The Curious Story of Deserae Turner
Meet Deserae Turner. This fourteen-year-old Utah teen was shot in the back of the head on February 16, 2017 and left for dead.
Two juvenile boys have been charged with attempted murder. Court documents reveal that the teens conspired to kill Turner because they were tired of receiving all her Snapchat posts. Originally the boys had planned on slitting Turner’s throat, but could not go through with it once they confronted Turner. As a backup plan, one of the boys took his brother’s .22 caliber handgun from under the mattress and shot her in the head. More details here.
After two months in the hospital Deserae was released on Thursday April 20, 2017. Prior to her going home, Deserae spoke at a press conference along with her parents. When watching the video of the press conference you will notice how everything is scripted and read from prepared statements. The emotions of joy and relief are forced. Also, according to other articles I read, the bullet is still lodged in her skull. She also underwent intense physical and speech therapy although she does not appear to be suffering from a noticeable speech impediment. It’s a miracle!
Here’s a link to the press conference:
Things Don’t Add Up
Several odd aspects to this event leads me to believe that this is just another staged and contrived event. First and foremost is the ridiculous premise of the story. Supposedly Deserae had arranged a meeting with her two assailants for the purpose of purchasing a pocket knife from the boys because she was being bullied. It was also reported that the boys had become irritated with Deserae’s incessant Snapchat postings, however, they agreed to meet Deserae and sell her a pocket knife.
During a preliminary hearing, one of the accused juveniles stated that their initial plan was to slit Deserae’s throat and then dump her body. However, when they met with the victim they decided that they could not go through with it. The boy went on to state that, as a backup plan, his accomplice had taken his brother’s .22 caliber handgun from under the mattress and it was decided that they would just shoot Deserae in the back of the head and leave her for dead.
None of this sounds plausible. First of all, even if the boys had slit Deserae’s throat, how and where would they have “dumped the body”? The boys did not drive to the scene. Did they plan to carry a dead and bloody body through the streets without being seen? That wouldn’t have aroused any suspicion!
Missing for Three Hours
Another peculiar aspect to this story is the fact that Deserae went missing at approximately 9:30 pm on 2/16/2017 and was found by two women in a canal three hours later, just after midnight on 2/17/2017. Even though their daughter was missing for only a few short hours the family had enough time to make up and print out a missing person poster for their daughter?
As a police officer and detective I have been involved in missing person cases. Calling the police when you believe your child is missing is usually not the first avenue parents take because it is not that unusual for a teenager to be late in coming home.
Typically, when a parent believes their child is missing they usually first begin to experience a sense of anxiety. This anxiety usually leads them to begin calling their child’s friends or driving to the last known place their child was suppose to have been and/or seen. Once the usual avenues of finding their child have been exhausted it is at this point that anxiety can turn into panic. This is usually when the police are called. This is normal behavior. I have a hard time believing that Deserae’s parent’s, or even the police, would issue a missing person flyer when Deserae was found only three hours after she had been missing. Such a short amount of time is barely enough for the police to arrive, interview the parents and gather all the pertinent information.
Give Us Money!
Another possible indicator of a fake story or staged event is the presence of a Go Fund Me page.
On its face starting a Go Fund Me campaign for a person, group or cause it not a negative undertaking. Many people do this every day. Deserae’s Go Fund Me page was set up in order to facilitate donations for assistance with the medical expenses she would incur from a lengthy hospital stay and rehabilitation. Again, there is nothing wrong with initiating such an endeavor. In Deserae’s case, however, it’s not the fact that someone started a fund raiser, but rather when it was started.
Deserae was found in a canal with a gunshot wound to the back of the head just after midnight on 2/17/2017. Strangely, her Go Fund Me page was created on that very same day. Even the bio written for the page is odd. Here is what it says…
Deserae is going through a very hard battle! She didn’t return home from school Thursday, February 16th and after many hours of not knowing where she was, she was deemed missing! After several more hours she was found near a canal by a family friend that was searching for her! She was seriously injured by causes that are yet to be determined. She was flown and is now at primary childrens fighting as hard as she can! Every little bit will help their poor family with their on going family expenses as they go through this tough battle! Please keep them in your prayers!
You can also donate at any America First Credit Union to the Deserae Turner Fund!
I find this to be quite suspect. Are we to believe that on the very day that Deserae was found, within hours after she was hospitalized, someone had the presence of mind to gather a photograph of Deserae, write a description, arrange donation support with a credit union and post a Go Fund Me page? This is very unlikely. If it was not even known what caused her injuries how could the person who posted this donation page know that there would be ongoing expenses? The whole thing just doesn’t make sense.
Scripted Press Conference
As I mentioned above, on 4/20/17 Deserae and her parents spoke at a news conference the day she was released from the hospital. Nothing about this press conference seems genuine. Deserae’s father is the first to speak. One would expect that his emotions would be positive and upbeat because his daughter is finally coming home. Instead, Mr. Turner appears nervous and stiff. Mrs. Turner, in contrast, spends almost the entire time staring into her daughter’s eyes, smiling and wiping away tears. However, upon closer inspection, there are no tears. This is just one more sign that this is a scripted event tailor-made in order to tug at the heartstrings.
