PAULS VALLEY — The parents of a woman found shot to death in 2000 are offering $100,000 of their savings to anyone who can lead them to a killer.
The announcement outside the Garvin County Courthouse Wednesday comes just weeks after the sheriff opened a homicide investigation into the death of Chanda Turner.
Turner, a former homecoming queen at Elmore City High School, was 23 when she was shot in the chest and died on the porch of a rural farmhouse southwest of Pauls Valley.
“For 12 years, information has been coming to us so we think it's possible that there's more,” Turner's mother, Donna, said.
The cold case heated up in November when the state medical examiner amended the manner of death on Chanda Turner's death certificate from suicide to undetermined.
Donna Turner and her husband, Joe, have said for 12 years that officials bungled the investigation into their daughter's death.
On Thursday, the Turners and Sheriff Larry Rhodes said the new developments bring them closer to finding justice for Chanda.
“We've got to let the evidence lead us to what was done,” Joe Turner said. “Me and Donna have done all we can do. We got the death certificate changed; it's up to Larry Rhodes and God.”
Rhodes said he decided to reopen the case based on information that was not reviewed previously, including additional witness statements and physical evidence.
He said the case should be reviewed because of “fundamental mistakes” made by previous investigators, including the lack of a secure crime scene.
Rhodes, who retired from the Oklahoma City Police Department after 23 years, took office in 2010.
“I'm not going to say that there was any intentional cover-up in this case, but again I just don't think that this death investigation was fully looked at back in 2000,” he said. “We made some critical mistakes that night that led to a poor investigation; unfortunately, I don't know if we'll be able to overcome them now.”
Joe Turner said he and his wife of 39 years are just relieved that their quest to find out what happened to Chanda Turner has gained some new momentum.
Since the day Chanda died, they said, they have been working side-by-side to resolve the case.
“Donna couldn't have done it on her own, I couldn't have done it on my own — we had to be a team,” Joe Turner said. “She fought to stay alive, and we fought for justice, bottom line.”