GARVIN COUNTY, Okla. – Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes wasn’t in office when Chanda Turner was found dead with a gun shot wound to the chest at a home she shared with her boyfriend back in July of 2000.
Her death was ruled a suicide but recently the medical examiner’s office changed it to “unknown.”
Rhodes re-opened the case after that ruling and with the discovery of mistakes made the first time around.
“Clearly with this investigation from the crime scene as well as the follow-up investigation there were some fundamental errors made by law enforcement,” Rhodes said. “I’ve seen photos which lead me to believe that there was some manipulation of the body prior to the M.E.’s field examiner getting on scene.”
In addition to not controlling the scene, Rhodes said the suicide ruling hampered the investigation.
“It was the most inept investigation I’ve ever seen,” Jaye Mendrose said, the Turner family’s attorney. “The sheets were missing off the bed. They had been stripped off the bed, there was cleaning solution on the floor there was blood all throughout the house.”
Mendrose said this new development is extremely important to the family.
“This means the world to them,” she said. “The most important fact is that their daughter’s name is no longer being slandered with the suicide ruling when she fought to stay alive, that’s according to the physical evidence at the scene.”
The medical examiner’s office didn’t comment on camera but Chief Administrative Officer Amy Elliott released a statement.
“The manner of death for Chanda Turner was changed to unknown, due to new information presented. We work with the community to serve the citizens of the state of Oklahoma. This is not the first time a cause and/or manner has been changed. When new evidence can shed a light on a case, we work diligently to find the truth.”
Rhodes said there are two people believed to be involved with case who were never interviewed by investigators.
He also said they hope others with information will come forward soon.