DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — The mother accused of faking her daughter's terminal illness, and causing her death, appeared in Douglas County Court Tuesday morning, where a judge ordered that she be held on a $250,000 cash or surety bond.
Kelly Renee Turner (Gant), 41, has an arraignment set for Feb. 28.
In October, Turner was indicted on 13 counts related to the August 2017 death of her 7-year-old daughter, Olivia Gant. Turner had claimed her daughter was terminally ill, and is accused of defrauding donors, organizations and Medicaid. She was charged on two different counts of first-degree murder, one count of child abuse, three counts of theft, one count of charitable fraud, two counts of attempting to influence a public servant and two counts of second-degree forgery.
Denver 7 profiled Olivia Gant in April of 2017 as she was fulfilling a "bucket list" which included busting bad guys with Denver police officers. She was made honorary chief for a day and rode along with officers.
She died about four months later.
At the time, Turner claimed her daughter had a disease that caused her intestines to fail.
Before moving to Colorado, Turner and her family lived in Crosby, Texas. A former friend from Crosby, Ruby King, drove to Colorado for Tuesday's hearing.
"Olivia doesn’t have a voice anymore but she has one with me, and the people in Crosby are devastated over this," King said.
She said Turner told them Olivia and another daughter, Samantha, had cancer and other illnesses, but that Olivia always seemed like a normal kid.
"She was normal, there was nothing wrong with Olivia except for psoriasis. And that’s what started the hospital visits," King said.
When Olivia was in the hospital, Turner wouldn't let anybody up to see her, King said.
"I questioned her on that but she got mad at me," she said. "She got mad at me and told me if I came to the funeral she’d have me arrested."
King said she and her husband helped raise money for the family by holding garage sales and bake sales. According to the indictment, Turner started a GoFundMe page in July 2015, which she updated more than 100 times until Olivia’s death. The indictment says she brought in $22,270 from 161 donors.
She had also reached out to Make-A-Wish to throw a “Bat Princess” party at the Hyatt Regency Denver that ended up costing more than $11,000.
Olivia's body was exhumed in November of 2018 so an autopsy could be performed. According to the indictment, Arapahoe County Coroner Dr. Kelly Lear wrote that Olivia’s manner of death was undetermined based on a series of nonspecific results. She said that there was a lack of any findings that proved Olivia's death was caused by intestinal failure or any of the other illnesses that her mother claimed she was suffering from.