Stepfather Of Phoenix Girl Missing Since 2001 Arrested, Accused Of Her Murder

By Sky Schaudt, Tim Agne, Jean Clare Sarmiento, Ron Dungan
Published: Thursday, August 20, 2020 - 3:22pm
Updated: Friday, August 21, 2020 - 9:29am

Michael Roy Turney, the stepfather of Alissa Turney, a 17-year-old Phoenix girl who went missing in 2001, has been indicted in her murder.

Turney has been charged with second-degree murder, according to Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel. Adel made the announcement at a Thursday press conference.

Alissa Turney
Maricopa County Attorney's Office
Alissa Turney

When Alissa Turney went missing in May 2001, Phoenix police thought she had run away to California. But over the years, the investigation changed from a case of a runaway teenager to a murder investigation. Police interviewed about 200 people about the case.

"Through that, we began to see that this was not a runaway child. Something else had happened. That drew us back to the home of Michael Roy Turney, the home where he had reported the child missing and the home where he was currently residing,” said Detective Will Anderson, an investigator in the case. 

Alissa Turney has never been found.

In 2017, the podcast “Missing Alissa” chronicled the 2001 disappearance. 

Last month, Sarah Turney, Alissa’s sister, made headlines when she turned to the social media app TikTok to revive interest in the case.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sarah tweeted: “I’m shaking and I’m crying. We did it you guys. He’s been arrested. ... It took almost 20 years but we did it.”

During Thursday’s announcement, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams praised the work of Detectives Stuart Somershoe and Anderson on the case.

Adel declined to comment on what evidence led to the murder charge.

In 2008, federal agents raided Michael Turney’s home and found a cache of weapons that included dozens of homemade bombs. Turney pleaded guilty to the weapons charges in April 2010 and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

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