Victor and Megan Turner are charged with murder for cold-case death of his 5-year-old son, Justin: Victor famously cried on TV as news crews filmed as he discovered the boy’s remains 34 years ago

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina
  • Victor Lee Turner, 69, and Megan R. Turner, 63, have been charged with murder in the death of 5-year-old Justin Turner 
  • Investigators long thought a 5-year-old South Carolina boy found strangled in 1989 was killed by father, Victor, and stepmother, Megan
  • The boy’s body was found inside a cabinet in a camper behind the Turner home in March 1989 

A man who was seen on camera crying after finding his 5-year-old son’s dead body in 1989 has now been charged with murder 34 years later. 

Victor Lee Turner, 69, and Megan R. Turner, 63, have been charged with murder in the death of 5-year-old Justin Turner, Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said at a news conference Wednesday. 

Investigators long thought a 5-year-old South Carolina boy found strangled in 1989 was killed by his father, Victor, and stepmother, Megan. 

But it took 34 years of scientific advancement to link microscopic fibers found on the boy’s shirt to a ligature that investigators located at the couple’s home, a sheriff said.

The boy’s body was found inside a cabinet in a camper behind the Turner home in March 1989.

‘My boy is in there,’ Victor said after finding the body and leaving the RV.

Megan R. Turner

Victor Lee Turner (pictured left), a man who was seen on camera crying after finding his 5-year-old son’s dead body in 1989, has now been charged with murder 34 years later. His wife Megan R. Turner (pictured right) was also charged with murder in connection with the boy’s death

The Turners have been charged with murder in the death of 5-year-old Justin Turner

The Turners have been charged with murder in the death of 5-year-old Justin Turner

Victor is seen crying after finding the remains of Justin Tuner inside an RV on their South Carolina property in 1989

Victor is seen crying after finding the remains of Justin Tuner inside an RV on their South Carolina property in 1989

Investigators immediately thought the killing scene had been staged and caught the couple in lies, including that he had gotten on the school bus the morning he disappeared, Lewis said. 

Megan Turner was charged with murder shortly after the boy’s death, but prosecutors dropped the charge, with the condition that they could refile it if more evidence emerged.

Scientific advancements, combined with evidence collected in 1989, was the push needed, the sheriff said.

Tiny fibers from a ligature that investigators found at the home shortly after the boy’s disappearance were found to match those found on the boy’s shirt, sheriff’s deputies said in the arrest warrants.

‘That enabled us to tie in the murder weapon that we believe was used to strangle Justin to clothing and fabric on his clothing at the time of his death,’ Lewis said.

Investigators suspected the Turners from the beginning, based not only on the ligature, but the couple’s behavior. 

Other possible evidence was that food from a dinner the family had eaten the night before Justin was reported missing was found during an autopsy to be only partially digested. 

Investigators said that showed the boy was killed not long after he ate. The couple said the last time they saw Justin alive was the next morning as they got him ready for school – sparking a search for the youngster.

Victor Turner, seen in archival footage from 1989, was in tears when he discovered his son's dead body

Victor Turner, seen in archival footage from 1989, was in tears when he discovered his son’s dead body

An image of victim Justin Lee Turner is displayed during a news conference, Wednesday in Moncks Corner, South Carolina

An image of victim Justin Lee Turner is displayed during a news conference, Wednesday in Moncks Corner, South Carolina

The child’s body was found two days after he was reported missing. 

Just as a massive search was getting underway, Victor Turner entered the camper as a TV camera filmed him. Seconds later he said he found the body among the many cabinets and drawers in the camper, deputies said.

Turner didn’t check to see if the boy was alive, instead backing out and saying someone had hurt him, according to the statement.

‘He looked dead. I could feel something was wrong with him. I did not touch him,’ Turner later told investigators.

Before the body was discovered, a witness said Turner asked a law enforcement official what might happen to a family member who had harmed the boy, deputies said.

Deputies said the couple do not have lawyers. They are being held without bail at the Berkeley County jail after being arrested at their home in Laurens County, about a three-hour drive away.

Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis announces the arrests of the father and stepmother of a 5-year-old boy killed in 1989

Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis announces the arrests of the father and stepmother of a 5-year-old boy killed in 1989

Images of Victor Lee Turner, 69, and Pamlea K. Turner, aka Megan Renee Turner, are displayed during a news conference

Images of Victor Lee Turner, 69, and Pamlea K. Turner, aka Megan Renee Turner, are displayed during a news conference

The sheriff said deputies gave them ample time to talk during the ride after reading them their rights, but they chose not to.

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

Several members of the boy’s family were at the news conference, including Amy Parsons, who was eight years old when her cousin died. 

She said while many of her relatives grieved and cried and demanded justice – including the boy’s mother, who has since died – the Turners moved away and disconnected.

‘Put these two people where they deserve to be because they walked for 34 years,’ Parsons said. ‘They had freedom for 34 years while our family suffered.’

South Carolina

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

Leave a Comment

api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api