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Stepdad charged with murder of teen who disappeared on last day of school in 2001

Posted at 9:11 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 11:11:00-04

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Officials have made an arrest in the cold case of Alissa Turney, a 17-year-old girl who went missing in Arizona in 2001.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced second-degree murder charges against Alissa's stepfather, Michael Roy Turney, according to a press conference Thursday.

Alissa went missing at the end of the school year in 2001 and was first reported as a runaway by Michael Turney, according to officials.

Michael called in the runaway report, telling authorities that she had left a note and was going to California.

In 2008, new information was brought to light and officials began a criminal investigation into Alissa's disappearance. Officials conducted 200 interviews with coworkers, friends, and family.

When a search warrant was issued on Michael's residence, they discovered a bombing plot, at which point he was brought into custody in 2008.

Officials say Michael took a plea deal and served 10 years in prison in the bombing plot, unrelated to Alissa's disappearance.

He was arrested Thursday afternoon by police in Mesa in connection to her presumed death. Details on what evidence led police to believe they had enough proof in the case were not made immediately available.

During the press conference, officials credited Alissa's sister, Sarah Turney, for her perseverance in this case.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams credited two detectives for years of work towards filing these charges.

Alissa's missing person case remains open until "recovery is made," according to officials.

Watch the full press conference in the player below.

This story was originally published by Courtland Jeffrey at KNXV.