• Collier Landry

Raise Your Voice! w/ Sarah Turney, Host of the Voices for Justice podcast - MPM #64

What would you do if the closest person to you in the world went missing?

What if the police told you that she was dead, and they knew who her killer was?

Now, imagine them saying that it was up to you to "raise enough Hell" to force them to make an arrest?!

Faced with that very devastating predicament, Sarah Turney started a podcast called Voices for Justice.

Founded on a mission to bring her sister Alissa's killer to justice, Sarah's advocacy has stretched far beyond her case. Through her podcast and advocacy, hundreds have found solace in their search for loved ones and in seeking justice against perpetrators of crimes against their families.

The ultimate definition of the word "heroine", Sarah shares how far she has come and how far she is willing to go to raise every victim's Voice for Justice.


Sarah's website: https://www.voicesforjusticepodcast.com/

Voices for Justice podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/voices-for-justice/id1469338483

Disappearances on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3mKEfFdAOyb9iaBcOwANir

Follow Sarah on Social Media:

TikTok: @saraheturney

Instagram: @saraheturney

Link to the YouTube version of this episode: https://youtu.be/axVLtE-wJKQ


Link to this episode's sponsor: https://www.skylightframe.com/

Use code: MOVING at checkout for $15 off your purchase!


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Sarah Turney: [00:00:00] I don't think I processed it for a long time, to be honest. I'm not sure what I thought. I certainly felt abandoned for a long time. I can say that, you know, Alyssa was basically my only mom and it was extremely confusing to me. You know, there, there on one hand, you know, of course there were people saying, and perhaps she could be dead.

And then on the other. You know, in my mind, I, I even wrote a college essay about it that I hoped that she was on a beach somewhere sipping margaritas and that she found a new life. [00:00:30] I was extremely confused. Of course. You know, so, yeah. I don't know what I thought. All right. That just hit me. Sorry, . No, you're fine.

Yeah, it was, I mean, it was really sad. I slept in her bed every single night, you know, I just wanted to be close to her, and for a really long time I felt like, and now I'm getting emotional. I felt like, you know, what did I.

Collier Landry: Testimony continued. Today in the most notorious criminal trial in Richland County history. Dr. John Boyle [00:01:00] is accused of killing his wife Noreen and burying her body in the basement of his new home in Erie, Pennsylvania. The 12 year old son finally took the stand as I heard a screen. I heard a thud was about this loud.

We the jury, find the defendant guilty. When I was 12 years old, my testimony sent my father to prison for murdering my mother. This podcast serves as a type of therapy and reconciliation for myself, and it is my hope that it helps anyone who has experienced deception, betrayal, and dark trauma. [00:01:30] I'm Collier Landry, and this is Moving Past Murder.

Hey, movers. Welcome back to another episode of Moving Past Murder. I'm your host Collier Landry, and what's going on? What's going on, people? Happy Friday, another episode. I got a great episode for you guys today and, uh, I just got back from New York City where I was there for the world premier of the film.

[00:02:00] 1946, the movie, um, 1946, the mistranslation that shifted Culture. Directed by my dear friend Sharon “Rocky” Roggio, and,shot by yours truly and great to see it in person on the big screen at DOCNYC Fest. And, uh, actually was five years to the day in even the same theater at the, uh, at the Syst in Chelsea, where I premiered A Murder in Mansfield.

So it was a really. Very circadian moment. I was really stoked [00:02:30] and the weather was beautiful while I was there, which is a huge surprise. So, uh, I just missed the snow and the ice and the cold and, and the nastiness. So I even got to meet some long lost relatives that I had never met before. Uh, while we were there in Brooklyn, I did an episode called TikTok Family Reunion, where I discovered some of these relatives and they came out and met me for the first time and I received probably the best compliment, which was you.

Exactly how I remember your mother, and that was a really nice [00:03:00] compliment to hear. So it was a really great trip to New York. I have an amazing guest today. She is the host of the Voices for Justice podcast. Sarah Turney is an amazing individual. We have a fantastic conversation in this episode. I'm really excited for you guys to hear it and to hear about her process and all the work that she's doing, not only for her sister, but her advocacy for other families in the true crime space and helping.

Fine justice through her podcast, voices for Justice. So [00:03:30] to the interwebs we go for this week's listener question and comment of the week. So this one comes from Jen Ulyen. This says very simply Collier. Curious if you have figured out closure. Well, Jen, that's an interesting question and for me, I believe that I figured out closure because I.

That look, I set out to find out why my father murdered my mother, and then I [00:04:00] realized that even though I thought that that was gonna be, knowing that information was gonna help. Ultimately moved me through my trauma. It, it isn't. What I needed to do is find that peace within myself and that acceptance, and know that the answer that I was seeking wasn't the answer that I needed, that it was less about the finish line and more about the journey.

For me to come to a place where I can share my story, [00:04:30] I can impact other people, and I can ultimately change my life and the lives of those around me and those that listen to this podcast, for example. So that's what closure looks like for me at this moment. Now, that may change, but that's where I'm at with it.

So speaking of finding closure and seeking justice for your loved ones, my guest today is Sarah Turney. She is the host of the Voices for Justice podcast. And she shares the story of how she got into podcasting and her [00:05:00] journey to find justice for her older sister. Alyssa, please welcome to the program Sarah Turney

Collier Landry: [00:00:00] It's good to have you here.

Sarah Turney: thank you. It's great to be.

Collier Landry: So actually you and I were just talking before, we actually got into it, but there was a woman who was just recently murdered while jogging. And you and I were sharing sort of, you know, people were sort of excoriating her a little bit. Like, well, why was she out jogging? And you said, Well, you know, she was living her life..

And for me, you know, I was just, I was [00:00:30] sharing how I don't always you know how I might, I think of my myself, right? And as someone who has been a victim and had my mother murdered, I don't look at the world in a way where I live in fear. And I think that we were just starting to delve into that on as people who work in true crime.

As people who work in true crime, you know, there are a lot of people that are very interested in this genre because they wanna learn how to protect themselves [00:01:00] or be aware, but where does the line really get drawn between, you know, as victims of trauma, where you're hyper aware versus where you return to some sort of normalcy and just decide to live your life?

What does that look like for you?

Sarah Turney: Oh gosh, I don't know. You know, I can say that I live in fear. I won't walk my dogs at night alone. I won't walk around my block where I've lived here for almost 12 years now, alone. I'm not sure. The world for me can return to normalcy. I just, it, it's, [00:01:30] I think it's a mixture of fear and just listening to too much true crime.

I just don't think it's worth the risk, unfortunately. And that's what's really sad is I shouldn't have to be afraid to go out at night. I shouldn't have to live in that fear. Like people should just stop killing people. I think that's a better solution. But what do you do? I mean, how do you see a story like that and not get scared.

Collier Landry: You know, it's. And what led us into that, that line of that line of discussion was I was talking about a new podcast I'm doing with Terra [00:02:00] Newell called Survivor Squad. and when she gave me the guest list, it was all women, you know, out of 20 guests, like 19 or 18 were women. And I said, Wow.

I said, There's, it's all women. And she took it as a way of like, Oh, she needed to get some testosterone in there so I could have some guys to talk to. And I was like, No, that's not why I said it. Why? I said it was as someone who sought justice for the number one woman in his life, I am disheartened to see that all these, that how women are still [00:02:30] constantly victimized.

And in my sort of approach to true crime, I've always asked like, why are people obsessed with true crime? Or why are people so into true crime? And the number one response that I get back from, Listeners is say this is, they're trying to learn ways to protect themselves. So I, it sounds like you seem to think the same thing.

Sarah Turney: Oh gosh. I mean, I think it's such a loaded question why people are into true crime. I mean, I certainly do hear that all the time. I can say, that's not my experience. That's not why I like true crime. But I hear that all the [00:03:00] time. I mean, I'm into true crime for advocacy. That's why I'm here, because I see an opportunity to change someone's life, to help a family, to help empower survivor to help.

Help people. Honestly, that's what I see. True crime as is a huge opportunity to help, but I understand why people listen for so many different reasons.

Collier Landry: And I think that is definitely a tie that binds you and you and I is, I got into this to continue the advocacy work that I sort of found myself [00:03:30] in the middle of from making my film a murder in Mansfield. It's like this was the next process and it's again, raising awareness because obviously you got into doing Voices for Justice for your sister Alyssa.

So when you started your podcast, what was the first goal?

Sarah Turney: I mean, just to raise awareness honestly. Yeah. I just wanted people to know her name and her story and to help me.

Collier Landry: And so you got into it, You know, it's funny because you have this, Well, it's not funny. it's interesting. It's a better way to describe it. You have [00:04:00] a, a pin tweet on your Twitter that says how, how it started and how it's going , and it says, I use TikTok

Sarah Turney: Yeah, so it's two different Elle articles. Well, it's the same Elle article and the title changed. It was I'm using TikTok to get justice for my sister, I think is what it says. And then the second one says, I use TikTok to get justice for my sister.

Collier Landry: I thought it was very, very powerful.

Sarah Turney: Well, thank you. Yeah, it was a trend if anybody remembers a while ago, but it's been my pin tweet ever since. Of course, I'm very proud of [00:04:30] that. You know, I, I wouldn't say I used TikTok to get justice for my sister, but it's a cool thing to see it, It made me feel very empowered and, you know, like, like what everything was was worth it, you know, all the pain, all the trauma.

Collier Landry: I know how that feels. So on that note, tell me about your story, how you came to this in a sense of you were trying to find anyone who would. about what happened to your sister. Is that correct?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, so I mean, for those not familiar. You know, my sister went missing when I was 12 and she was 17. We [00:05:00] were just kids and I didn't know what happened. Of course, I just went on about my life the best I could, and eventually the police sat me down and said, We know who killed your sister, and your best chance is to get media exposure for her.

So that's exactly what I did. Of course, you know, at first I went to all the, the huge outlets you first think of. You're like, Oh, ABC 2020, and Nancy Grace and Dateline, I'm gonna do all those. And nobody was interested. Even ABC 2020 who had done the story in the past refused to do an update episode. [00:05:30] So then I started going to independent creators.

I went to YouTube and I eventually found podcasts and I started emailing, like literally cold emailing. I mean dozens of people a day just asking them, Please cover my sister's story. And eventually they did.

Collier Landry: Okay, so , hold on. So the police told you, we know who killed Alyssa, but you need to get as much media attention as you can in order for them to pursue the case. Is that

Sarah Turney: Yeah, essentially they essentially, they sat, [00:06:00] they sat me down and said although we were going to make an arrest before, we are no longer going to make an arrest. We suggest you get media exposure. There were no promises, you know what I mean? They didn't say, If you get so much media exposure, we'll make an arrest.

But that was their, their course of action for me. And unfortunately, I'm not the only family the Phoenix Police has told that to. I'm very close to a, a woman named Kristen Thalen, whose sister brand new Myers also went missing from Phoenix in the nineties. And the police sat her down and said the same thing.

They said, We know who killed your sister. We know [00:06:30] what colored trash bags her body was put into. We can't help you. You should get some media exposure. It appears to be something that Phoenix Police does. I know. I know. It's insane. It's ridiculous. As a family member, it's, I mean, in a way it's a blessing to be told that we know what happened, right? We, this case is essentially solved, but guess what? It's on you. And that's the really hard part because I don't think they ever expected me to get the media exposure.

I did.

Collier Landry: Now,

you've listened to my podcast. [00:07:00] and you know that brevity is not my specialty. So it is rare that I am left speechless, but I am literally speechless, . So they essentially said, We know who the killer is, we can go after them. But until you get a significant amount of media attention,

we will not make an arrest. I mean, the sheer fact that it's staggering to me that they even said that, I guess it's sort of a blessing and a curse cuz it's like, well, at least I know where I stand. Like you just said, at least I know something. But basically you have to force, they're saying you have to force us into action.

You have to force our [00:07:30] hand is essentially, I mean, is that how you.

Sarah Turney: That's what it felt like. You know? And I didn't know. I was so confused when they told me that I was just a puddle and I was crying. I didn't know what to do other than listen to their instruction. I didn't really think about it twice until kind of this, this fog lifted after the arrest was actually made.

And I was like, Wow, was that just a wild goose chase or. Was that detective really trying to do me a favor by saying, get media attention, because he knew that somehow that that might force their hand. I don't know. I still don't know. It's still a question that [00:08:00] keeps me up at night, you know? What were their intentions in telling me that?

Did they really want me to get media? I don't know.

Collier Landry: I mean, that's wild. And so how old were you at the time that that happened?

Sarah Turney: Oh, I mean, I was much older than maybe 25, 26, something like that.

Collier Landry: so mid twenties and, So your sister went missing when she was 17. You were 12? Correct. And then when did you actually find out that she, I mean, I'm assuming when she didn't come back, you probably [00:08:30] assumed the worst.

