Father Who Was Filmed Finding 5-Year-Old Son’s Body In 1989 Now Accused Of His Murder
A South Carolina father who decades ago was filmed discovering his son’s body is now charged with the 5-year-old’s murder, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.
Victor Turner was arrested alongside his wife, Megan Turner, in Cross Hill in connection to the death of Justin Turner, deputies said. Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said that Victor Turner had strangled his son in the early morning of March 3, 1989.
In the afternoon of that day, deputies responded to the family’s home in Moncks Corner. Victor Turner and his wife said at the time that they had not seen Justin leaving for or coming back from school, the deputies said.
According to a 2019 statement by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, Justin planned to go to a nearby house to catch the school bus with a neighbor, but neighbors said that he never made it on the bus that morning.
Deputies said that Megan Turner, Justin’s stepmother, was in the shower at the time and did not accompany him outside.
The search lasted two days and ended when Victor Turner found his son’s body in a cabinet inside the family’s camper, which was parked outside their home, deputies said.
Archival news footage of the search shows the father peering inside the camper before breaking into tears and saying, “My son’s in there.”
“Rather than react to finding his son and personally checking for any indication of life whatsoever, [Victor Turner] instead backed out of the camper,” read an arrest warrant cited by Charleston’s WCSC this week.
Investigators accused the couple of knowing “exactly” where Justin’s body was, describing their behavior during the search as “deliberate” and “obvious,” according to WCSC.
Lewis said that the crime scene appeared to have been staged when responding deputies first arrived.
Megan Turner, known as Pamela Turner at the time, had initially been arrested in connection to Justin’s disappearance, the sheriff said, but her case had been dismissed without prejudice due to a lack of evidence.
Lewis said that after her case was dropped, the stepmother changed her name and the couple moved upstate.
“Nobody that I’m aware of, from any of the family, has ever heard from them again,” Lewis told reporters.
Decades passed before investigators from the local cold case unit began reviewing Justin’s death in April 2021, implementing new forensic technology and searching for additional information on the incident.
Forensic analysis and autopsy results revealed that Justin’s body was put inside the Turners’ camper shortly after his death, and a ligature found at their home matched wounds around Justin’s neck, according to WCSC.
Berkeley County’s public defenders office and attorneys listed for the Turners did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.