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Kelly Gant, who is also known as Kelly Renee Turner, is accused of murdering her 7-year-old daughter, who made national headlines when she was granted a Make-A-Wish to battle Batman and even became a police officer and firefighter for a day in Colorado. Gant is accused of faking that Olivia Gant was terminally ill.
Gant had a blog and a GoFundMe account, all designed to generate public sympathy for her daughter’s supposed ailments. The blog was called “Prayers for Olivia Gant,” and it contained lines like this one: “MRI of the brain at the neuro office showed that Olivia had a vascular malformation of the brain. Further testing determined that it is inoperable.”
Olivia died in 2017 at the age of 7, supposedly of intestinal failure after battling a host of illnesses. But authorities now say the child didn’t have them. Gant was booked by the Sheriff’s Department in Douglas County, Colorado under the name Kelly Renee Turner. She’s 41 years old, according to jail records. According to 9News, when Turner/Gant was questioned, she brought up “Munchausen syndrome by proxy,” and denied she had it. That’s a psychological disorder “marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care,” WebMD reports. In some cases, the caregiver, often a parent, makes up symptoms or actually causes the child’s illness.
Olivia’s obituary read: “Sunday, August 20, we lost our little ‘princess’ Olivia, after a long battle to a rare disease at the age of 7. ”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Sheriff’s Department Arrested Gant at a Hotel After a Year-Long Investigation & She’s Accused of Withdrawing Medical Care for the Girl
According to 9News, the indictment alleges that Gant “withdrew medical care and nourishment in the girl’s final weeks,” but does not specify Olivia’s cause of death. At one point, Gant even convinced a doctor to sign a “do not resuscitate” order for Olivia, the television station reported.
The television station reported that Olivia’s body was exhumed in 2018 and a forensic pathologist “found no evidence” of the supposed cause of death – intestinal failure – or other conditions Olivia supposedly had suffered from. Authorities grew wise to the situation only after Gant claimed Olivia’s sister had suffered from cancer, but a new doctor became suspicious about the claim. A series of other doctors had not believed Olivia was really that sick during her lifetime, but it still took the sister’s supposed illness to make authorities question the death, according to 9News.
The Douglas County Sheriff announced that, “following a year-long investigation by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, an 18th Judicial District grand jury returned a 13-count indictment against Kelly Renee Turner (a/k/a Kelly Renee Gant), date of birth 06/24/1978, for charges related to the August 2017 death of her then 7-year-old daughter, Olivia Gant.”
The release added: “Olivia’s death was the subject of Denver area news media attention at the time. Detectives arrested Turner at a Glendale hotel Friday morning.”
Turner, the Sheriff wrote, “was booked into the Douglas County Detention Facility and is being held without bond on the following charges:”
C.R.S 18-3-102 (1)(f) Murder In the First Degree
C.R.S. 18-3-102 (1)(a) Murder In the First Degree
C.R.S. 18-6-401 (1) Child Abuse
C.R.S. 18-4-401 Theft (three counts)
C.R.S. 6-6-111 Charitable Fraud (three counts)
C.R.S. 18-8-306 Attempt to Influence a Public Servant (two counts)
C.R.S. 18-5-104 Second Degree Forgery (2 counts)
“The following agencies provided valuable assistance in the investigation: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Department of Human Services, Douglas County Department of Human Services, The Kempe Center, 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office,” the Sheriff’s Department wrote in the news release.
“I am extremely proud and impressed with the determination of all agencies involved, especially my detectives. While it has been an extremely emotional case, they have investigated all aspects of it with diligence and professionalism,” stated Sheriff Spurlock.
2. Olivia Gant’s Wish Was to Dress Up Like a ‘Bat Princess’ & Be a Police Officer & Firefighter
A 2017 story by CBS Denver described how Olivia Gant, then, 6, had supposedly been “diagnosed with neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, a disease that attacks many of the body’s vital organs.”
The television station quoted Kelly Gant, Olivia’s mother, as stating that, when Olivia was asked by the Make-A-Wish Foundation which wish she wanted, the girl said she wanted to “battle Batman.”
“She said, ‘I want to battle with Batman. We are going to battle Ursula, and we are going to battle Captain Hook,’” said Kelly Gant to CBS Denver. “All to save Bella and Ariel.”
The wish came true. “A dream is a wish your heart makes,” Olivia said to the station. Make-A-Wish Colorado told CBS in a statement after the charges were issued against Kelly Gant: “We are deeply disturbed by the allegations in this case and intend to follow it closely in the hope of learning exactly what happened. Our procedures for granting a wish require a referral from the child’s medical team, and we rely on their assessment. As we seek to learn more about the circumstances that led to Olivia’s death, we fondly remember her spirit and hope that granting her wish brought some joy to her tragic life.”
