Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

December 6, 2012

Big reward offered in 12-year old case

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — The search for justice is what one Garvin County couple say they’re still seeking as a hefty reward is now being offered in a new investigation into the shooting death of their daughter a dozen years ago.

Donna and Joe Turner were at the center of clicking cameras and questions from reporters as they announced Wednesday afternoon a $100,000 reward is now being offered in the case of Chanda Turner’s death back in 2000.

The press conference in a county courthouse hallway in Pauls Valley at times hinged on emotional as the Turner couple were joined by their attorney and Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes as they briefly offered some of their thoughts on the reward and the reopened case.

“We’ve had to fight for justice,” Joe Turner said. “We’ve had not choice. All we’ve ever wanted is the truth.”

Donna Turner offered similar comments as she held a poster with her daughter’s photo and information about the new six-figure reward.

“I’m saying if you have any information please come forward,” Donna said, adding the Turner family is simply looking for peace.

“We want justice for Chanda. It’s been very hard. The circumstances are that Chanda can’t speak for herself. We didn’t give up,” she said.

It was on July 12, 2000 when Chanda Turner died as the result of a gunshot to the chest at a rural residence outside of Pauls Valley.

Ever since the tragic shooting Turner family members and others have adamantly contested the original finding the woman’s death was a suicide.

That official cause of death was only recently amended to “undetermined.”

A short time later Rhodes announced the sheriff’s office has reopened an investigation into what many have called a “suspicious” death.

Since the death in 2000, new information has been made available to law enforcement, which includes a 2002 reinvestigation at the crime scene, a 2009 exhumation and autopsy and additional witnesses coming forward, according to Rhodes.

During Wednesday’s gathering Rhodes said the reward now being offered by the Turner family is for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting death.

“The family has come forward with this money,” Rhodes said. “I hope this reward motivates anyone with information to come forward. We ask them to contact the sheriff’s office.

“We are actively conducting an investigation into the death of Chanda. I do feel persons are out there that have additional information related to the death. That information could be relevant and vital to this investigation.

“We will work closely with the Turner family. I can’t share a lot of details now or during the course of the investigation.”

The sheriff said he’s confident the investigation will get a “full and thorough look at this time.”

He admits there are challenges with an older case, such as lost evidence among other things.

Rhodes indicated he also believes that time can aid an investigation by providing a fresh look.

“While there are challenges there’s also an opportunity,” Rhodes said.

“I know there are persons out there in the community that have information about this case.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department at 405-238-7591.