Judge acquits stepfather in case of Phoenix teen who went missing in 2001

Jul 18, 2023, 7:41 AM | Updated: 10:02 am

Headshot of Alissa Turney, who went missing after leaving Paradise Valley High School on May 17, 20...

(Alissa Turney - Photo via Phoenix Police Department)

(Alissa Turney - Photo via Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — A man charged with killing his stepdaughter, who went missing in Phoenix more than 20 years ago, has been acquitted.

A judge threw out the case against Michael Roy Turney during a Monday hearing, ABC15 reported.

He was on trial for the death of 17-year-old Alissa Turney, who disappeared without a trace in 2001.

The defense reportedly requested the acquittal based on a lack of evidence.

“For more than 20 years, her family fought for justice, and their perseverance is a testament to the love they had for Alissa,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in a statement. “I am proud of the hard work by prosecutors and law enforcement on this case.

“While our office doesn’t agree with the judge’s ruling today, we respect the decision of the court.”

Alissa was seen for the last time leaving Paradise Valley High School on May 17, 2001, the final day of her junior year.

After visiting her boyfriend’s woodworking class, she said her stepfather was taking her out of school early.

Alissa was initially reported as a runaway by her stepfather. The case was handled as a standard missing persons case until 2008, when new information was obtained by investigators.

In August 2020, over 19 years after Alissa was last seen, a grand jury indicted Michael Turney on one count of second-degree murder.

Alissa’s case had been the subject of a popular true crime podcast, “Voices for Justice,” produced and hosted by her sister, Sarah Turney.

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Judge acquits stepfather in case of Phoenix teen who went missing in 2001