Phoenix detectives, seeking fresh leads, bring '01 case to TV

When Phoenix
detectives served a search warrant at Michael Turney's home in December in connection to the 2001 disappearance of his 17-year-old stepdaughter, they found hoards of video surveillance tapes dating back to the 1980s.

The old VHS tapes included footage of Alissa Turney at home. But most were of ordinary family moments with no impact on the case. Detectives also uncovered audio recordings that led nowhere.

Investigators dug through the backyard to no avail, and a police cadaver dog never spotted evidence of a body.

Although a the warrant led them to a dead end in the cold case, they found dozens of improvised explosive devices at Turney's northeast Phoenix home. The cache, large enough to destroy part of the neighborhood, landed Turney in a federal holding facility as he awaits trial on multiple weapons charges.

On Wednesday, the Alissa Turney story appeared on "ABC's Primetime: Crime," as detectives pleaded with a national audience to help them uncover the missing evidence to confirm how the teen disappeared from the house near Bell Road and 34th Street.

Phoenix Detective Will Andersen, who picked up the case last year when he joined the department's Missing Persons Unit, said Turney was obsessed with recording the everyday actions of his own children. But the tape of Alissa's last day at the home never turned up.

"I haven't found any consistency in his audio or his video," Andersen said. "For as paranoid as he comes across, or as Machiavellian as he is in his control, has hasn't organized a thing worth a damn."

Turney is considered the lone investigative lead in Alissa's disappearance. Andersen and fellow Phoenix Detective Stuart Somershoe believe the teen was last seen at home by her stepfather on her final day of her junior year at Paradise Valley High School.

Turney told police he quarreled with Alissa and left the home, only to return to a note that said she had left for California. Andersen said he believes that Turney has been vague in sharing details with investigators and that he refuses to take a polygraph test.

After his arrest on weapons charges, Turney admitted the weapons were intended for a local electricians union with which he had a disagreement, according to court records
.

Multiple people also told investigators they suspected Turney sexually molested Alissa. The teen's friends told police she cried and admitted that her stepfather touched her inappropriately, which investigators only recently made public.

Turney's family members dedicated a Web site to his case, stating that police "obtained the search warrant by hearsay . . . from estranged family members and former boyfriend." They added that Turney made 30 trips to California to try and locate Alissa.

Anyone with information about Alissa Turney's disappearance can make a an anonymous call to Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

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