Sarah Turney: I don't think I processed it for a long time, to be honest. I'm not sure what I thought. I certainly felt abandoned for a long time. I can say that, you know, Alyssa was basically my only mom and it was extremely confusing to me. You know, there, there on one hand, you know, of course there were people saying perhaps she could be dead.

And then on the other hand, you know, in my mind, I, I even wrote a college essay about it that I hope that she was on a beach somewhere sipping margaritas and that she found a new life. I was extremely confused, of course, [00:09:00] you know? So yeah, I don't know what I thought.

Collier Landry: All right. That just hit me. Sorry,

Sarah Turney: No, you're fine. Yeah, it was, I mean, it was really sad. I slept in her bed every single night, you know? I just wanted to be close to her, and for a really long time I felt like, and now I'm getting emotional. I felt like you know, what did I do wrong? Was I really that mean of a little sister? Was I really that annoying and bratty that she had to leave me?

But of course, now that I'm. You know, I could see all the things she did for me and realize that that wasn't the case. You know, she made [00:09:30] Christmas happen for me, and birthdays happen for me, and without her, none of that would've ever happened. And that's not someone who doesn't love you. That's not someone who wants to abandon you.

That's someone who's legitimately acting as a mother figure. So obviously now, you know, I know that she didn't leave on her own accord.

Collier Landry: You know, in a way we both lost our mothers at 12 . I mean, I lost her at 11, but I was almost 12. Right. And it's interesting what you just said. You know, I can remember [00:10:00] when I was told that, you know, Lieutenant Mess Moore found your mother. It's an eternal pause. And she was, And look, I knew it. I knew it. I knew my father had murdered her the next morning when I woke up, you know, And he said, Mommy took a little vacation, Callier.

I knew that, you know, my course was 25 days until, you know, I eventually, you know, worked with investigators and they discovered her body. Right. You had a period of how many years? Her, you know, when did you actually, so you [00:10:30] were 25 is when you really had that re resolution

Sarah Turney: It's hard to say. You know, I think it, it took me a long time to come around, but at least 10 years. Yeah. Where I was just wondering.

Collier Landry: and you know, I remember for me when I heard that, The overwhelming amount of sadness that I felt, but also this sort of massive relief. And I get that sense from you that that was, was that the same for you, that like you were at least relieved?

Sarah Turney: I don't know. You know, I think [00:11:00] it was really hard for me at first, of course, because you know, of course my, my father, I can't get into too many details, but my father is you know, he's been arrested for her murder now. And like Alyssa, my sister, my dad was my best friend after she was gone. You know, he was my only parent after that.

And you know, as a kid, you think your parents really cool when they let you eat fast food for every meal. When you have ice cream for breakfast, when you don't have to go to school, you think that you have the coolest parent on on earth and then you realize, you know, that that is somewhat neglect at [00:11:30] a certain point.

So, but when I, when I was told all these things, I was really resistant to it. I was like, Absolutely not. There's no way my dad could have done this. That's not how I saw him. I don't think that's how many children see their parents. It took me a long time to finally, What it was, and I mean, I don't, no, I don't think I was relieved.

I really wish it was someone else, you know? Cuz this has destroyed my entire family as I, as I'm sure you know, you know.

Collier Landry: Yeah, I [00:12:00] just. I mean, my heart goes out to you in a way where I just, I just feel like you, I. It's something Amanda Knox said to me the other day, like when we were interviewing her, she said, You know, it's like when you have a child, right? You don't have, you don't know until you have a child. And this is the same thing, like when you're in this situation, like you don't know what that's like.

It's, it's so hard because you've lost that person, but then you have this relief or [00:12:30] knowing what that resolution was, but then at the same time, your next kin family member is responsible for taking that person from you.

Sarah Turney: Oh yeah. It's just the worst. I mean, I can't even describe it, but yeah, you're right. I, I don't think a lot of people understand until they're in this situation, and hopefully they never are. That's what I always.

Collier Landry: yeah, and I think that's, you know, I, I know that's why I started or why, why I made a murder in mans. Why I started the podcast is I wanted to speak to, [00:13:00] I wanted to speak to like the younger version of me. Do you feel that way?

Sarah Turney: Yeah. Oh yeah. That's why I wanna talk to all the families. That's why I talk to them online, offline, you know, text me, call me. They email me, asking me for advice about certain shows they go on. Absolutely. I just wanna help prevent. As much as that of that trauma as I can for other families, you know, they shouldn't have to go through everything I did.

Collier Landry: Oh, I mean, I completely agree. I don't know if you find this sort of the situation that you're in often, but you know, they, they come, they come [00:13:30] to you in almost an apologetic way. Like, like they're, what they're going through is somehow minimized because of sort of the over the top traumatic experience that you've had or that I've had.

I mean, that's when people come to me and I just, and I go, Yeah. compare that. Don't let that minimize what you're going through because you're going through it too. My, my story is just so wacky and so outrageous as yours is. That we [00:14:00] almost like we're here to, you know, it's okay. You, you're, it's important to you and it's important to me because it's important to you.

Like that's your story. Just, it's not about who has the worst trauma. It's about like, what can I do to help you? Right. What, what can I do to be of service to you so you don't have to feel that pain in, Have, have there been, have there been certain cases or certain families that you've worked with that have really touched you?

Can you share a.

Sarah Turney: Absolutely. I mean it, you know, I don't wanna give too [00:14:30] much away because I really respect their privacy, but, you know, I speak to families all the time. I would say one that has really stuck with me is the mother of Alicia Navarro. Alicia was, oh my gosh, it's been a while since I've spoken about it.

Forgive me, I believe she was 14. The anniversary of her disappearance is coming up this month. But You know, it just destroyed her family. You know, it's most likely that she was let away by a predator. She was just a child and left a note for her mom saying that she would be back. And, you know, we talk all the time because it's, it's so difficult to navigate [00:15:00] this space to know who's good, who's bad, what's a good deal, what's a bad deal, Are they using me?

You know, I have people coming to me all the time saying, Oh my gosh, I shared, you know, Very private information with this person. Now they're selling the story. You hear stuff like that all the time. But yeah, I mean, plenty of families have stuck with me. You know, Jessica Easter, Lee's family has stuck with me.

She was unfortunately killed most likely by her boyfriend. I mean, I speak to families all the time. They have my cell phone number. They can call me, they can [00:15:30] text me. That is one of the things I pride my myself on. Everybody I work with. I tell them, you know, the end of this episode isn't the end of our relationship if you don't want it to be.

You know, I'm always here for you. And so they'll email me, you know, I wanna start a podcast, how do I do that? And I'll walk them through that. But on the flip side of that, I think, you know, you also have to respect that some families, Don't want this to be their life. So, you know, I let families opt into having that relationship with me and if they just want to do an episode and never think [00:16:00] about it again, I also respect that, you know, it's extremely traumatizing.

So that was a, I'm also very long winded, so yeah, I keep in contact with a lot of families, but I also, again, really respect the fact that some families just wanna do an episode and go on with their lives.

Collier Landry: So what got me thinking when you were talking about all that was, I'm realizing, I, I think because you said traffic, and they got me thinking, and I just noticed something on TikTok the other day, and I think I may even forwarded it to you, but this person was talking. [00:16:30] And they were in Phoenix and they were at a grocery store.

I think they were in Glendale, which I, I believe is a suburb of Phoenix, if I'm not mistaken. And they were at like a grocery store in Starbucks and there was somebody yelling, Marco. Marco. And this strange woman came up to that and, and it just felt like a weird situation. Our most of the cases that, that, are you finding, cuz you, you're from the Phoenix area, like that's where you grew up?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, born and raised.

Collier Landry: Born and raised. Were you, do you, are most of the cases that people, that [00:17:00] you're working with, are they from that area or from the southwest.

Sarah Turney: No, not at all. I pick up cases from everywhere, and that's by design. There's a very low bar to enter to get into my podcast. It's, is it unsolved? You need justice? Is it solved and you wanna talk about justice? Let's do it. You know, it's, it doesn't matter if it's big, small you know, any of that. I, I pick 'em all up.

And that's from my own experience. You know, when I was fighting for Alyssa, I had people tell me, Your case is too big, I don't wanna cover it. Your case is too small. I don't wanna [00:17:30] cover. And you know, I, I will never do that to a family.

Collier Landry: That's interesting. So why was your case too big

Sarah Turney: I don't know. I've been told it looks like you don't need any help. Which was extremely disheartening. Because, you know, and I get it right, you know, when cases get popular, I understand why. The, the thought is they don't need any help. And on the other side of that, there's a family still. Over here like me screaming, Hey man, I don't have justice.

You're saying, My sister's case is so big, I don't need help. Where's the justice? You know, I would love some more help. So yeah, that, that's a [00:18:00] big reason why I cover cases big and small.

Collier Landry: Huh.

That's

Sarah Turney: time with the true crime entertainment industry. It's, I've seen just about everything

Collier Landry: and it's so interesting because I'm interviewing you as a, just a person who has been through this experience and you're talking back to me as someone who's sharing your experience in the true crime world. And it's, it's so fascinating. Like this is when I first talked to Terra and she was talking about this cuz I'm so unfamiliar with this territory.

I'm a guy that made a movie about his life, about what? To his [00:18:30] mother and the murder and all of that. It is not a true crime movie, even though it is all about true, about a murder. It's not about that. It's about the humanity of, of, and the consequences of violence. That's what it's about. And then I start this podcast and I'm like, Okay, well I'll just put it under, Okay, yeah.

I guess it's true crime. So I'm gonna talk about true crime cause my life is true crime. Okay, tick that box and then I get submerged in this world, . And I hear these stories from you guys. I'm just like, what? Like, and you're such, your perspectives are so unique and so [00:19:00] fascinating to me.

I just

Sarah Turney: Because people don't really understand how true crime is made. They just see the finished product of an interview with a family or talking about a case. They don't see the things behind the scenes, the way that creators talk to families. You know, and, and I think a lot of creators never expected me to do anything but sit there and beg for help.

So, you know, when I became a creator myself, it was really interesting to see that pivot.

Collier Landry: , So talk to me about, You, you know, what are ways that creators, , somebody will do a, [00:19:30] do an episode about a story a lot of times. Do you think that they don't engage with the family at all?

Sarah Turney: Sure. Yeah. I mean, absolutely. There's tons of podcasts that don't reach out to the family, and I'm not saying that's good or bad, you know what I mean? I honestly think that there is no obligation to reach out to the family. And let me tell you why before you think I'm crazy, cuz a lot of people think that I, you know, preach consent only.

You can only cover cases that the family say That's okay. And. I don't agree with that because I can tell you that there was a very large podcast that did an episode about my sister [00:20:00] never reached out to me, never asked me any questions, never did anything. Just released it. And it was like the best gift to me.

I was like, Thank you. I don't have to go run and do an interview. I don't have to review a script. I don't have to fact check for you. It was a gift of an episode. So that's, that's another reason why I believe in that. You know what I mean? It's. If, if you see a family shouting for help and they're like, Hey, please anybody cover my loved one's case, you know, I would love to of course connect with that family, but I would also love to present them with a gift of a [00:20:30] podcast like I've been given in the past.

So, you know, in every case is different. Some families really like to be involved. Some don't care. So again, you know, everything I do is very customized to the family.

Collier Landry: One of the things that I became really aware of is you know, again, I, and I think you and I have discussed this before, but I realize by putting myself out there,, Do a podcast. I made a film. I'm talking about this on TikTok, Twitter, b b wherever, Instagram, this is my life. So when people, you know, they'll see an episode of Forensic Files, which [00:21:00] my family's case is one of the most popular episodes, I think it's called Foundation of Lies.

People will reach out to me, they're like, Oh my God, I saw your episode of Forensic Files and I found your film and I found your podcast. And so they asked me a bunch of questions and I just consider that normal. Okay, this is my life. But then I realize, You know, you read other victim stories of families that are grieving when they have a television show made about them starring Renee Zelweger

you know, the thing about Pam, right? And how personalized or how, maybe in their perception the Pam figure who [00:21:30] murdered someone's mother and, and I believe another person and, and, and stepdad was arrested. I think he even went to jail for prison. , you know how they maybe glorify the killer. I know that there's been a lot of talk about the, you know, the Ted Bundy, or I think it was Ted Bundy.

I don't know a lot about serial killers, full disclosure, but I think Zach Efron played him Ted Bundy, I think, and how they glorified it, right? So Zach Efron handsome guy playing, you know, a serial killer and I almost feel like, you know, Yeah, I understand that perspective, like how and, and what it [00:22:00] does.

