In 2001 Michael Turney, 72, called police to tell them his 17-year-old step-daughter Alissa Turney had “ran away” and would no longer be attending school in the fall.
Michael says he and his other daughter, Sarah, found a note from Alissa in her handwriting saying she had ran away to California. Alissa’s cellphone and possessions were left in her room. She had over $1,800 in her bank account that was never withdrawn. It wasn’t until years later, when the case gained publicity for a false confession, that the truth about Michael Turney began to come out. Rumors of Michael sexually abusing Alissa finally made it to police and they focused the investigation on him.
In 2010 while investigating an unrelated domestic terrorism incident, police found a very large cache of weapons and bombs in his home. They also found a manifesto titled “Diary of a Madman Martyr” which was nearly 100 pages long. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was released early in 2017.
During this time, Alissa’s sister Sarah Turney says she was promised by police that her father, Michael Turney, would be charged with Alissa’s murder when he was released from prison. When he was released, nothing happened. For the record, Alissa and Sarah’s mother was dead, Alissa was a minor in the care of Michael when she disappeared. Frustrated with the police, Sarah took matters into her own hands. She began sharing home videos of her father verbally abusing Alissa and pointing out how frightened Alissa appeared to be of him. She also revealed that she knew her father had at least one hidden camera in their home at the time her sister disappeared, and it was never found by police:
Sarah Turney used TikTok and a podcast to bring attention to her sisters case and expose her step-father as a rapist and murderer. She told Dateline, “This is not going away and I’m going to make sure it never does.” On her website, Sarah wrote blog posts like “5 Reasons Why I Know My Father Killed Alissa Turney.”
These are all pretty fascinating insights into Alissa’s disappearance, Sarah’s life and cold cases in general:
And here’s a little humor from Sarah for true crime fans. If you know, you know:
Sarah grew her following to over a million people and the pressure built until Michael Turney was finally arrested and charged with Alissa’s murder in 2020. The county attorney credits Sarah with solving her sister’s case.
Like many murderers, Michael Turney has a background in law enforcement. Here’s a very creepy interview where he (poorly) denied murdering his step-daughter:
The Turney’s neighbor says, “I’m not surprised” that Michael was involved in Alissa’s disappearance. She said that the whole time they lived near Michael Turney, they were “uncomfortable” and that they felt like Michael was watching them. The neighbor had openly referred to Michael Turney as her “psycho neighbor”.
Sarah Turney is overjoyed there is finally justice for her sister. Like the rest of us, she hopes the story is made into a Netflix special.
I’m shaking and I’m crying. We did it you guys. He’s been arrested. Omg 😭 thank you. #justiceforalissa Never give up hope that you can get justice. It took almost 20 years but we did it. https://t.co/Xouva7yVdD
— Sarah Turney (@SarahETurney) August 20, 2020
Alissa Turney would be 37 this year.