Twenty years ago, a 17-year-old teen, Alissa Turney, went missing. After a year-long public campaign coordinated by her sister pleading for him to be arrested, Phoenix police finally charged Michael Roy Turney for his step daughter’s murder.
“I’m shaking, and I’m crying,” Alissa’s younger sister, Sarah Turney, stated on Twitter.
According to Buzz Feed, Sarah was only 12-years-old when her sister went missing and decided to do a podcast series along with posting TikTok videos that went viral concerning her sister’s disappearance. “We did it you guys. He’s been arrested.”
On Thursday, Michael Roy Turney, 72, was reportedly indicted and charged by a Maricopa County grand jury on second-degree murder charges for the death of his stepdaughter Alissa. Phoenix Police reportedly announced he was placed under arrest during that afternoon in Mesa, Arizona.
Alissa Turney reportedly disappeared on May 17, 2001, after leaving Paradise Valley High School.
“On that day, she poked her head into her boyfriend’s woodworking class at Paradise Valley High School and said her stepfather was taking her out of school early,” according to a statement from Maricopa County Attorney’s office. “She has never been seen or heard from again.”
Michael Roy Turney, who had gained custody of Alissa after her mother’s death, reported her missing and said he had found a note stating that she ran away to California. The case was then treated as a missing person case.
“She loved animals, drawing, and music,” said County Attorney Allister Adel during a press conference this Thursday. “She had a part-time job at a local fast-food restaurant. She had plans on the evening she disappeared to go celebrate with some upperclassmen who were graduating.”
“According to those who knew her, Alissa was a good kid who never missed work or school,” said Adel. “Alissa’s life was just beginning.”
Back in 2008, the case was reopened, and police reportedly said they conducted more than 200 interviews.
“Through that, we began to see this was not a runaway child,” said Detective William Anderson on Thursday. However, when they got an arrest warrant to search Michael Roy Turney’s home, they discovered 26 pipe bombs. Turney was sent to federal prison until 2017.
“We bumbled, for lack of a better word, into his bombing plot,” said Anderson. “Him going to jail for that is not justice for Alissa.”
After years of her sister Sarah public campaigning, Turney was finally arrested and charged for Alissa’s murder. Sarah posted updates consistently on Twitter and TikTok. She also did the podcast to share the story of Alissa’s disappearance.
One video dated back from 1997 posted to TikTok this summer, Alissa can be seen saying, “Sarah, dad’s a pervert.” The video has received a staggering 21 million views and counting.
Law enforcement has yet to share any of the evidence involved in charging Turney. However, Adel applauded Sarah for her lengthy fight for justice during the press conference on Thursday.
“Your perseverance and commitment to finding justice for your sister Alissa,” Adel said, “is a testament to the love of a sister.”