You see that we live in a digital age, you reach out to that person like, Hey, I saw your thing. I just wanna say how sorry it is and blah, blah. And I think for people that aren't public about this and families that don't, that wanna just move on from this, they don't wanna hear about that. And how do you toe that line as a creator?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, I mean, honestly, if I see a family that says We're not interested in doing media, I just move on. know, it depends on the case. Of course, there are, there are cases of missing children where perhaps the, the parents are suspects or persons of interest. So if they say, [00:22:30] Move on, I might cover that case in the best interest of the children.

You know, Harmony Montgomery is a great example. You know, it, it there. It's hard and that's why I say that every case is different and you have to just customize it for every case. So you'll never find me out there saying, Yeah, I consult every single family, or no, I never consult a family cuz there are some creators that will never work with families and it's, I just, I think it is the best thing for the case to customize your content to the needs of that case.

That's just how I do it. And [00:23:00] maybe it's right, maybe it's wrong, I don't know. I'm just trying to be empathetic and be kind.

Collier Landry: Yeah. And you feel that that's a, that is a very rare sort of scenario. The care you take.

Sarah Turney: Not as rare as it used to be. Not as rare as when I was doing interviews. To be honest. I think people have really I've really taken that into consideration more as more families become outspoken. You know what I mean? As they say, Hey man, my experience in true crime hurt. You know? I think there are a ton of creators that are listening to that.

I think there will also always be creators who just don't care.[00:23:30]

Collier Landry: And why do you think that is? Do you think that it is because it's so difficult to put themselves in that situation?

Sarah Turney: It's hard to say, and again, I think it depends on the person. I think some people just genuinely see these as stories in which the family should never be able to have a voice. You know, I think that they think that perhaps they're being objective by removing the family from them all together and saying, Hey, I'm taking a, a different approach to this.

I'm trying to see it from a very level headed perspective and not talk to the [00:24:00] family who might sway me. But I think. Again, people are all different. So it just depends. I think there's definitely a lot of people who don't talk to families because it is an added hassle. It really is. It takes more time, it takes more sympathy, it takes more energy.

Now you're not just writing an episode and speaking it into a microphone. You're maybe conducting an interview. You're doing some follow up. It, it's a lot more complicated when you bring families into it.

Collier Landry: Well, I guess now you say that, you know, if somebody doesn't want to participate, you just kind of move on and don't even discuss it. [00:24:30] You know when I got into. Well, really my impetus, my drive for getting in, you know, even pursuing, you know, telling my mother's story was just, I wanted, I wanted to share, you know, the consequences of violence because I felt very much like, you know, that we as a society never looked at the impacts, like the ancillary victims, the impacts on communities, the impacts on law enforcement that had got involved in these cases that tried to bring justice and maybe.

I, I think about all of that. And it's just, it, it's weird to see it all, [00:25:00] you know, be put into like, now it's in fashion right now. It's become the thing to be hyper aware of this and, Oh, we're so good, we're such good people. , you know, sharing this info. How, how does that affect you in a way, like when you see that it's like, Oh, now you guys are catching up,

Sarah Turney: It's hard. I mean, of course, you know, I'm human, so I'm like, okay, yeah, now you're doing it. Like, you know, that's always in the back of my head. I'm not gonna lie about that. But you know, I try to focus on the good when I see new people enter this space with large followings. I know we were [00:25:30] talking about Kim Kardashians starting a podcast.

I get. I mean, I mostly get hopeful. I'm like, Man, think about all the people she can bring over to True Crime. Think about the audience she's bringing. Think about the resources that she could be expending to help the people that she's featuring. Now, I don't know everything about this new podcast, so you know, it was just announced, but I believe it's about wrongful convictions.

And so when I'm thinking about that, I'm like, man, How excited do you think the people that she's working with are? They have to be so excited and so hopeful that they have someone like [00:26:00] her to help her, and I think a lot of people are missing that, which makes me. That goes back to making me sad. Cause I'm like, Okay, I'm so hopeful about this and nobody's talking about how excited those people must be to work with her.

And in my head it goes back to the theory of, is it not really about the people at the center of these stories for the consumer? That's my concern. If people aren't getting excited for those people being featured, why are we in true crime? You know what I.

Collier Landry: That's a, that's a great point. [00:26:30] Like, is the consumer not being excited? Are people not seeing it for what it is? I don't know if you have this with your podcast, but I'll have people be like, Well, you know, you. Yeah, they, they just get so very nitpicky about, Well, you know, you didn't do this and you didn't ask them this.

And I'm like, Okay, well first of all, I'm talking to someone who's been through a lot, or I'm sharing something that's very personal and you are taking issue with me or you think that this person should give more details? Because they have to be vague because they have a court case that's happening and they can't discuss the details or , they can't talk [00:27:00] about certain things, so they have to sort of dance around answers.

Cause they're still living in their trauma. I think the public is probably the worst offender in a lot of ways because they just, they're like, you know, it's like they wanna see the coliseum, right? They want the details and what we wanna know, we wanna. But it's like, why do you wanna know so you can just drop it and go onto the next one?

You wanna consume the next piece of material, the next piece of media. I think that's what frustrates me, and it seems like that's where you're going with that.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, I mean, it is frustrating and it's disheartening, but I think you have to look at true [00:27:30] crime as a system as a whole. Right? And why do people consume content the way they do? Why are they responding to these things the way they do? And I think that's because they've been conditioned. From a very young age to consume one type of true crime content.

And that's sensational. That's your ABC 2020. That's your unsolved mysteries. That's your you know, and forgive me cause I didn't consume a lot of it, but it's everything with dramatic music in the background and reenactments. That's what people are used to. That's what they grew up with. They grew up with Nancy Grace, you know, making up names like top Mom [00:28:00] and, you know, people fantasizing about fricking Ted Bundy.

It's just the way that true crime has evolved over the years. So I really don't blame the consumer because that's what they've been force fed for so long. You know, bringing up topics about, Hey man, how are the families treated? Are you treating them well? Are you being kind to them? Bringing up topics like, you know, if you're making millions of dollars a year off of a podcast, what's your obligation to get back?

You know, I didn't think that those were radical topics when I started bringing them up. I thought that they were common. [00:28:30] And a humanity thing. But when I started talking about that a few years ago, that's how it was perceived. It was like, look at how radical Sarah attorney is asking people to discuss giving back, you know, asking millionaires to give back to the cases that they cover.

That's insane. So it's really interesting, you know, and again, I think the consumer is used to what they're used to. It's like if you've only shopped at a, Walmart for groceries your whole life, , you don't know how good organic produce from a farmer's market is or whatever. It's just, it's [00:29:00] unfortunately what's been forced down their throats.

Collier Landry: That's a very interesting analogy and so true.

Sarah Turney: I mean, no shade. You know there's food deserts out there. I get it. But I was just trying to dig for something there that made sense.

Collier Landry: No, it's, it's great. It's like when you go, you fly into Maui and everybody that lives on the island of Maui always jokes that if Costco was outta business, everyone would starve.

Sarah Turney: Oh wow. Yeah, I've never been to Maui. I don't know. But yeah, no, and that, I mean, if you take away sensational true crime, yeah. There, I mean, now it's better, but you know, there, [00:29:30] there's not gonna be a ton left.

Collier Landry: Myself, I didn't grow up watching true crime. I mean, I saw, obviously, I saw Unsolved Mysteries. , but it wasn't something that I was like, Oh, I really wanna watch this. I really wanna do this. Cuz it just was like, first of all, it hits way too close to home, . Second of all, it's sensationalized with these ridiculous reenactments.

I couldn't, I just was like, this is terrible and, and third, it's like, I don't want to hear about stuff like that. What I wanna hear about is the people could, Cause I was looking for me, I was looking for the guy or girl. [00:30:00] That or person. Went through hell and came out the other side. Those are the stories I was researching.

Those are the people I was trying to look for and I didn't find very many of 'em. You know, speaking of Maui, I was, I was playing guitar and smoking. The wacky tobacco with the gentleman whose father was incarcerated. His name is Woody Harrelson and his brother was very affected by that.

But you know, their father was in, in prison for murder. I'm not sure what exactly happened with that, but you know, and they made a life of [00:30:30] themselves. Right? And it's like, I remember searching out their stories and being like, Oh, that person lives a good life. That person did something positive. And as an artist, of course, I gravitate towards people in the entertainment industry.

I saw people like that and said, okay, if they can make it. I can too. And I think that's really where I was looking for that. Like, cuz I, am I gonna make it to 40 or am I gonna make to 30 ? Then when I made it to 30, I was like, Okay, am I gonna make to 40? You

Sarah Turney: Hmm.

Collier Landry: And it's like yeah, it's, You know, I think a lot of these things too, that people don't realize is, you know, [00:31:00] and I don't know if you feel this way, but you know, this year I turned the same age that my mother was when she was. That was a big deal for me. And obviously you have lived past Alyssa's age, do you think about that on like a time scale?

Is that something you think about?

Sarah Turney: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I even thought about it when I turned 17, you know, and I felt like every moment after that was just so precious and that, I mean, to be honest, that's when I settled down. I had a very wild streak in my teens after Alyssa went missing. And [00:31:30] at 17 I realized, you know, that life is a gift and you have to make the most of it, Which sounds really cheesy, but I swear it's just naturally how I am in my brain.

And then, yeah, when I, when it hit the point that, She had been gone longer than she was here. That was really, really hard for me. Even this year, I'll be turning 34, and that's the year my mom died. So yeah, that's, I, I think about that kind of stuff all the time. It's really hard.

Collier Landry: How old were you when your mom died?

Sarah Turney: I was four.

Collier Landry: So you were really, really young now Alyssa was your [00:32:00] half-sister, so was she, was she your mom's daughter as well?

Sarah Turney: Yes, We shared the same mother.

Collier Landry: So she would've been

Sarah Turney: She was like eight or nine.

Collier Landry: good. Eight or nine. And that's when your father was there taking care of the family.

Sarah Turney: Yes. He, I mean, he was the only parent we ever knew.

Collier Landry: It's a tough row to hoe, you know, Sarah,

Sarah Turney: I mean, I, I do feel, No, don't, It's okay. I mean, thank you. I, I'm like the worst at accepting apologies. You think I'd be better at it? I know. It's like, No, no, no, it's fine. I mean, it's, it's not fine. But, [00:32:30] but also, yeah, I mean, in a way, you know, the way that I, I felt very neglected as a child is almost a blessing now, you know, the less influence from him, the better, honestly.

Collier Landry: for sure. Now I know that you can't talk about a lot of it cause it is ongoing now. This case has been going on for a while. It's just kinda sitting at the standstill, right.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, he was arrested two years ago.

Collier Landry: What is that like? Just sitting and waiting for the wheels of justice to turn.

Sarah Turney: Honestly absolute hell. But I try to constantly remind myself [00:33:00] that I should be grateful and I try to remain grateful because I'm in a position that a lot of people are still fighting for. I mean, I spent how many years fighting for that, and now I'm here and now I'm whining about it. You know, it's, it's hard.

It's, it's a hard thing cause I wanna give myself grace to be sad about it, while also reminding myself how lucky I am to be here. But yeah, I mean, the entire process. Has been not fun and absolutely terrifying. And I mean, again, nothing short of hell. And it's you know, I think we were talking about this before, but as if I didn't need more [00:33:30] passions, you know, I am now passionate about helping families going through the trial process because my God, it's unbearable.

Collier Landry: So is it, But but the now can we say who the person is? Right? We can. We've said that

Sarah Turney: Yeah. It's common knowledge. Yeah.

Collier Landry: So your father, who, is he incarcerated or is he out on bond?

Sarah Turney: No, he's in jail.

Collier Landry: So he's in jail sort of waiting. Does it ever weigh on your mind of like, as you're ticking off? Okay. Cuz he was into, this wasn't his [00:34:00] only dust up with the law, Correct.

Sarah Turney: That's correct. Yeah. He was arrested in what, 2008 I think for domestic terrorism. Essentially, he was caught with a bunch of bombs in his house. So our house, I was there too.

Collier Landry: Oh my God.

Sarah Turney: That's why there's like 30 episodes of my podcast. It's such a long, crazy story.

Collier Landry: It is a long, crazy story. So ultimately when he was arrested for the murder, Were they looking at him for other things? Is that, So obviously you make this public, you just go full on like, okay, game on, get more [00:34:30] media attention. You got it.

Bet exactly, exactly , and then you are full on in that mode. But did they, arrest him for that or did he do something else? Because I find a lot of times when people, Would you say your father's a narcissist?

Sarah Turney: Yes.

Collier Landry: So I feel a lot of times when they're a narcissist, they, you know, it's like, never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.

They just do stuff that is so insane Did he get caught for something else? And then, then he was arrested for the murder too. They [00:35:00] were like, Oh, we got you on this and we're gonna get you on this too. Was it like that situation?

Sarah Turney: You know, I don't have those details, but as far as I know, he was just charged with second degree murder and nothing else.

