Details of Disappearance Turner was last seen in Chesapeake City, Virginia. She has never been heard from again. At the time of her disappearance, she was stressed because of a divorce and financial problems; she'd lost her job at a home restoration company and her unemployment benefits had run out.
In a conversation with her mother, Patricia Merna, Turner said she was leaving the following night to go to North Carolina for a job cleaning model homes. She was supposed to be back within three days, on September 22, but she never returned.
A man came to the home Turner shared with her sister, looking for Turner. He said he could take her to the Honda Accord Turner rented. Someone other than her had returned it to the Avis rental agency on Battlefield Boulevard north and dropped the key in the after-hours box.
Turner was a regular customer at the rental agency. When the car was returned, it was dirty and the gas tank was nearly empty, which is uncharacteristic of her. On Friday, September 23, her mother and sister reported her missing.
After her disappearance, one of Turner's friends told Merna that Turner had been picking up marijuana from New York City and Atlanta, Georgia and transporting it to the Chesapeake City area. Turner is known to have smoked marijuana, but Merna wasn't aware she was involved in distributing the drug. Her involvement with drugs may have contributed to her disappearance.
Gene "Bones" Morris II was possibly connected to Turner's disappearance; he had served time for manslaughter in connection with a 1996 shooting. A photo of Morris is posted with this case summary. Turner knew him because she'd helped repair his house, and he sometimes took his children to visit her.
Morris told Merna he dropped her off in Chesapeake City on September 22, the day she was supposed to come back home from her North Carolina job. He agreed to meet with her parents to discuss Turner's disappearance, but never arrived at the meeting.
In early 2012, Morris and another man, Dale L. Sparrow, were charged with burglarizing two apartments. Sparrow was found guilty and sentenced to 45 years in prison, but Morris committed suicide in his jail cell in February 2012. While he was in custody he had a phone conversation with his father saying he had information about a woman who disappeared from Chesapeake City.
Authorities searched his apartment and found an overnight bag with Turner's mail and prescription medication, trash bags containing her clothing and hairbrush and traces of blood matching Turner's DNA in the bathtub. After Morris's death, Sparrow claimed Morris had confessed to killing Turner. He supposedly shot her in the head, put her body in a restaurant dumpster and stole over 70 pounds of marijuana from her, which he tried to give to Sparrow.
Authorities have named Morris as a person of interest in Turner's disappearance, but he never faced charges in connection with it and neither has anyone else. In 2012, Merna had her declared legally dead so she could settle her daughter's affairs, such as sell her house.
A witness testified at the hearing, saying she'd seen Turner's body in the bedroom of Morris's apartment and helped him cover up her death. Among other things, she had put on a blonde wig so she would look like Turner and then returned her car to the Avis agency and wiped down its interior.
It's uncharacteristic of Turner to leave without warning or be out of touch with her family, and since she went missing she hasn't used her cellular phone or credit cards. Foul play is strongly suspected in her case, but it remains unsolved.
- Chesapeake City Police Department
Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 29, 2014; casefile added.