The most telling aspect to this press conference having been staged is the fact that Deserae and her father have to read from a pre-written script placed in front of them. None of what they say conveys any real emotion and/or gratitude. Mr. Turner is the first to speak and when he has finished he simply pushes the script in front of Deserae who responds on cue. Every word spoken is devoid of emotion and is simply not believable.
Deserae begins by saying, “I am so thankful to be here today and to be alive.” This statement is delivered in a deadpan style and conveys absolutely no joy. At one point she states, “I told my dad that I am tougher than a bullet, which is still with me today, but I am still here and I get to go home today.” Deserae then goes on to thank her doctors and nurses as well as those who provided support to her parents.
You would think that with all Deserae and her family had been through in the past two months that they could tell their story to the world without it having to be pre-written. Neither Deserae or her father mentioned anyone by name, so it’s not as though they had a long list of people they needed to remember.
At one point in her statement Deserae loses her place and her mother has to point to the script in order to help her daughter find her place.The simple answer is that they are just actors playing a part.
As the headline above states, Deserae tells the world that she is tougher than a bullet, which is nothing more that a soundbite or meme designed to make her appear strong. Deserae also appears at the press conference wearing a tee shirt that says, “Happy”.
Once the Turners completed their prepared statements reporters were then allowed to ask questions. As if the family’s comments weren’t genuine enough Deserae’s answers to reporters are even more unbelievable. A reporter asks Deserae about her shirt and why she decided to wear it (as if it wasn’t already obvious?). Once again, without any emotion or joy, Deserae replied, “I wore it because it says ‘Happy’ on it and I’m happy to go home.”
With each question asked Deserae gives short answers completely devoid of any jubilation. Here are just a few samples of the questions asked and the response given by Deserae with my comments in parenthesis).
Reporter: How was your stay in the hospital?
Deserae: It was pretty good. (No further description? Just pretty good?)
Reporter: What do you miss most about your home?
Deserae: My animals…my horses. (Really? Nothing else? That’s it?)
Reporter: What are you looking forward to doing first when you get home?
Deserae: Seeing my horses. (Again, that’s it?)
Although all of Deserae’s answers to the above questions are suspect there was one question that was asked that was immediately shut down by a member of the hospital staff, or event handler. When a reporter asked, “Deserae, how are you feeling, physically? Describe what your body feels like today.”
As this question is being asked, Deserae’s father immediately appears tense and looks behind him to someone off-screen. Before Deserae can answer a female voice is heard stating, nervously, “Um. We’re not going to answer that right now. Thank you.” Uh-oh! That question was definitely not supposed to have been asked.
For the remainder of the press conference Deserae and her parents appear to be quite flummoxed. It is quite telling. The next question to be asked was, “Could either of you say, how do you feel about this recovery? Is it surprising to be here today in this situation?” That question was met with a long silence by Deserae and her parents. Deserae first looks to her mother then to her father for an answer, but neither can provide one. Finally, the same female voice returns and prompts Deserae by asking, “Are you grateful?” Deserae then replies, “I’m super grateful.” That’s it. No other reply.
An Actual Shooting Victim
Let’s compare and contrast the Deserae Turner shooting with another victim who suffered a similar injury. In July of 2008 Indianapolis Police officer, Jason Fishburn, was shot in the head and chest while attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Like Deserae Turner, Officer Fishburn had a lengthy hospital stay and rehabilitation.
The obvious contrast between Officer Fishburn and Deserae Turner is that Officer Fishburn’s recovery was well documented within the press at the time. Several press conferences were held with various doctors and family members detailing Officer Fishburn’s injuries, progress and rehabilitation. When Officer Fishburn finally did appear on camera he showed obvious signs of both physical and cognitive impairment. His speech was slurred and he had a difficult time walking. Over time these maladies slowing began to dissipate and Officer Fishburn made an excellent recovery over time.
In the below linked video you can watch as Officer Fishburn’s father and neurosurgeon detail his progress. It is very detailed and corresponds to what we see and hear once Officer Fishburn is well enough to appear on camera. In other words, it’s totally congruent to an actual event.
By exercising a little critical thinking and relating these types of events with ones in which we know to be true it is easy to see the fraud that is being perpetrated here. Had the Deserae Turner shooting been a real event then both Deserae and her parents would have no problem discussing her hospital stay, her recovery process and potential ongoing therapy. In fact they would have been quite detailed about it. Instead, we get one or two word answers to questions and a completely disingenuous disposition. In addition, Deserae does not appear to have suffered a serious injury. She looks quite refreshed and healthy for a girl who was shot in the head, was in a coma and had to undergo intense physical therapy.