Collier Landry: Got it. I, Cause I recently discovered, I interviewed the judge for my father's trial and my and my father, I didn't even know this. My father had used his identification to rent a cold storage unit to store my mother's body.

And I mean, first of all, morbid. And I was trying to say, well, is it a like a cold storage? Like you like [00:35:30] sign in to a hospital? And he is like, No, it's where you store a cow. Cause I'm from Ohio and we do things like that. We store the hog, the cow, and the in the meat locker essentially.

And that's where he put my mom's body. Like that was what he, I mean just, you know, and I think that because these individuals are, are narcissists and sociopaths that they. , they literally just think there's no, police aren't gonna be smart enough to catch me doing X, Y, and Z. You know, they leave this trail of bread crumbs that they just, just seem to be [00:36:00] never ending.

I mean, that's what you find right.

Sarah Turney: Yeah. And of course, you know, everybody's different, but yeah, I, I think that very few people kill thinking that they won't get away with it, or at least very few intelligent people who kill. You know go in thinking they're not gonna get away with it. Of course they think they're gonna get away with it, you know, very manipulative, narcissists.

They get away with a lot over a long period of time, so why not this too? Yeah. But obviously a lot of people slip up and that's how they get caught.

Collier Landry: What do you think? You know, when you think about advocacy [00:36:30] and sharing your story to make an impact on others, ultimately at the end of the day, what is, What is it that is your end goal?

Sarah Turney: I mean, now I wanna change true crime. I wanna change all of true crime. I wanna change it for the better. I wanna give it back to these families to survivors. You know, people like you and me and Terra Newell and all of our friends, I wanna give it back to them. You know, I feel like we are very much kind of the factory workers, the unsung factory workers of true crime, especially those who give interviews.

But people just pick up our [00:37:00] stories and they profit off of them. And then when we go, Hey man, we didn't like that we're told to shut up and go away, that we're somehow canceling people and that we're somehow, you know, hurting free speech when really we're. Begging for humanity. And we're, get I, we talked about this too, how I think we're going from begging for humanity to demanding it and claiming our space in true crime.

So yeah, I wanna, I wanna change true crime. I wanna take it over.

Collier Landry: I love that. I love that.[00:37:30]

Sarah Turney: Well, I don't True crime. Why does true crime belong to these random people with microphones? I'm sorry. And I'm not trying to be a jerk. I love a lot of random people with microphones. I really do. I think they're great people and they do great work, But why them? Why them instead of people firsthand affected by true crime instead of experts, instead of legal experts, or you know, people with law enforcement background, or again, people like me and you, family members, survivors.

Collier Landry: Well, I mean, honestly, I think it's because it's really hard for people to [00:38:00] talk about, I feel like, or they're busy doing so many other things, just getting on with their lives that they don't choose to do that. I think that's an, I think that that is an interesting, It is interesting you say that because it's very true, but it's also like, I don't think that people.

Look, you're so beaten down by the process, whether it's the legal process, you know, the justice system, whether it's it's, it's even getting the justice system's eye trained on what's [00:38:30] going on in your situation or in your loved one's situation. Whether it is just your overall frustration with your experience with dealing with societal parameters.

These type of events I feel like people don't feel empowered. And I think that's one of the amazing things that you, myself, others are doing by getting behind a microphone, by getting in front of a camera, by, by taking initiative with our own story, is to say, Look, hey, you know, we're, you're gonna hear about it [00:39:00] from the horse's mouth, or we're gonna share our perspective.

Because it is one thing when a host that grows up with a really nice cushy. And has this wonderful thing that is a super fan of true crime is talking about something. It's quite another. When you literally have woken up the next morning and your mother is missing and they say, Oh yeah, Mommy took a little vacation call and you know that your father killed your mother.

It's one thing when your sister disappears and you spend the next 10 years wondering what happened to her. and then knowing what happened to her. And then a cops. And the cops say, If you don't make a big enough stink, we're not gonna [00:39:30] push, push an arrest. Oh, okay, well let's game on motherfucker. You know, let's game on at that point.

And it's it's interesting, but it is, it is nice to see more people taking up arms and taking up voices. What do you think of when you see a case like Gabby Petito.

Sarah Turney: Oh, I mean, what a loaded question that is. I mean, you know of, of course it, it depends on the progress of the case. At first, I just felt so bad for her family. I mean, I still feel bad for her family, but you know, I was sharing Gabby Petito's story up until she was found and it [00:40:00] became extremely clear who did it, and I felt like, you know, she didn't need media exposure anymore and her parents were taking a step back.

I certainly helped all the way up until that point, or at least I hope I helped by sharing. But it's hard. I think the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the words Gabby Petito, unfortunately, is exploitation. You know, and it's such a loaded question because I, it's hard when I see someone. Find a tweet or talk to a Redditor and make an entire episode out of it.

I think [00:40:30] why, What is this adding to the conversation? And more than that, how does the family feel about this? You know, I just, I see so much pain in the Gabby Pettito case, and of course there's pain in all cases, but I mean, you know, we have to be honest, I haven't seen a case get that big in a really long time.

Collier Landry: Yeah, it's interesting because, you know, I almost feel like people feel that they're entitled to exploit something like that because they go, Well, okay. She was videotaping her journey. They were doing it through social [00:41:00] media. It was a whole journey that they were capturing live for the world to see.

So therefore, we can just pick up where the story left off.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, and people say that about me too, but it it, I mean, I don't think anyone's entitled to anything. That being said, I do think, you know, I believe in the first, you know, I believe in your right to free speech. So if somebody wants to make a million episodes about me or you or Gabby Pettito, they have every right to do.

So. That's not my question. It's not, you know, that's not my argument is whether or not you have the right to do so. It's, is it [00:41:30] the right thing to do and are you helping? Those are two totally different concepts to think about.

Collier Landry: Yeah. Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should do it.

Sarah Turney: I mean, that's how I feel. But you know, not everyone feels that way.

Collier Landry: Yeah,

Sarah Turney: been told all the time, like, you know, you put yourself out there. I can do whatever I want. And I'm like, I'm not debating whether or not you can do whatever you want. I'm debating about whether or not that's gonna hurt someone, whether or not it's gonna hurt me, whether or not it's gonna hurt my sister's case, and you just don't seem to care.

Collier Landry: Yeah.

Sarah Turney: But I think few creators are willing to say that, you know [00:42:00] what I mean? I wish they would just come out and say, Hey man, I have a right to free speech. I don't care what you think, I'm gonna do what I want anyway. But that's not the way they're positioning themselves. They're positioning it in such a way that, you know, you're cancel culture and you don't believe in in the right to free speech.

And it's like, I didn't. Not at all, man. You're getting

Collier Landry: They're not taking the onus. Yeah. They're not taking the onus on themselves of what they're doing. They're trying to twist the narrative and manipulate it. And that's what makes me angry for sure is is the same thing, oh, you're anti-free speech.

Oh, you're saying something. You're not doing [00:42:30] this No, , That's not what we're talking about here. Talking about it is what you are doing to sabotage or exploit, without even intending to do it. Just cuz you're not intending to. You know, I love it when people are like, Well that wasn't my intent.

Well, it's like, yeah, I know that that wasn't your intent, but that was what your actions caused

Sarah Turney: Yeah.

Collier Landry: like, you're not taking your responsibility for it by saying, I didn't mean to do it. Like the drunk driver did not mean to kill the kid the crosswalk coming home from school. They didn't mean to do that.

They still killed the kid in the crosswalk coming home from school.. Because they were [00:43:00] drunk driving a vehicle. it's like, it is, it still happened. You can't ignore that, just cuz. Oh, I didn't mean to do that. I didn't know that my actions would lead to this.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, I wish more people would just come out and say, You know, that wasn't right. I apologize. I've learned from it and I'm gonna move on. I did that when I talked to our friend Kara Chamberlain Robinson, you know, I had her on the show and she was like, It's extremely disrespectful for people to cover solved cases without, you know, the survivor or.

The, you know, the family involved. And I was like, you know, I've done that in the past. I'm [00:43:30] so sorry. You're extremely correct. And I put that out there for the whole world to see. And I did that on purpose, not just because I'm like, look at me, but it's, I want to lead by example. And if, you know, I think everybody should be able to say, Hey, man.

I'm a person on this planet and I'm trying to learn and grow. Every day. I messed up. I learned I'm trying to grow and I'm moving on. I think there's no shame in that, but the second that you start saying, I'm not hurting anybody. When somebody comes out and says, specifically, you're hurting [00:44:00] me, then it's a different story.

Then I think you're just perpetuating that cycle of abuse in true crime.

Collier Landry: Cycle of abuse. It's interesting. It's a lot, It's a lot to think about

Sarah Turney: this forever. Don't mind me.

Collier Landry: Right. Well, it is, it's a very cyclical situation. I mean, do you feel that, I mean, so again, you're not poo-pooing companies making stories about cases. You're not poo-pooing, , saying that people don't have the right to do that.

You just want them to question why they're [00:44:30] doing. and what, like what is their end game and what is the benefit or the detriment to the families or the survivors or the victims?

Sarah Turney: Well, I mean, if the creators themselves won't ask those questions, I would love if the consumer did. But you know, I'm not trying to tell anybody to do anything. I'm just bringing up issues that I've heard, issues I'm dealing with myself, issues I've dealt with in the past, and issues that families bring with me or bring to me.

Cuz the, the cold, hard truth is true. Crime hurts people. And anybody who says that it doesn't is lying.. I can say that [00:45:00] I'm sure I've hurt people in the past. You know what I mean? And that's what the best intentions, It just happens, you know? These families are traumatized every single day, and they have to live in this space, especially the families that are fighting for justice.

Something as simple as getting an email from a random creator could be hurtful. It just is what it is. This is an extremely hurtful genre. Everything about it is sensitive and everything about it hurts. And to not acknowledge that is just silly to me. You know, we're not talking about beauty products here.

We're talking [00:45:30] about murder and death and terrible, terrible things.

Collier Landry: Yeah.

Well on that note,

Sarah Turney: I know. I'm so positive. I'm so fun to talk to

Collier Landry: No, no, no. That's a great note. That's a great way to wrap this up. I mean, that's very poignant commentary for sure. So Sarah, where can we find you? Where can our listeners find you? What, tell us a little bit about that.

Sarah Turney: Yeah. So I host and create the Voices for Justice Podcast, where you can find on all podcast platforms. I also host a podcast called Disappearances that is [00:46:00] exclusively on Spotify, and you can follow me on every social media. TikTok is my most popular under Sarah E. Turney, but of course I have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all those good things.

Collier Landry: There we go. And we will put a link to all those items in the show notes as well. Sarah Turney, I really wanna thank you for your time for being on the program.

Sarah Turney: Of course, thank you.

Collier Landry: It's good to have you here.

Sarah Turney: thank you. It's great to be.

Collier Landry: So actually you and I were just talking before, before we, um, before we actually got into it, [00:46:30] but there was a woman who was just recently murdered while jogging. And you and I were sharing sort of, you know, people were sort of, uh, excoriating her a little bit. Like, well, why was she out jogging? And you said, Well, you know, she was living her.

life And for me, you know, I was just, I was sharing how I don't, um, always, uh, you know how I might, I think of my myself, right? And as [00:47:00] someone who has been a victim and had my mother murdered, I don't look at the world in a way where I live in fear. And I think that we were just starting to delve into that on as people who work in true crime.

As people who work in true crime, you know, there are a lot of people that are very interested in this genre because they wanna learn how to protect themselves or be aware, but where does the line really get drawn between, you know, as [00:47:30] victims of trauma, where you're hyper aware versus where you return to some sort of normalcy and just decide to live your life?

What does that look like for you?

Sarah Turney: Oh gosh, I don't know. Um, you know, I can say that I live in fear. I won't walk my dogs at night alone. I won't walk around my block where I've lived here for almost 12 years now, alone. Um, I'm not sure. The world for me can return to normalcy. I just, it, it's, I think it's a mixture of fear and just listening to too [00:48:00] much true crime.

I just don't think it's worth the risk, unfortunately. And that's what's really sad is I shouldn't have to be afraid to go out at night. I shouldn't have to live in that fear. Like people should just stop killing people. I think that's a better solution. But what do you do? I mean, how do you see a story like that and not get.

scared

Collier Landry: You know, it's. And what led us into that, that line of that line of discussion was I was talking about a new podcast I'm doing with Terra Newell called [00:48:30] Survivor. Squad and when she gave me the guest list, it was all women, you know, like, like, you know, out out of 20 guests, like 19 or 18 were women. And I said, Wow.

