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.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Burning building...

Arizona man guilty of arson and hate crimes for burning two churches in May 2023

A 58-year-old man was declared guilty of all six arson and hate crimes for the burning of two Douglas churches on May 22, 2023, authorities said Thursday.

9 hours ago

A 19-year-old died and another man was hospitalized after a shooting at an apartment complex in Ahw...

Suspect sought in Ahwatukee shooting that killed 19-year-old, injured another

One man died and another was hospitalized after a shooting in Ahwatukee early Friday morning, the Phoenix Police Department said.

10 hours ago

This image, made from a video provided by Arizona's Family, shows damage caused by the Watch Fire o...

Associated Press

California reports 1st wildfire death of the 2024 season as fires persist across the West

Wildfires fueled by strong winds and an extended heat wave have led to the first death in California of the 2024 season.

10 hours ago

Marana Police vehicle...

Arizona father arrested, charged in hot car death of 2-year-old daughter at own residence

A 2-year-old girl was pronounced dead Tuesday after she was left in a car at a Marana residence, officials said in a Friday press release.

14 hours ago

An overhead view shows firefighters battling flames at an apartment complex in Mesa....

Firefighters from Mesa, Tempe team up to battle apartment complex blaze

Firefighting crews from two cities combined forces Friday to take on an Mesa apartment fire, authorities said.

15 hours ago

An aerial view shows smoke from the Pius Fire in northern Arizona on July 9, 2024....

Crews gain containment for Pius Fire northeast of Payson, but evacuation orders remain

Evacuation orders for the Pius Fire in northern Arizona remained in effect Friday, but crews were gaining containment of the incident.

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

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