New leads surface in 7-year-old mystery of missing NKY woman found dead

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 10:32 PM EST
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DRY RIDGE, Kentucky (WXIX) - Seven years to the day after Tara Turner was mysteriously found dead in Kentucky, police discussed her case on camera for the first time.

Kentucky State Police said Turner was found dead on Feb. 28, 2016 along Snag Creek in Bracken County. The Bracken County Coroner ruled the cause of death consistent with drowning. The mother-of-three had been missing for nearly a month.

Authorities continued to call it a death investigation. Those closest to Turner maintain she was murdered, highlighting that she was found in the water fully clothed in the middle of winter.

Turner’s family says her ex-boyfriend, who was driving a black truck, dropped her off at the California market. Turner’s sister, Jessica Turner-Rapier, says the man changed his statement five times in the first 48 hours after she went missing.

“We have pretty good ideas on who did it,” one of Turner’s daughters, Billie Turner, said Tuesday. “We had an ex-husband who failed a lie-detector test... an ex-boyfriend who lied about where he dropped her off and refused to take a lie-detector test... and they both shipped off to Florida before anyone could get any answers. In my eyes, they’re both guilty. We trusted both of them. We grew up with both of them.”

KSP Trooper David Jones on Tuesday said KSP has received new leads in just the last few weeks.

“We don’t want to give out any information that could hinder us down the road, give somebody something that they could use in their favor if it’s determined that that person was involved,” Jones said.

Jones noted investigators never said Turner died from drowning per se, only that she was found in water. He added it’s possible she did die from drowning but was careful on Tuesday to reiterate the coroner’s initial findings.

Jones said it was important to speak on camera to get the word back out about the open investigation.

It was a positive development for Turner’s daughters, though they still grieve the loss of their mother.

“It’s really hard going to school and hearing other people talk about having fun with their moms and I can’t,” said Olivia Turner.

“We have to grow up and be adults without our mom being there,” Billie Turner said. “She won’t see us graduate, She won’t be there for our 21st birthday. She won’t even see us get married.”

The family struggles seven years later to describe the heartbreak and anger that overcame them with Turner’s death.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her,” said Turner’s sister, Patricia Weaver.

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