I said, There's, it's all women. And she took it as a way of like, Oh, she needed to get some testosterone in there so I could have some guys to talk to. And I was like, No, that's not why I said it. Why? I said it was as someone who sought justice for the number one woman in his. , life I am disheartened to see that all these, that [00:49:00] how women are still constantly victimized. And in my sort of approach to true crime, I've always asked like, why are people obsessed with true crime? Or why are people so into true crime? And the number one response that I get back from, Listeners is say this is, they're trying to learn ways to protect themselves. So I, it sounds like you seem to think the same thing.

Sarah Turney: Oh gosh. I mean, I think it's such a loaded question why people are into true crime. I mean, I certainly do [00:49:30] hear that all the time. I can say, that's not my experience. That's not why I like true crime. Um, but I hear that all the time. I mean, I'm into true crime for advocacy. That's why I'm here, because I see an opportunity to change someone's life, to help a family, to help empower survivor to help.

Help people. Honestly, that's what I see. True crime as is a huge opportunity to help, but I understand why people listen for so many different reasons.

Collier Landry: And I think that is definitely a tie that binds you and you and I is, [00:50:00] I got into this to continue the advocacy work that I sort of found myself in the middle of from making my film a murder in Mansfield. It's like this was the next process and it's again, raising awareness because like obviously you got into doing Voices for Justice for your sister Alyssa. And do you feel like, [00:50:30] what was your, So when you started your podcast, what was the first goal?

Sarah Turney: I mean, just to raise awareness honestly. Yeah. I just wanted people to know her name and her story and to help me.

Collier Landry: And so you got into it, You know, it's funny because you have this, Well, it's not funny. It's, it's, it's, it's interesting. It's a better way to describe it. You have a, a pin tweet on your Twitter that says how, how it started and how it's going , and it says, [00:51:00] I use TikTok to help. Well, what does it say exactly?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, so it's two different Elle articles. Well, it's the same Elle article and the title changed. It was, um, I'm using TikTok to get justice for my sister, I think is what it says. And then the second one says, I use TikTok to get justice for my sister.

Collier Landry: Yeah, I thought it was very, very powerful.

Sarah Turney: Well, thank you. Yeah, it was a trend, uh, if anybody remembers a while ago, but it's been my pin tweet ever since. Of [00:51:30] course, I'm very proud of that. You know, I, I wouldn't say I used TikTok to get justice for my sister, but it's a cool thing to see it, It made me feel, um, very empowered and, you know, like, like what everything was was worth it, you know, all the pain, all the trauma.

Collier Landry: Right. Um, Hi. I know how that feels. Um, so on that note, you tell me about your story, how you came to this in a sense of you were [00:52:00] trying to find anyone who would. about what happened to your sister. Is that correct?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, so I mean, for those not familiar. You know, my sister went missing when I was 12 and she was 17. We were just kids and I didn't know what happened. Of course, I just went on about my life the best I could, and eventually the police sat me down and said, We know who killed your sister, and your best chance is to get media exposure for her.

So that's exactly what I did. Of course, you know, at first I went to all the, the huge [00:52:30] outlets you first think of. You're like, Oh, ABC 2020, and Nancy Grace and Dateline, I'm gonna do all those. And nobody was interested. Even ABC 2020 who had done the story in the past, uh, refused to do an update episode. Um, so then I started going to independent creators.

I went to YouTube and I eventually found podcasts and I started emailing, like literally cold emailing. Um, I mean dozens of people a day just asking them, Please cover my sister's story. Um, and eventually they did.[00:53:00]

Collier Landry: Okay, so hold on. So the police told you, we know who killed Alyssa, but you need to get as much media attention as you can in order for them to pursue the case. Is that

Sarah Turney: Yeah, essentially they essentially, they sat, they sat me down and said, um, although we were going to make an arrest before, we are no longer going to make an. arrest [00:53:30] We suggest you get media exposure. There were no promises, you know what I mean? They didn't say, If you get so much media exposure, we'll make an arrest.

But that was their, their course of action for me. And unfortunately, I'm not the only family the Phoenix Police has told that to. I'm very close to a, a woman named Kristen Thalen, whose sister brand new Myers also went missing from Phoenix in the nineties. And the police sat her down and said the same thing.

They said, We know who killed your sister. We know what colored trash bags her body was put into. We can't help you. You should get some media [00:54:00] exposure. It appears to be something that Phoenix Police does. I know. I know. It's insane. It's ridiculous. As a family member, it's, I mean, in a way it's a blessing to be told that we know what happened, right? We, this case is essentially solved, but guess what? It's on you. And that's the really hard part because I don't think they ever expected me to get the media exposure.

I did.[00:54:30]

Collier Landry: Now, you've listened to my podcast. and you know that, um, brevity is not, uh, my specialty. In fact, I love the sound of my own voice. So it is rare that I am left speechless, but I am literally speechless, So they essentially said, We know who the killer is, we can go after them. But until you get a significant amount of media [00:55:00] attention we will not make an arrest. I mean, the sheer fact that it's staggering to me that they even said that, I guess it's sort of a blessing and a curse cuz it's like, well, at least I know where I stand. Like you just said, at least I know something. But basically you have to force, they're saying you have to force us into action.

You have to force our hand is essentially, I mean, is that how you.

Sarah Turney: That's what it felt like. You know? And I didn't know. I was so confused when they told me that I was just a puddle and I was crying. I didn't know what to do other than listen [00:55:30] to their instruction. I didn't really think about it twice until kind of this, this fog lifted after the arrest was actually made.

And I was like, Wow, was that just a wild goose chase or. Was that detective really trying to do me a favor by saying, get media attention, because he knew that somehow that that might force their hand. I don't know. I still don't know. It's still a question that keeps me up at night, you know? What were their intentions in telling me that?

Did they really want me to get media? I don't know.

Collier Landry: I mean, that's wild. Like that is wild. [00:56:00] I, I just And so how old were you at the time that that happened?

Sarah Turney: Oh, I mean, I was much older than maybe 25, 26, something like

that

Collier Landry: so mid twenties and, So your sister went missing when you were 17. When she was 17. You were 12? Correct. And then when did you actually find out that she, I mean, I'm assuming [00:56:30] when she didn't come back, you probably assumed the worst. Correct.

Sarah Turney: I don't think I processed it for a long time, to be honest. I'm not sure what I thought. Um, I certainly felt abandoned for a long time. I can say that, you know, Alyssa was basically my only mom and it was extremely confusing to me. Um, You know, there, there on one hand, you know, of course there were people saying, um, perhaps she could be dead.

And then on the other hand, you know, in my mind, I, I even wrote a college essay about it that I hope that she was on a beach somewhere sipping [00:57:00] margaritas and that she found a new life. I was extremely confused, of course, you know? Um, so yeah, I don't know what I thought.

Collier Landry: All right. That just hit me. Sorry,

Sarah Turney: No, you're fine. Yeah, it was, I mean, it was really sad. I slept in her bed every single night, you know? Um, I just wanted to be close to her, and for a really long time I felt like, and now I'm getting emotional. I felt like, um, you know, what did I do wrong? Was I really that mean of a little sister? Was I really that annoying [00:57:30] and bratty that she had to leave me?

Um, but of course, now that I'm. You know, I could see all the things she did for me and realize that that wasn't the case. You know, she made Christmas happen for me, and birthdays happen for me, and without her, none of that would've ever happened. And that's not someone who doesn't love you. That's not someone who wants to abandon you.

That's someone who's legitimately acting as a mother figure. So obviously now, you know, I know that she didn't leave on her own accord.

Collier Landry: You know, in a way we both lost our mothers at [00:58:00] 12 . I mean, I lost her at 11, but I was almost 12. Right. And it's interesting what you just said. You know, I can remember when I was told that, you know, Lieutenant Mess Moore found your mother. It's an eternal pause. And she was, And look, I knew it. I knew it. I knew my father had murdered her the next morning when I woke up, you know, And he said, Mommy took a little vacation, Callier.

I knew that, but you know, my course was 25 days until, [00:58:30] you know, I eventually, you know, worked with investigators and they discovered her body. Right. You had a period of how many years? Her, you know, when did you actually, so you were 25 is when you really had that re resolution

Sarah Turney: It's hard to say. You know, I think it, it took me a long time to come around, but at least 10 years. Yeah. Where I was just wondering.

Collier Landry: and you know, I remember for me when I heard that, The overwhelming amount of [00:59:00] sadness that I felt, but also this sort of massive relief. And I get that sense from you that that was, was that the same for you, that like you were at least relieved?

Sarah Turney: I don't know. You know, I think it was really hard for me at first, of course, because, um, you know, of course my, my father, I can't get into too many details, but my father is, um, you know, he's been arrested for her murder now. And like Alyssa, my sister, my dad was my best friend after she was gone. You know, he was my only parent after [00:59:30] that.

And, uh, you know, as a. , kid you think your parents really cool when they let you eat fast food for every meal. When you have ice cream for breakfast, when you don't have to go to school, you think that you have the coolest parent on on earth and then you realize, you know, that that is somewhat neglect at a certain point.

Um, so, but when I, when I was told all these things, I was really resistant to it. I was like, Absolutely not. There's no way my dad could have done this. That's not how I saw him. I don't think that's how many children see their parents. It took me a [01:00:00] long time to finally, What it was, and I mean, I don't, no, I don't think I was relieved.

I really wish it was someone else, you know? Um, cuz this has destroyed my entire family as I, as I'm sure you know, you know.

Collier Landry: Yeah, I just. I mean, my heart goes out to you in a way where I just, I just feel like you, [01:00:30] I. It's something Amanda Knox said to me the other day, like when we were interviewing her, she said, You know, it's like when you have a child, right? You don't have, you don't know until you have a child. And this is the same thing, like when you're in this situation, like you don't know what that's like.

It's, it's so hard because you've lost that person, but then you have this relief of knowing where it. But then at the same time, or [01:01:00] knowing what that resolution was, but then at the same time, your next kin family member is responsible for taking that person from you.

Sarah Turney: Oh yeah. It's just the worst. I mean, I can't even describe it, but yeah, you're right. I, I don't think a lot of people understand until they're in this situation, and hopefully they never are. That's what I always.

Collier Landry: yeah, and I think that's, you know, I, I know that's why I started or why, why I made a murder in mans. Why I started the podcast is I wanted to [01:01:30] speak to, I wanted to speak to like the younger version of me. Do you feel that way?

Sarah Turney: Yeah. Oh yeah. That's why I wanna talk to all the families. That's why I talk to them online, offline, you know, text me, call me. They email me, asking me for advice about certain shows they go on. Um, absolutely. I just wanna help prevent. As much as that of that trauma as I can for other families, you know, they shouldn't have to go through everything I did.

Collier Landry: Oh, I mean, I completely agree. It's, it's almost like, you know, I, I don't [01:02:00] know if you find this sort of the situation that you're in often, but you know, they, they come, they come to you in almost an apologetic way. Like, like they're, what they're going through is somehow minimized because of sort of the over the top traumatic experience that you've had or that I've had.

I mean, that's when people come to me and I just, and I go, Yeah. compare that. Don't let that minimize what you're going through because you're going through [01:02:30] it too. My, my story is just so wacky and so outrageous as yours is. That we almost like we're here to, you know, it's okay. You, you're, it's important to you and it's important to me because it's important to you.

Like that's your story. Just, it's not about who has the worst trauma. It's about like, what can I do to help you? Right. What, what can I do to be of service to you so you don't have to feel that pain in, Have, have there been, have there been certain [01:03:00] cases or certain families that you've worked with that have really touched you?

Can you share a.

Sarah Turney: Absolutely. I mean it, you know, I don't wanna give too much away because I really respect their privacy, but, you know, I speak to families all the time. I would say one that has really stuck with me is the mother of Alicia Navarro. Um, Alicia was, oh my gosh, it's been a while since I've spoken about it.

Forgive me, I believe she was 14. Um, the anniversary of her disappearance, uh, is coming up this month. But, uh, You know, it just destroyed her family. Um, you know, it's most likely that she [01:03:30] was let away by a predator. Um, she was just a child and left a note for her mom saying that she would be back. And, you know, we talk all the time because it's, it's so difficult to navigate this space to know who's good, who's bad, what's a good deal, what's a bad deal, Are they using me?

You know, I have people coming to me all the time saying, Oh my gosh, I shared, you know, Very private information with this person. Now they're selling the story. Um, you hear stuff like that all the time. But yeah, I mean, plenty of families have stuck with [01:04:00] me. Um, you know, Jessica Easter, Lee's family has stuck with me.

Um, she was unfortunately killed most likely by her boyfriend. I mean, I speak to families all the time. They have my cell phone number. They can call me, they can text me. That is one of the things I pride my myself on. Everybody I work with. I tell them, you know, the end of this episode isn't the end of our relationship if you don't want it to be.

You know, I'm always here for you. And so they'll email me, you know, I wanna start a podcast, how do I do that? And I'll walk them through that. Um, [01:04:30] but on the flip side of that, I think, you know, you also have to respect that some families, Don't want this to be their life. So, you know, I let families opt into having that relationship with me and if they just want to do an episode and never think about it again, I also respect that, you know, it's extremely traumatizing.