Olivia’s plight drew national attention when, according to ABC News, the Denver Police Department granted her wish to be a police officer for a day. She “was given her own uniform, a ride in a patrol car and made ‘an arrest,’” the story says, describing Olivia as “terminally ill.” Kelly Gant told ABC that Olivia had dementia and required hospice care. That article described Gant as a mother of three. Olivia was also able to be a firefighter for a day.
3. Olivia’s Obituary, Which Said She Was Born in Texas, Described Her ‘Big Battles’ & Love of Dairy Queen & the Zoo
The obituary was heartbreaking before the charges came down, and it’s even harder to read now. It says that Olivia Gant “was born June 21, 2010 in Pasadena, Texas to her parents Jeff and Kelly Gant. She has lived in Littleton, Colorado for the past four years.”
Olivia was with us for a very short time, but through her short life and BIG battles she taught us that we can “be joyful in all things” 1 Thess. 5:16. After many operations and numerous stays in the hospital, Olivia always came home with a smile. She would be overjoyed to see her big sisters and ready to play with them immediately!
She became known as the “Princess” after always wearing her princess dresses while in the hospital. No hospital gowns for Olivia. Through her many stays in Children’s Hospital Colorado, most people there loved and cherished “the Princess.”
She loved school and was able to attended Pre-k, Kindergarten, and part of first grade at Columbine Hills Elementary before her health begin to decline more rapidly. That was the highlight of her life being at school with her teachers and friends.
At home Olivia loved playing with her sisters, being on her iPad, or watching her DVD’s. She had an unbelievable imagination that would entertain herself and others for hours. Her “mouth” never stopped, but would give others such joy and laughter.
The obituary describes how Olivia loved to visit Dairy Queen, the Zoo and Dinosaur Ridge “when she was able.”
“She loved vanilla ice cream cones, lions and could tell you almost anything about Dinosaurs and sharks,” it read. “It was only the last month that the playing and talking began to cease. Our precious little princess will now have a new body, no tubes, no more pain or sickness and everlasting joy with our Lord . . .See you in heaven our precious Olivia. . . You and your ‘Hero’ with our Lord.”
4. Kelly Gant Raised More Than $22,000 on a GoFundMe Page & Is Accused of Defrauding a Funeral Home & Cemetery
Kelly Gant solicited money on GoFundMe, raising more than $22,000 from people moved by the girl’s supposed plight.
“We are hoping for support both financially, spiritually, and emotionally. Not only will this be a taxing time for Kelly (mom), and Olivia but for Olivia’s sisters and the friends and family who are willing to step in and help during this time,” the page said.
It’s now been deleted. According to 9News, Gant is also accused of defrauding the Medicaid system of more than $538,000 and defrauding a funeral home and cemetery.
5. A Blog Described in Great Detail the Illnesses That Authorities Don’t Believe Olivia Really Had
A 2014 blog post reads that Olivia “was born premature and was other than little, healthy….or so we thought. At around 9 month checkup, her pediatrician noticed that she was not developing mentally, physically and that her head was growing off the chart.”
The post continues in great detail:
After a trip to the orthotics place, and a referral to the neurologist we thought we would simply get a helmet to reshape her skull and all would be well…..Don’t ever count your chickens before they hatch…..MRI of the brain at the neuro office showed that Olivia had a vascular malformation of the brain. Further testing determined that it is inoperable. What came with that…..Possibility of seizures, blindness, aneurism, stroke or death….It was decided that she would be monitored every few months…Routine MRI..NOT…The next MRI led them to do an ultrasound because something in her neck looked different so we now have discovered that there is a tumor on the paratiod gland in her neck…what comes with that you may wonder…deafness in the right ear, trouble swallowing,trouble chewing,. So in the course of from the time Olivia began seeing dr for specific things in her short life, we have now turned 2 in June have extended our diagnosis list, have been to several drs before we found one actually able to TEST and TREAT Olivia and we found them in Denver, Colorado.
The post also claimed that Olivia was “an autistic child.”
“Olivia at the age of 2 is an autistic child with an inoperable vasuclar malformation, a tumor on the paratiod gland, external hydrocephalus(too much water on outside of brain),developmental delay,L-Carnatine Deficiency,Seizure Disorder,and Celiacs disease…” it reads. She even had surgery for a colostomy, the blog reads.