Family Worries ME's Situation Will Delay Answers into Daughter's Death
By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Recent happenings at the State Medical Examiner's Office are proving to be a nightmare for a Garvin County family.
Former Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Collie Trant was in the process of determining how Donna and Joe Turner's daughter died in 2000 when he was placed on suspension. Now after Trant was fired from the M.E.'s office Friday, the couple said they don't know if they'll ever get answers.
Twenty-three-year-old Chanda Turner was found shot to death in July of 2000 outside her home in Pauls Valley. At the time, her boyfriend was inside the home and said he never heard a gunshot. The death was ruled a suicide.
"There is no way it could have happened the way they said it did," Joe Turner said.
No autopsy was done, so last year the family had a medical examiner from Colorado look at the investigation reports and crime scene pictures. He told the Turners that in his 24 years of experience, he had never seen a case with as much alteration of a crime scene, and it was his opinion that their daughter's was most likely a homicide and certainly not a suicide.
The family's attorney said the evidence for a homicide is overwhelming.
"I think it is unconscionable that this family has had to go outside the state of Oklahoma to get a competent medical examiner to tell them what we all know," said Jaye Mendros, the Turner family's attorney.
Last December, Chanda's body was exhumed and Dr. Collie Trant did the autopsy while the Colorado doctor looked on. The Turners said Trant told them he would change the cause of death to homicide, but the paperwork was never done.
"All we want now is for the medical examiner to do their job, whoever's taking Dr. Trant's place, to do their job so we can move forward," Mendros said.
The ME's office said, despite what Dr. Trant may have told the family, no official ruling on the cause of death has been made. The case will now be turned over to Dr. Duvall to make that determination.
"We know our daughter did not commit suicide. Now we got physical evidence from the autopsy showing she didn't, and now we can't get a report from the M.E.'s office," said
The Garvin County District Attorney's office, said the Turners has asked the Grand Jury to investigate the case.