Man Filmed Crying After Locating Son’s Body 34 Years Ago Now Accused Of Murder
Justin Turner, 5, was found dead in 1989, two days after his father, Victor Lee Turner, and stepmother, Megan Turner, reported the boy missing.
Microscopic fibers tested over three decades after a 5-year-old boy in South Carolina was strangled to death has led to the recent arrests of his father and stepmother, according to authorities.
Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis announced at a January 2024 news conference covered by the Associated Press that Victor Lee Turner, 69, and Megan R. Turner, 63, were arrested at their home in Cross Hill, South Carolina, in connection with the murder of the child, Justin Turner.
On March 5, 1989, two days after Justin was reported missing, Victor located his son’s body in a cabinet inside a camping trailer parked behind the couple’s residence in Moncks Corner. The seemingly distraught father’s reaction to the discovery was documented by a WCBD-TV camera crew covering search efforts.
“He looked dead,” Victor told detectives about finding his son, according to the AP. “I could feel something was wrong with him. I did not touch him.”
At the time, investigators believed the crime scene may have been staged. Officials also said the couple told detectives they last saw Justin getting on his school bus. Partially digested food in their son’s stomach, however, was determined to be from the family’s dinner the evening before he was reported missing, indicating he was possibly killed shortly after eating the meal, according to the AP.
“He never got on the bus, he never arrived at school,” Lewis claimed to reporters at the Jan. 10, 2024 news conference, The New York Times reported. “That’s because he had been murdered. And he’d been murdered by his stepmother and his father, and left in a camper behind their house.”
The sheriff added, “I can’t think of a more tragic, horrendous murder.”
Though the boy’s stepmother, Megan, who eventually changed her name to Pamela, was charged in connection with the case at the time, prosecutors had to drop the charges against her with the caveat she could be recharged if new evidence emerged, the AP reported.
In April 2021, detectives with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit utilized scientific advancements in forensic technology to reinvestigate the murder. They compared microscopic fibers from a ligature allegedly collected at the couple’s home during the investigation with fibers found on Justin’s shirt, Lewis said.
“That enabled us to tie in the murder weapon that we believe was used to strangle Justin to clothing and fabric on his clothing at the time of his death,” the sheriff noted.
He added of the years following the child’s murder: “I never got one phone call — one phone call — from his daddy or his stepmother. ‘What are y’all doing about my son’s death?’ Not one. What does that tell you?”
Victor and Megan Turner were transported from Laurens County to the Berkeley County jail, where they were each being held without bail.
The victim’s cousin, Amy Parsons, said she wants the suspects “where they deserve to be,” the AP reported.
“They had freedom for 34 years while our family suffered,” she said.
The child’s birth mother reportedly died in the years after her son’s homicide.