GARVIN COUNTY, OK - The death of a Pauls Valley woman 12 years ago will be re-examined by the sheriff's office, in light of new evidence.
In July of 2000, 23-year-old Chanda Turner was found with a gunshot wound to the chest outside the Pauls Valley home she shared with her boyfriend. Turner's death was originally ruled a suicide.
From the beginning, Turner's family has insisted their daughter did not commit suicide. They even fought to have her body exhumed in 2009.
Recently the medical examiner's office changed Turner's cause to death "unknown".
A change that the family's attorney Jaye Mendrose calls long overdue. "It was definitely supported by the evidence," Mendrose said. "They are happy that a murder investigation is currently ongoing and we feel confident that Chanda will finally get some justice."
Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes was not in office at the time of Turner's death but believes significant errors were made during the initial investigation. He said now there is enough evidence to re-open the case.
"There has been a lot of persons coming forward with information," Rhodes said. "First hand, second hand information. We need to sit down and do an in-depth interview with these persons."
Sheriff Rhodes said the full criminal investigation will take some time, but is optimistic about finding the truth behind Turner's death. He thinks time may be on their side.
"Attitudes change with witnesses, with the passing of time," Rhodes said. "Persons come forward now that may not have been willing to come forward to law enforcement in the past."
Sheriff Rhodes said he will not comment directly on what new evidence has been brought forward because it could jeopardize the integrity of the case.