A Colorado mother charged with the death of her 7-year-old daughter – whom she claimed had a terminal illness – was sentenced to 16 years in Denver prison on Wednesday.

District Court Judge Patricia Herron accepted a plea deal that Kelly Turner, 43, and prosecutors agreed to last month after the mother was initially charged with two counts of first-degree murder, face a mandatory life sentence if convicted in Colorado.

Herron called the deal “hard to stomach” as Turner pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of child abuse and negligently causing the death of his daughter Olivia Gant in 2017.

Authorities had accused Turner of pretending her daughter was sick and convincing doctors to perform procedures on her in order to cash in on donations and profit from the attention of TV news appearances until the little girl died. girl. Turner also pleaded guilty to charity fraud and theft between $100,000 and $1 million, prosecutors said.

“For a number of reasons, I understand how we end up here. But it’s difficult when you have the death of a young child. A death after, what the court considers from my review of the documents, after this child was subjected to a lifetime of painful and frightening tests and surgeries that ultimately resulted in the death of this child,” said Herron at the time, according to the Denver Post. “It is unthinkable and, from the perspective of this court, would generally result in the most severe penalties.”

Investigators said they uncovered blogs, a GoFundMe page that raised more than $22,000 to ‘offset’ the cost of medication, and news stories chronicling Turner’s various claims about her daughter suffering from various conditions that diverged from her medical file. including a cloudy seizure, a tumor, and fluid accumulation in the cavities of his brain.

Prosecutors alleged Turner lied for years about Olivia’s symptoms, after moving with her daughters from Texas to Colorado. From 2012, they said she sought treatments for Olivia for fabricated illnesses and lied to doctors at Colorado Children’s Hospital about her medical conditions, ultimately causing them to perform “significant medical procedures “which she did not need, according to the indictment.

At some point during her repeated visits to the hospital, a surgeon removed part of Olivia’s small intestine and inserted a feeding tube, resulting in a lawsuit against the hospital brought by Olivia’s grandparents and father for failing to report the child abuse that was eventually resolved.

Turner’s sentencing on Wednesday sentences her to 16 years in prison for child abuse, which Herron said would be served alongside a 10-year sentence for one of Turner’s theft charges and a three-year sentence. years for the other flight. load.

In February 2017, after putting together a “bucket list” with the help of her mother, Olivia was transformed into “Bat Princess” at an elaborate $11,000 hotel costume party hosted by the Make-A -Wish Foundation, which helps fund wishes for critically ill children.

Weeks before Olivia died in hospice care in August 2017, Turner insisted her daughter’s health and quality of life were poor and wanted her removed from all medical treatment. She requested that Olivia’s feeding tube be removed and she signed a “Do Not Resuscitate” order.

According to her obituary, Olivia’s death came after “a long battle with a rare disease” that required “numerous operations and many hospital stays.” It wasn’t until Turner brought her eldest daughter to Colorado Children’s Hospital in 2018 with complaints of “bone pain” that authorities launched an investigation.

Olivia’s cause of death was initially attributed to intestinal failure, but an autopsy in 2018 found no evidence of the disease. A coroner eventually said her manner of death was ‘undetermined’, but before Olivia was placed in hospice care, doctors said she was only getting 30% of the nutrition she needed, according to the report. indictment.

When Herron pleaded guilty to the less serious charges in January, Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Gallo told Herron that prosecutors had trouble identifying a “low-key moment” when Olivia’s abuse occurred and resulted in his death, according to the Denver Post.

“It’s by no means perfect justice,” Gallo said at the time. “But certainly, Mr. Justice, this plea is in the interests of justice. And for these reasons, we ask the court to accept the plea.

Turner’s behavior appears to reflect a psychological disorder that she denied having during an interview with investigators, the Denver Post reported. The hard-to-detect condition is known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy and those affected by the disorder often seek attention by fabricating claims about medical conditions involving people in their care.

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