Alissa Turney: Missing Arizona teen's sister claims 'prime suspect' dad said 'come to my deathbed' for answers
19 years after she was last seen, Turney's sister has turned to TikTok to get some answers but suspects that her stepfather knows everything
For the longest time, TikTok was the tool for Gen Z to lip-sync and dance to the latest popular songs, but it is now being used by one determined woman to solve the case of her missing sister who disappeared almost 20 years ago. Alissa Turney was 17-years-old and a junior at the Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Arizona, when she disappeared on what was supposed to be the last of her junior year in 2001.
Her stepfather, Michael Turney, had legally adopted her after her mother, Barbara Strahm, had died of cancer but is now considered to be the prime suspect in the case. While he has not yet been formally charged in the matter, Alissa's stepsister Sarah has been vocal about stating that she believes Turney is responsible. Besides having written a blog titled '5 Reasons I Know My Father Killed My Sister, Alissa Turney,' Sarah has shared details that she believes proves Turney is the culprit, including a conversation she had with him where he indicated he knew what had happened to her. "When I asked him what happened to Alissa, he said come to my deathbed and I’ll give you all the answers you want to hear," Sarah told 12News. "It really just solidified it that he’s not the man I grew up with. I don’t know that man."
Following Alissa's disappearance, Turney, who shared a fraught relationship with his stepdaughter, had claimed she had gone to California to live with her aunt. A week after she supposedly ran away, he reported to the police that he cad received a call from her where she blamed him for her leaving and told him she was never coming back to Phoenix.
But he soon changed his stance about her disappearance and started telling family members that he believed someone might have been following her and caused her great harm. He said that, because police were not doing anything, he would go search for her himself and even made several trips to California to pass out missing person flyers.
In 2006, five years after she went missing, investigators began looking into the stepfather as a "top suspect" after noticing several inconsistencies in his story. His refusal to let them review the video and audiotapes he recorded in his home -- his paranoid nature saw him post cameras all over his property and document every incoming and outgoing call -- convinced them he was hiding something, and a search warrant was obtained.
During the subsequent raid, they uncovered 26 homemade pipe bombs, as well as a 90-page manifesto where he suggested his stepdaughter had been abducted and killed by two men from an electrical union he worked for, as revenge.
They also found a mountain of documents, which included letters Alissa had written where she claimed to have been molested by Turney, as well as contracts that she signed where she said she had never been sexually assaulted.
Turney did end up pleading guilty and serving 10 years behind bars for the bombs but has still not been charged in Alissa's disappearance. Desperate for answers and evidence, Sarah has turned to TikTok in the hope her sister's story will reach a larger audience.
Since setting her account up in April, she has built up a following of 679,000. She talks about the case and also regularly shares videos from their childhood which seem to point further toward's Turney's guilt. She now believes the platform will be pivotal in solving the case.
"Believe it or not, it has become an important outlet for Alissa’s story. I’ve received more interest in this case from that app in the past month than the last 10 years," she told Dateline. "This is not going away and I’m going to make sure it never does. I still think of her as my tough older sister who taught me to be tough. Now, I need to continue to be tough and use that to fight for the justice she deserves. She deserves her day in court. And I’m determined to give her that."