So, um, that was a, I'm also very long winded, so yeah, I keep in contact with a lot of families, but I also, again, really respect the fact that some families just wanna do an episode and go on with their lives.[01:05:00]

Collier Landry: So what got me thinking when you were talking about all that was, I'm realizing, I, I think because you said traffic, and they got me thinking, and I just noticed something on TikTok the other day, and I think I may even forwarded it to you, but this person was talking. And they were in Phoenix and they were at a grocery store.

I think they were in Glendale, which I, I believe is a suburb of Phoenix, if I'm not mistaken. Right. [01:05:30] And um, they were at like a grocery store in Starbucks and there was somebody yelling, Marco. Marco. And this strange woman came up to that and, and it just felt like a weird situation. Our most of the cases that, that, are you finding, cuz you, you're from the Phoenix area, like that's where you grew up?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, born and raised.

Collier Landry: Born and raised. Um, were you, do you, are most of the cases that people, that you're working with, are they from that area or from the [01:06:00] southwest.

Sarah Turney: No, not at all. I pick up cases from everywhere, and that's by design. Um, there's a very low bar to enter, uh, to get into my podcast. It's, is it unsolved? You need justice? Is it solved and you wanna talk about justice? Let's do it. You know, it's, it doesn't matter if it's big, small, um, you know, any of that. I, I pick 'em all up.

And that's from my own experience. You know, when I was fighting for Alyssa, I had people tell me, Your case is too big, I don't wanna cover it. Your case is too small. I don't wanna cover. And you know, I, I will [01:06:30] never do that to a family.

Collier Landry: That's interesting. So why was your case too big

Sarah Turney: I don't know. I've been told it looks like you don't need any help. Um, which was extremely disheartening. Um, because, you know, and I get it right, you know, when cases get popular, I understand why. The, the thought is they don't need any help. And on the other side of that, there's a family still. Over here like me screaming, Hey man, I don't have justice.

You're saying, My sister's case is so big, I don't need help. Where's the justice? You know, I would love [01:07:00] some more help. Um, so yeah, that, that's a big reason why I cover cases big and small.

Collier Landry: Huh. That's

Sarah Turney: time with the true crime entertainment industry. It's, I've seen just about everything

Collier Landry: and it's so interesting because I'm interviewing you as a, just a person who has been through this experience and you're talking back to me as someone who's experie sharing your experience in the true crime world. And it's, it's so fascinating. Like this is when I first talked to Terra [01:07:30] and she was talking about this cuz I'm so unfamiliar with this territory.

I'm a guy that made a movie about his life, about what? To his mother and the murder and all of that. It is not a true crime movie, even though it is all about true, about a murder. It's not about that. It's about the humanity of, of, and the consequences of violence. That's what it's about. And then I start this podcast and I'm like, Okay, well I'll just put it under, Okay, yeah.

I guess it's true crime. So I'm gonna talk about true crime cause my life is true crime. Okay, tick that box and then I get submerged in this world, [01:08:00] or you know, submerged in this world. And I hear these stories from you guys. I'm just like, what? Like, and you're such, your perspectives are so unique and so fascinating to me.

I just

Sarah Turney: Because people don't really understand how true crime is made. They just see the finished product of an interview with a family or talking about a case. They don't see the things behind the scenes, the way that creators talk to families. Um, you know, and, and I think a lot of creators never expected me to do [01:08:30] anything but sit there and beg for help.

So, you know, when I became a creator myself, it was really interesting to see that pivot.

Collier Landry: Yeah, so, So talk to me about, You, you know, what are ways that creators, So what you're saying, somebody will do a, do an episode about a story a lot of times. Do you think that they don't engage with the family at all?

Sarah Turney: Sure. Yeah. I mean, absolutely. There's tons of podcasts that don't reach out to the family, and I'm not saying that's good or bad, you know what I mean? I honestly think that there is no [01:09:00] obligation to reach out to the family. And let me tell you why before you think I'm crazy, cuz a lot of people think that I, you know, preach consent only.

You can only cover cases that the family say That's okay. And. I don't agree with that because I can tell you that there was a very large podcast that did an episode about my sister never reached out to me, never asked me any questions, never did anything. Just released it. And it was like the best gift to me.

I was like, Thank you. I don't have to go run and do an interview. I don't have to review a script. I don't have to fact check for you. It was a [01:09:30] gift of an episode. Um, so that's, that's another reason why I believe in that. You know what I mean? It's. If, if you see a family shouting for help and they're like, Hey, please anybody cover my loved one's case, you know, I would love to of course connect with that family, but I would also love to present them with a gift of a podcast like I've been given in the past.

So, you know, in every case is different. Some families really like to be involved. Some don't care. Um, so again, you know, everything I do is very customized to [01:10:00] the.

family

Collier Landry: One of the things that I became really aware of is, um, you know, again, I, and I think you and I have discussed this before, but I realize by putting myself out, there Do a podcast. I made a film. I'm talking about this on TikTok, Twitter, b b wherever, Instagram, this is my life. So when people, you know, they'll see an episode of Forensic Files, which my family's case is one of the most popular episodes, I think it's called Foundation [01:10:30] of Lies.

People will reach out to me, they're like, Oh my God, I saw your episode of Forensic Files and I found your film and I found your podcast. And so they asked me a bunch of questions and I just consider that normal. Okay, this is my life. But then I realize, You know, you read other victim stories of families that are grieving when they have a television show made about them starring Renee Zelweger You know, the thing about Pam, right? And how personalized or how, maybe in their perception the Pam figure who murdered someone's mother and, and I believe another [01:11:00] person and, and, and stepdad was arrested. I think he even went to jail for prison. , you know, um, how they maybe glorify the killer. I know that there's been a lot of talk about the, you know, the Ted Bundy, or I think it was Ted Bundy.

I don't know a lot about serial killers, full disclosure, but I think, um, Zach, Zach Efron played him Ted Bundy, I think, and how they glorified it, right? So Zach Efron handsome guy playing, you know, a serial killer and I almost feel like, you know, Yeah, I understand that perspective, like how and, and what it [01:11:30] does.

You see that we live in a digital age, you reach out to that person like, Hey, I saw your thing. I just wanna say how sorry it is and blah, blah. And I think for people that aren't public about this and families that don't, that wanna just move on from this, they don't wanna hear about that. And how do you toe that line as a creator?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, I mean, honestly, if I see a family that says We're not interested in doing media, I just move. on know, it depends on the case. Of course, there are, there are cases of missing children where [01:12:00] perhaps the, the parents are suspects or persons of interest. So if they say, Move on, I might cover that case in the best interest of the children.

You know, Harmony Montgomery is a great example. Um, you know, it, it there. It's hard and that's why I say that every case is different and you have to just customize it for every case. So you'll never find me out there saying, Yeah, I consult every single family, or no, I never consult a family cuz there are some creators that will never work with families and it's, I just, I think it is the best thing for the case to [01:12:30] customize your content to the needs of that case.

That's just how I do it. And maybe it's right, maybe it's wrong, I don't know. I'm just trying to be empathetic and be kind.

Collier Landry: Yeah. And you feel that that's a, that is a very rare sort of scenario. The care you take.

Sarah Turney: Not as rare as it used to be. Not as rare as when I was doing interviews. To be honest. I think people have really, um, I've really taken that into consideration more as more [01:13:00] families become outspoken. You know what I mean? As they say, Hey man, my experience in true crime hurt. You know? I think there are a ton of creators that are listening to that.

I think there will also always be creators who just don't care.

Collier Landry: And why do you think that is? Do you think that it is because it's so difficult to put themselves in that situation?

Sarah Turney: It's hard to say, and again, I think it depends on the person. I think some people just genuinely see these as [01:13:30] stories, um, in which the family should never be able to have a voice. You know, I think that they think that perhaps they're being objective by removing the family from them all together and saying, Hey, I'm taking a, a different approach to this.

I'm trying to see it, um, from a very level headed perspective and not talk to the family who might sway me. Um, but I think. Again, people are all different. So it just depends. Um, I think there's definitely a lot of people who don't talk to families because it is an added hassle. It really is. It takes [01:14:00] more time, it takes more sympathy, it takes more energy.

Now you're not just writing an episode and speaking it into a microphone. You're maybe conducting an interview. You're doing some follow up. It, it's a lot more complicated when you bring families into it.

Collier Landry: And, well, I guess now you say that, you know, if somebody doesn't want to participate, you just kind of move on and don't even discuss it. Um, you know when I [01:14:30] got. into Well, really my impetus, my drive for getting in, you know, even pursuing, you know, telling my mother's story was just, I wanted, I wanted to share, you know, the consequences of violence because I felt very much like, you know, that we as a society never looked at the impacts, like the ancillary victims, the impacts on communities, the impacts on law enforcement that had got involved in these cases that tried to bring justice and maybe.[01:15:00]

I, I think about all of that. And it's just, it, it's weird to see it all, you know, be put into like, now it's in fashion right now. It's become the thing to be hyper aware of this and, Oh, we're so good, we're such good people. , you know, sharing this info. How, how does that affect you in a way, like when you see that it's like, Oh, now you guys are catching up,

Sarah Turney: It's hard. I mean, of course, you know, I'm human, so I'm like, okay, yeah, now you're doing it. Like, you know, that's always in the back of my head. I'm not gonna lie about [01:15:30] that. But you know, I try to focus on the good when I see new people enter this space with large followings. I know we were talking about Kim Kardashians starting a podcast.

I get. I mean, I mostly get hopeful. I'm like, Man, think about all the people she can bring over to True Crime. Think about the audience she's bringing. Think about the resources that she could be expending to help the people that she's featuring. Now, I don't know everything about this new podcast, so you know, it was just announced, but I believe it's about wrongful convictions.

And so when I'm thinking about that, I'm like, man, How [01:16:00] excited do you think the people that she's working with are? They have to be so excited and so hopeful that they have someone like her to help her, and I think a lot of people are missing that, which makes me. That goes back to making me sad. Cause I'm like, Okay, I'm so hopeful about this and nobody's talking about how excited those people must be to work with her.

And in my head it goes back to the theory of, is it not really about the people at the center of these stories for the consumer? That's my concern. If people aren't getting excited for those people [01:16:30] being featured, why are we in true crime? You know what I.

Collier Landry: That's a, that's a great point. Like, is the consumer not being excited? Are people not seeing it for what it is? I, you know, I don't know if you have this with your podcast, but I'll have people be like, Well, you know, you. Yeah, they, they just get so very nitpicky about, Well, you know, you didn't do this and you didn't ask them this.

And I'm like, Okay, well first of all, I'm talking to someone who's been through a lot, or I'm sharing something that's very personal and you are taking issue with me [01:17:00] fixing my hair. And you think that that's disinterested, or you think that this person should give more details? Because they have to be vague because they have a court case that's happening and they can't discuss the details or they, they like, they can't talk about certain things, so they have to sort of dance around answers.

Cause they're still living in their trauma. I think the public is probably the worst offender in a lot of ways because they just, they're like, you know, it's like they wanna see the coliseum, right? They want the details and what we wanna know, we wanna. But it's like, why do you wanna know so you can just drop it and go [01:17:30] onto the next one?

You wanna consume the next piece of material, the next piece of media. I think that's what frustrates me, and it seems like that's where you're going with that.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, I mean, it is frustrating and it's disheartening, but I think you have to look at true crime as a system as a whole. Right? And why do people consume content the way they do? Why are they responding to these things the way they do? And I think that's because they've been conditioned. From a very young age to consume one type of true crime content.

And that's sensational. That's your ABC 2020. That's [01:18:00] your unsolved mysteries. That's your, uh, you know, and forgive me cause I didn't consume a lot of it, but it's everything with dramatic music in the background and reenactments. That's what people are used to. That's what they grew up with. They grew up with Nancy Grace you know, making up names like top Mom and, you know, people fantasizing about fricking Ted Bundy.

It's. It's just the way that true crime has evolved over the years. So I really don't blame the consumer because that's what they've been force fed for so long. You know, bringing up topics about, Hey man, how are the families treated? Are you [01:18:30] treating them well? Are you being kind to them? Bringing up topics like, you know, if you're making millions of dollars a year off of a podcast, what's your obligation to get back?

You know, I didn't think that those were radical topics when I started bringing them up. I thought that they were common. And a humanity thing. Um, but when I started talking about that a few years ago, that's how it was perceived. It was like, look at how radical Sarah attorney is asking people to discuss giving back, you know, asking millionaires to give back to the cases that they cover.

That's insane. [01:19:00] Um, So it's really interesting, you know, and again, I think the consumer is used to what they're used to. It's like if you've only shopped at a, you know, Walmart for groceries your whole life, you know, you don't know how good organic produce from a farmer's market is or whatever. It's just, it's unfortunately what's been forced down their throats.

