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Dad filmed in 1989 ‘finding’ son’s body charged with murder

A South Carolina dad who was filmed tearfully claiming to stumble across his 5-year-old son’s body nearly 35 years ago has now been charged with his murder.

Victor Lee Turner, now 69 and wearing a medical tube in his mugshot, was arrested with wife Megan Renee Turner, 63, at their Cross Hill home Tuesday and charged with murdering little Justin Lee Turner in March 1989, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) said.

“I can’t think of a more tragic, horrendous murder — a 5-year-old boy,” Sheriff Duane Lewis told a Wednesday press conference.

Megan Turner, the boy’s stepmom known as Pamela Turner at the time, claimed to have been in the shower at their then-home in Moncks Corner when the 5-year-old left to catch his school bus from a neighbor’s house, WCBD reported.

She told police that she didn’t realize the youngster was missing until he failed to get off the school bus home that afternoon.

Victor Lee Turner and Megan R. Turner were arrested for murder on Tuesday. Facebook/Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office

However, the neighbor never saw the boy and he was reported missing from school that day. “He never got on that bus because he was dead inside that house,” the sheriff said.

Two days after his son’s disappearance, Victor Turner was filmed by news crews as he went inside his camper — only to turn around within seconds and say: “My son’s in there. Someone hurt him.”

Justin had been sexually assaulted and strangled, an autopsy showed, according to WCDB. The dad made no attempts to help his son, telling cops he didn’t even touch him when he saw his body.

The first investigation into Justin’s killing stalled out, police said, without saying exactly when it was closed. The dad and stepmom then moved 165 miles away to Cross Hill and never asked for an update on his death, the sheriff said.

“Isn’t that strange? I never got one phone call, one phone call from his daddy or stepmother. ‘What are y’all doing about my son’s death?’ Not one. What does that tell you?” Lewis said.

A cold case investigation was opened in 2021 with new technology helping lead to this week’s charges, police said.

Megan Turner admitted arguing with the boy the day he went missing, WCSC reported, citing the new arrest warrant.

Shortly before his son’s body was found, dad Victor Turner was also overheard asking a law enforcement officer what would happen if a family member had “done harm to the victim, such as killed him,” the warrant added.

Justin Turner’s cousin, Amanda Parsons, thanked law enforcement at the Wednesday presser. WCBD

That “transparent question” showed an “apparent awareness” of his son’s death before the body was found, the warrant stated.

The news footage also showed the dad claiming to find his son’s body “within seconds of entering the camper,” the documents added.

“Rather than react to finding his son and personally checking for any indication of life whatsoever, [Victor Turner] instead backed out of the camper commenting, ‘He’s in there, my son is in there. Somebody’s hurt him,’” the warrant stated, adding that Victor “told investigators, ‘He looked dead. I could feel that something was wrong with him. I did NOT touch him.’”

Forensic analysis indicated that Justin was put in the camper “a short time” after he was killed, which was likely around the time he was last seen, WCSC reported.

A suspected ligature found in the Turner’s house also matched the wounds on Justin’s neck, and fibers on the ligature were consistent with his shirt collar material, the warrant added.

Both Victor and Megan Turner “expressed concern and devised a plan to withhold/conceal potential evidence” from the beginning of the investigation, the document stated.

“This is an amazing day,” Lewis said of the murder charges.

Authorities announced a breakthrough in the Turner case on Wednesday. WCBD

“We have a lot of forensic evidence. We got here because of new technology and forensic medicine. Y’all we all know how things have progressed over the years. And we kept pushing and plugging and pulling to finally get what we needed to make an arrest,” he continued.

Justin’s cousin, Amy Parsons – who was eight years old when her cousin was murdered – spoke of the family’s relief.

“I want to say our justice system did what it was intended to do and put these two people where they deserve to be because they’ve walked for 34 years.

“They’ve had freedom for 34 years, while our family has suffered and they don’t deserve another day from behind those bars,” Parsons said, according to WCSC.

Both Victor and Megan declined to speak to investigators during a three-hour drive from their home in Cross Hill back to Berkeley County, the sheriff said.

The couple are both currently being held at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center without bond, jail records indicate.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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