, whose reported battle with cancer and various ailments was well-documented. She had pleaded not guilty at the time.

Vikki Migoya, spokesperson for the district attorney, said other counts, including murder, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Olivia participated in events planned by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and was seen on ride-alongs with police and firefighters honoring her wishes of serving her community.

Olivia died in August 2017 of intestinal failure after Turner signed a do-not-resuscitate order, telling doctors that Olivia’s quality of life was too poor to keep her alive, according to a 2019 indictment of Turner.

An investigation began in 2018 after Turner took Olivia’s older sister to a Colorado hospital and said she had been earlier treated for cancer in Texas. A doctor determined this was not true, and hospital officials later found articles, blogs, social media posts and news stories in which Turner said the older daughter suffered from various conditions, including bone pain, that weren’t supported by medical records, the indictment said.

Concerned over the circumstances surrounding Olivia’s death, authorities exhumed her body. An autopsy found “a lack of any anatomical findings” indicating she died from intestinal failure or that she suffered from many of the conditions reported, according to an Arapahoe County coroner, the indictment said.

“The manner of death is best certified as undetermined,” the coroner wrote.

Multiple physicians told investigators that conditions Olivia supposedly had were not supported after examination, prosecutors said, and six doctors said none of the conditions constituted terminal illnesses. Many expressed doubts and offered alternative treatments to Turner, who would refuse their analyses and insist Olivia had severe ailments, authorities said.

Turner also allegedly received nearly $600,000 in Medicaid benefits and donations from charities and GoFundMe donors, according to the indictment, despite Turner’s husband working for a company that would’ve provided health insurance to his wife and children.

Sentencing following the plea agreement is set for February 9, according to the district attorney’s office.

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CNN’s Allison Flexner, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.

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