Collier Landry: That's a very, that's a very interesting analogy and so true.

Sarah Turney: I mean, no shade. You know there's food deserts out there. I get it. But I was just trying to dig for something there [01:19:30] that made

sense.

Collier Landry: No, it's, it's great. It's like when you go, you fly into Maui and, uh, everybody that lives on the island of Maui always jokes that if Costco was outta business, everyone would starve.

Sarah Turney: Oh wow. Yeah, I've never been to Maui I don't know. But yeah, no, and that, I mean, if you take away sensational true crime, yeah. There, I mean, now it's better, but you know, there, there's not gonna be a ton left.

Collier Landry: Yeah, I mean, I, again, myself, I didn't grow up watching true crime. I mean, I saw, obviously, I saw Unsolved Mysteries. , [01:20:00] but it wasn't something that I was like, Oh, I really wanna watch this. I really wanna do this. Cuz it just was like, first of all, it hits way too close to home, . Second of all, it's sensationalized with these ridiculous reenactments.

I couldn't, I just was like, this is terrible and, and third, it's like, I don't want to hear about stuff like that. What I wanna hear about is the people could, Cause I was looking for me, I was looking for the guy or girl. That or person. Went through hell and came out the other side. Those are the stories I was [01:20:30] researching.

Those are the people I was trying to look for and I didn't find very many of 'em. But I just remember, you know, speaking of Maui, I was, I was playing guitar and smoking. The wacky tobacco with the gentleman whose father was incarcerated. His name is Woody Harrelson And you know, his brother was very affected by that.

But you know, their father was in, in prison for murder. I'm not sure what exactly happened with that, but you know, and they made a life of themselves. Right? And it's like, I remember [01:21:00] searching out their stories and being like, Oh, that person lives a good life. That person did something positive. And as an artist, of course, I gravitate towards people in the entertainment industry.

I saw people like that and said, Oh, okay, if I can make it, they can, they can make it. I can too. And I think that's really where I was looking for that. Like, cuz I, am I gonna make it to 40 or am I gonna make to 30 ? Am I gonna remember Then when I made it to 30, I was like, Okay, am I gonna make to 40? You

Sarah Turney: Hmm

Collier Landry: And it's like, [01:21:30] uh, yeah, it's, I. You know, I think a lot of these things too, that people don't realize is, you know, and I don't know if you feel this way, but you know, this year I turned the same age that my mother was when she was. That was a big deal for me. And obviously you have lived past Alyssa's age, but do you, do you think about that on like a time scale?

Is that something you think about?

Sarah Turney: [01:22:00] Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I even thought about it when I turned 17, you know, and I felt like every moment after that was just so precious and that, I mean, to be honest, that's when I settled down. I had a very wild streak in my teens after Alyssa went missing. And at 17 I realized, you know, that life is a gift and you have to make the most of it, Which sounds really cheesy, but I swear it's just naturally how I am in my brain.

Um, and then, yeah, when I, when it hit the point that, She had been gone longer than she was here. That was really, really [01:22:30] hard for me. Even this year, I'll be turning 34, and that's the year my mom died. Um, so yeah, that's, I, I think about that kind of stuff all the time. It's really hard.

Collier Landry: Uh, how old were you when your mom died?

Sarah Turney: I was four.

Collier Landry: So you were really, really young and this was, and now Alyssa was your half-sister, so was she, was she your mom's daughter as well?

Sarah Turney: Yes, We shared the same.

mother

Collier Landry: Got Got it. So she would've been, [01:23:00] uh,

Sarah Turney: She was like eight or nine.

Collier Landry: good. Eight or

nine. And that's when your father was there taking care of the family.

Sarah Turney: Yes. He, I mean, he was the only parent we ever knew.

Collier Landry: It's a tough row to hoe you know, Sarah,

Sarah Turney: I mean, I, I do feel, No, don't, It's okay. I mean, thank you. I, I'm like the worst at accepting apologies. You think I'd be better at it? [01:23:30] I know. It's like, No, no, no, it's fine. Um, I mean, it's, it's not fine. But, but also, yeah, I mean, in a way, you know, the way that I, I felt very neglected as a child is almost a blessing now, you know, the less influence from him, the better, honestly.

Collier Landry: for sure. Now I know that you can't talk about a lot of it cause it is ongoing now. This case has been going on for a while. It's just kinda sitting at the standstill, right.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, he was arrested two years ago.

Collier Landry: What is [01:24:00] that like? Just sitting and waiting for the wheels of justice to turn.

Sarah Turney: Honestly absolute hell. Um, but I try to constantly remind myself that I should be grateful and I try to remain grateful because I'm in a position that a lot of people are still fighting for. I mean, I spent how many years fighting for that, and now I'm here and now I'm whining about it. You know, it's, it's hard.

It's, it's a hard thing cause I wanna give myself grace to be sad about it, while also reminding myself how lucky I am [01:24:30] to be here. But yeah, I mean, the entire process. Has been not fun and absolutely terrifying. And I mean, again, nothing short of hell. And it's um, you know, I think we were talking about this before, but as if I didn't need more passions, you know, I am now passionate about helping families going through the trial process because my God, it's unbearable.

Collier Landry: So is it, But but the now can we say who the person is? Right? We can. We've said that

Sarah Turney: Yeah. It's common knowledge. Yeah.

Collier Landry: okay? Yeah. Yeah. So your father, who, is he [01:25:00] incarcerated or is he out on bond?

Sarah Turney: No, he's in jail.

Collier Landry: So he's in jail sort of waiting. Does it ever weigh on your mind of like, as you're ticking off? Okay. Cuz he was into, this wasn't his only dust up with the law, Correct.

Sarah Turney: That's correct. Yeah. He was arrested, um, in what, 2008 I think for, um, domestic terrorism. Essentially, he was caught with a bunch of bombs in his house. So our house, I was there too.[01:25:30]

Collier Landry: Oh my God. Um,

Sarah Turney: That's why there's like 30 episodes of my podcast. It's such a long, crazy story.

Collier Landry: Sure. It is a long, it is a long, crazy story. Um, so ultimately when he was arrested for the murder, Were they looking at him for other things? Is that, So obviously you make this, you, you make this public, you just go full on like, okay, game on, get more media attention. You got it. And then what's that?

Sarah Turney: I [01:26:00] said bet.

Collier Landry: Yeah.

Bet exactly, exactly , and then you are full on in that mode. But did they, did they arrest him for that or did he do something else? Because I find a lot of times when people, Would you say your father's a narcissist

Sarah Turney: Yes.

Collier Landry: So I feel a lot of times when they're a narcissist, they, you know, it's like, never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.

They just do stuff that is so insane that you're like, [01:26:30] like, Why wouldn't you think that was gonna, Did he get caught for something else? And then, then he was arrested for the murder too. They were like, Oh, we got you on this and we're gonna get you on this too. Was it like that situation

Sarah Turney: You know, I don't have those details, but as far as I know, he was just charged with second degree murder and nothing else.

Collier Landry: Got it. I, Cause I recently discovered, I interviewed, um, the judge for my father's trial and my and my father, I didn't even know this. My father had used his identification to [01:27:00] rent a cold storage unit to store my mother's body.

Sarah Turney: Uh

Collier Landry: And I mean, first of all, morbid. And I was trying to say, well, is it a like a cold storage Like you like sign in to a hospital? And he is like, No, it's where you store a cow. Cause I'm from Ohio and we, we do things like, we do things like that. We store the hog, the cow, and the in the meat locker essentially.

And that's where he put my mom's body. Like that was what he, I mean just, you know, and I think that [01:27:30] because these individuals are, are narcissists and sociopaths that they. , they literally just think there's no, police aren't gonna be smart enough to catch me doing X, Y, and Z. You know, they leave this trail of bread com crumbs that they just, just seem to be, uh, never ending.

Um, I mean, that's what you find right.

Sarah Turney: Yeah. And of course, you know, everybody's different, but yeah, I, I think that very few people kill thinking that [01:28:00] they won't get away with it, or at least very few intelligent people who kill. You know, uh, go in thinking they're not gonna get away with it. Of course they think they're gonna get away with it, you know, very manipulative, narcissists.

They get away with a lot over a long period of time, so why not this too? Um, yeah. But obviously a lot of people slip up and that's how they get caught.

Collier Landry: What do you think? You know, when you think about advocacy and sharing your story to make an [01:28:30] impact on others, ultimately at the end of the day, what is, What is it that is your end goal?

Sarah Turney: I mean, now I wanna change true crime. I wanna change all of true crime. I wanna change it for the better. I wanna give it back to these families to survivors. You know, people like you and me and Tara, uh, Terra Newell and all of our friends, I wanna give it back to them. You know, I feel like we are very much kind of the factory workers, the unsung factory workers of true crime, especially those who give interviews.

But people [01:29:00] just pick up our stories and they profit off of them. And then when we go, Hey man, we didn't like that we're told to shut up and go away, that we're somehow canceling people and that we're somehow, you know, hurting free speech when really we're. Begging for humanity. And, um, we're, get I, we talked about this too, how I think we're going from begging for humanity to demanding it and claiming our space in true crime.

So yeah, I wanna, I wanna change true crime. I wanna take it over.

Collier Landry: I love that. [01:29:30] I love that.

Sarah Turney: Well, I don't True crime. Why does true crime belong to these random people with microphones? I'm sorry. And I'm not trying to be a jerk. I love a lot of random people with microphones. I really do. I think they're great people and they do great work, But why them? Why them instead of people firsthand affected by true crime instead of experts, instead of legal experts, or you know, people with law enforcement background, or again, people like me and you, family members, survivors.

Collier Landry: Well, I mean, honestly, I think it's because it's [01:30:00] really hard for people to talk about, I feel like, or they're busy doing so many other things, just getting on with their lives that they don't choose to do that. I think that's an, I think that that is an interesting, It is interesting you say that because it's very true, but it's also like, I don't think that people.

Look, you're so beaten down by the process, whether it's the legal process, you know, the justice system, whether it's it's, it's even getting the justice system's eye [01:30:30] trained on what's going on in your situation or in your loved one's situation. Whether it is just your overall frustration with your experience with dealing with societal parameters.

These type of events, it, it, I feel like people don't feel empowered. And I think that's one of the amazing things that you, myself, others are doing by getting behind a microphone, by getting in front of a camera, by, by taking [01:31:00] initiative with our own story, is to say, Look, hey, you know, we're, you're gonna hear about it from the horse's mouth, or we're gonna share our perspective.

Because it is one thing when a host that grows up with a really nice cushy. And has this wonderful thing that is a super fan of true crime is talking about something. It's quite another. When you literally have woken up the next morning and your mother is missing and they say, Oh yeah, Mommy took a little vacation call and you know that your father killed your mother.

It's one thing when your sister disappears and you spend the next 10 years wondering what happened to her. and then [01:31:30] knowing what happened to her. And then a cops. And the cops say, If you don't make a big enough stink, we're not gonna push, push an arrest. Oh, okay, well let's game on motherfucker. You know, let's game on at that point.

And it's, um, it's interesting, but it is, it is nice to see more people taking up arms and taking up voices. What do you think of when you see a case like Gabby Petito

Sarah Turney: Oh, I mean, what a loaded question that is. I mean, you know of, of course it, it depends on [01:32:00] the progress of the case. At first, I just felt so bad for her family. I mean, I still feel bad for her family, but you know, I was sharing Gabby Petito's story up until she was found and it became extremely clear who did it, and I felt like, you know, she didn't need media exposure anymore and her parents were taking a step back.

I certainly helped all the way up until that point, or at least I hope I helped by sharing. Um, but it's hard. I think the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the words Gabby Petito unfortunately, is exploitation. You know, and it's such [01:32:30] a loaded question because I, it's hard when I see someone. Find a tweet or talk to a Redditor and make an entire episode out of it.

I think why, What is this adding to the conversation? And more than that, how does the family feel about this? You know, I just, I see so much pain in the Gabby Pettito case, and of course there's pain in all cases, but I mean, you know, we have to be honest, I haven't seen a case get that big in a really long time.[01:33:00]

Collier Landry: Yeah. Oh no, No worries. Yeah, it's interesting because, you know, I. I almost feel like people feel that they're entitled to exploit something like that because they go, Well, okay. She was videotaping her journey. They were doing it through social media. It was a whole journey that they were capturing live for the world to see.

So therefore, we can just pick up where the story left off.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, [01:33:30] and people say that about me too, but it it, I mean, I don't think anyone's entitled to anything. Um, that being said, I do think, you know, I believe in the first, you know, I believe in your right to free speech. So if somebody wants to make a million episodes about me or you or Gabby Pettito they have every right to do.

