An Arizona woman whose determination to find her sister Alissa Turney’s killer has never stopped is finally seeing her efforts pay off after her father was arrested in connection with the case this week.
Sarah Turney had been asking for the public’s help for years through YouTube, a blog, a website titled “Justice for Alissa,” and more recently through TikTok where she had gained a million followers who supported her journey.
On Thursday, Sarah Turney’s biological father and Alissa Turney’s stepfather Michael Turney was arrested and faces charges of second-degree murder. Police did not give further details into what prompted an arrest in the case, but recently Sarah had been using TikTok to tell Alissa’s story.
Alissa was 17 when she was last seen by her family in Phoenix, Arizona on May, 17, 2001. On the day she disappeared, she was with her boyfriend and told him that her stepfather was picking her up, but was never heard from again.
Alissa’s mother had died of cancer when she was eight and Michael Turney adopted her. In 2008, police conducted 200 interviews in the missing teen’s case and believed she was not a runaway, and were led back to Michael Turney. It was then they searched his home and found 26 pipe bombs and three incendiary devices, according to the FBI. Investigators said Michael Turney was planning to blow up a union hall.
He pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of unregistered destructive devices and was sentenced to ten years. He got out of prison in 2017.
Although he continued to be a suspect in the case, Michael Turney maintained throughout the years he didn’t have any involvement in Alissa’s disappearance.
“I didn't kill my stepdaughter. I'm not capable of killing my stepdaughter…,” Michael Turney previously told ABC News 2020.
But, Sarah said she began believing her father was actually involved about five years ago. Sarah was the last of his six children to suspect her father's involvement.
For a sister who has been trying to keep her older sister’s case in the public eye, this arrest is a huge breakthrough.
"I'm shaking and I'm crying. We did it you guys," she posted. "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."