So. That's not my question. It's not, you know, that's not my argument is whether or not you have the right to do so. It's, is it the right thing to do and are you helping? Those are two totally different concepts to think about.

Collier Landry: Yeah. Just because you have the [01:34:00] right to do something doesn't mean you should do it.

Sarah Turney: I mean, that's how I feel. But you know, not everyone feels that way.

Collier Landry: Yeah,

Sarah Turney: been told all the time, like, you know, you put yourself out there. I can do whatever I want. And I'm like, I'm not debating whether or not you can do whatever you want. I'm debating about whether or not that's gonna hurt someone, whether or not it's gonna hurt me, whether or not it's gonna hurt my sister's case, and you just don't seem to care.

Collier Landry: Yeah.

Sarah Turney: But I think few creators are willing to say that, you know what I mean? I wish they would just come out and say, Hey man, I have a right to free [01:34:30] speech. I don't care what you think, I'm gonna do what I want anyway. But that's not the way they're positioning themselves. They're positioning it in such a way that, you know, you're cancel culture and you don't believe in in the right to free speech.

And it's like, I didn't. Not at all, man. You're getting

Collier Landry: They're not taking the onus. Yeah. They're not taking the onus on themselves of what they're doing. They're trying to twist the narrative and manipulate it. And that's what makes me angry for sure is is the same thing, is that they're trying to be like, Oh, but we're we're, Yeah, exactly. Oh, you're anti-free speech.

Oh, you're saying something. You're not doing this, blah, blah, [01:35:00] blah. Right. And it's like, No, , That's not what we're talking about here. Talking about it is what you are doing to sabotage or. exploit without even intending to do it. Just cuz you're not intending to. You know, I love it when people are like, Well that wasn't my intent.

Well, it's like, yeah, I know that that wasn't your intent, but that was what your actions caused

Sarah Turney: Yeah

Collier Landry: like, you're not taking your responsibility for it by saying, I didn't mean to do it. Like the drunk driver did not mean to kill [01:35:30] the kid in the the crosswalk coming home from school. They didn't mean to do that.

They still killed the kid in the crosswalk coming home from. school Because they were drunk driving a vehicle. You know what I mean? . it's like, it is, it still happened. You can't ignore that, just cuz. Oh, I didn't mean to do that. I didn't know that my actions would lead to this.

Sarah Turney: Yeah, I wish more people would just come out and say, You know, that wasn't right. I apologize. I've learned from it and I'm gonna move on. I did that when I talked to our friend, uh, Kara Chamberlain Robinson, you know, I had her on the show [01:36:00] and she was like, It's extremely disrespectful for people to cover solved cases without, you know, the survivor or.

The, you know, the family involved. And I was like, you know, I've done that in the past. I'm so sorry. You're extremely correct. And I put that out there for the whole world to see. And I did that on purpose, not just because I'm like, look at me, but it's, I want to lead by example. And if, you know, I think everybody should be able to say, Hey, man.

I'm a person on this planet and I'm trying to learn and grow. Every day. I messed up. I learned I'm trying to [01:36:30] grow and I'm moving on. I think there's no shame in that, but the second that you start saying, I'm not hurting anybody. When somebody comes out and says, specifically, you're hurting me, then it's a different story.

Then I think you're just perpetuating that cycle of abuse in true.

crime

Collier Landry: Cycle of abuse. It's interesting. It's a lot, It's a lot to think about,

Sarah Turney: I could do this forever. Don't mind me.

Collier Landry: [01:37:00] Right. Well, it is, it's sort of, it's a very cyclical situation. I mean, do you feel that, I mean, so again, you don't, you're not, you're not poo-pooing companies making stories about cases. You're not poo-pooing, you know, saying that people don't have the right to do that.

You just, you just want them to question why they're doing. and what, like what is their end game and what is the benefit or the detriment to the families or the survivors or the victims?[01:37:30]

Sarah Turney: Well, I mean, if the creators themselves won't ask those questions, I would love if the consumer did. Um, but you know, I'm not trying to tell anybody to do anything. I'm just bringing up issues that I've heard, issues I'm dealing with myself, issues I've dealt with in the past, and issues that families bring with me or bring to me.

Cuz the, the cold, hard truth is true. Crime hurts people. And anybody who says that it doesn't is. lying I can say that I'm sure I've hurt people in the past. You know what I mean? And that's what the best intentions, It just [01:38:00] happens, you know? These families are traumatized every single day, and they have to live in this space, especially the families that are fighting for justice.

Something as simple as getting an email from a random creator could be hurtful. It just is what it is. This is an extremely hurtful genre. Everything about it is sensitive and everything about it hurts. And to not acknowledge that is just silly to me. You know, we're not talking about beauty products here.

We're talking about murder and death and terrible, terrible things.

Collier Landry: Yeah. [01:38:30] Well on that note,

Sarah Turney: I know. I'm so positive. I'm so fun to talk to

Collier Landry: No, no, no. That's a great note. That's a, but that's a great way to wrap this up. So Sarah, uh, that's a great way to wrap this up. I mean, that's very poignant commentary for sure. Um, so Sarah, where can we find you? Where can our listeners find you? What, tell us a little bit about that.

Sarah Turney: Yeah. Um, so I host and create the Voices for Justice [01:39:00] Podcast, where you can find on all podcast platforms. I also host a podcast called Disappearances that is exclusively on Spotify, and you can follow me on every social media. TikTok is my most popular, uh, under Sarah E Turney but of course I have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all those good things.

Collier Landry: There we, there we go. Um, and we will put a link to all those items in the show notes as well. Um, Sarah, Turney I really wanna thank you for your time for being on the program.

Sarah Turney: Of course, thank. you

Collier Landry: It's good to have you here.

Sarah Turney: thank you. It's great to [01:39:30] be.

Collier Landry: So actually you and I were just talking before, before we, um, before we actually got into it, but there was a woman who was just recently murdered while jogging. And you and I were sharing sort of, you know, people were sort of, uh, excoriating her a little bit. Like, well, why was she out jogging? And you said, Well, you know, she was living her.

life And for me, you know, I [01:40:00] was just, I was sharing how I don't, um, always, uh, you know how I might, I think of my myself, right? And as someone who has been a victim and had my mother murdered, I don't look at the world in a way where I live in fear. And I think that we were just starting to delve into that on as people who work in true crime.

As people who work in true crime, you know, there are a lot of people that are very [01:40:30] interested in this genre because they wanna learn how to protect themselves or be aware, but where does the line really get drawn between, you know, as victims of trauma, where you're hyper aware versus where you return to some sort of normalcy and just decide to live your life?

What does that look like for you?

Sarah Turney: Oh gosh, I don't know. Um, you know, I can say that I live in fear. I won't walk my dogs at night alone. I won't walk around my block where I've lived here for almost 12 years now, alone. Um, I'm not [01:41:00] sure. The world for me can return to normalcy. I just, it, it's, I think it's a mixture of fear and just listening to too much true crime.

I just don't think it's worth the risk, unfortunately. And that's what's really sad is I shouldn't have to be afraid to go out at night. I shouldn't have to live in that fear. Like people should just stop killing people. I think that's a better solution. But what do you do? I mean, how do you see a story like that and not get.

scared[01:41:30]

Collier Landry: You know, it's. And what led us into that, that line of that line of discussion was I was talking about a new podcast I'm doing with Terra Newell called Survivor. Squad and when she gave me the guest list, it was all women, you know, like, like, you know, out out of 20 guests, like 19 or 18 were women. And I said, Wow.

I said, There's, it's all women. And she took it as a way of like, Oh, she needed to get some testosterone in there so I could have some guys to talk to. And I was like, No, that's not why I said it. [01:42:00] Why? I said it was as someone who sought justice for the number one woman in his. , life I am disheartened to see that all these, that how women are still constantly victimized. And in my sort of approach to true crime, I've always asked like, why are people obsessed with true crime? Or why are people so into true crime? And the number one response that I get back from, Listeners is say this is, they're trying to learn ways to protect themselves. [01:42:30] So I, it sounds like you seem to think the same thing.

Sarah Turney: Oh gosh. I mean, I think it's such a loaded question why people are into true crime. I mean, I certainly do hear that all the time. I can say, that's not my experience. That's not why I like true crime. Um, but I hear that all the time. I mean, I'm into true crime for advocacy. That's why I'm here, because I see an opportunity to change someone's life, to help a family, to help empower survivor to help.

Help people. Honestly, that's what I see. True crime as is a huge opportunity to help, [01:43:00] but I understand why people listen for so many different reasons.

Collier Landry: And I think that is definitely a tie that binds you and you and I is, I got into this to continue the advocacy work that I sort of found myself in the middle of from making my film a murder in Mansfield. It's like this was the next process and it's again, raising awareness because like obviously you got into doing Voices for Justice for [01:43:30] your sister Alyssa. And do you feel like, what was your, So when you started your podcast, what was the first goal?

Sarah Turney: I mean, just to raise awareness honestly. Yeah. I just wanted people to know her name and her story and to help me.

Collier Landry: And so you got into it, You know, it's funny because you have this, Well, it's not funny. It's, it's, it's, it's interesting. It's a better way to describe it. [01:44:00] You have a, a pin tweet on your Twitter that says how, how it started and how it's going , and it says, I use TikTok to help. Well, what does it say exactly?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, so it's two different Elle articles. Well, it's the same Elle article and the title changed. It was, um, I'm using TikTok to get justice for my sister, I think is what it says. And then the second one says, I use TikTok to get justice for my sister.

Collier Landry: Yeah, [01:44:30] I thought it was very, very powerful.

Sarah Turney: Well, thank you. Yeah, it was a trend, uh, if anybody remembers a while ago, but it's been my pin tweet ever since. Of course, I'm very proud of that. You know, I, I wouldn't say I used TikTok to get justice for my sister, but it's a cool thing to see it, It made me feel, um, very empowered and, you know, like, like what everything was was worth it, you know, all the pain, all the trauma.

Collier Landry: Right. Um, Hi. I know how that feels. Um, so [01:45:00] on that note, you tell me about your story, how you came to this in a sense of you were trying to find anyone who would. about what happened to your sister. Is that correct?

Sarah Turney: Yeah, so I mean, for those not familiar. You know, my sister went missing when I was 12 and she was 17. We were just kids and I didn't know what happened. Of course, I just went on about my life the best I could, and eventually the police sat me down and said, We know who killed your [01:45:30] sister, and your best chance is to get media exposure for her.

So that's exactly what I did. Of course, you know, at first I went to all the, the huge outlets you first think of. You're like, Oh, ABC 2020, and Nancy Grace and Dateline, I'm gonna do all those. And nobody was interested. Even ABC 2020 who had done the story in the past, uh, refused to do an update episode. Um, so then I started going to independent creators.

I went to YouTube and I eventually found podcasts and I started emailing, like literally [01:46:00] cold emailing. Um, I mean dozens of people a day just asking them, Please cover my sister's story. Um, and eventually they did.

Collier Landry: Okay, so hold on. So the police told you, we know who killed Alyssa, but you need to get as much media attention as you can in order for them to pursue the case. Is that[01:46:30]

Sarah Turney: Yeah, essentially they essentially, they sat, they sat me down and said, um, although we were going to make an arrest before, we are no longer going to make an. arrest We suggest you get media exposure. There were no promises, you know what I mean? They didn't say, If you get so much media exposure, we'll make an arrest.

But that was their, their course of action for me. And unfortunately, I'm not the only family the Phoenix Police has told that to. I'm very close to a, a woman named Kristen Thalen, whose sister brand new Myers also went missing from Phoenix in the nineties. And the police [01:47:00] sat her down and said the same thing.

They said, We know who killed your sister. We know what colored trash bags her body was put into. We can't help you. You should get some media exposure. It appears to be something that Phoenix Police does. I know. I know. It's insane. It's ridiculous. As a family member, it's, I mean, in a way it's a blessing to be told that we know what happened, right? We, this case is essentially solved, but guess what? It's on you. And that's [01:47:30] the really hard part because I don't think they ever expected me to get the media exposure.

I did.

Collier Landry: Now, you've listened to my podcast. and you know that, um, brevity is not, uh, my specialty. In fact, I love the sound of my own voice. So it is rare that I am left speechless, but I am literally speechless, [01:48:00] So they essentially said, We know who the killer is, we can go after them. But until you get a significant amount of media attention we will not make an arrest. I mean, the sheer fact that it's staggering to me that they even said that, I guess it's sort of a blessing and a curse cuz it's like, well, at least I know where I stand. Like you just said, at least I know something. But basically you have to force, they're saying you have to force us into action.

You have to force our hand is essentially, I mean, is that [01:48:30] how you.

Sarah Turney: That's what it felt like. You know? And I didn't know. I was so confused when they told me that I was just a puddle and I was crying. I didn't know what to do other than listen to their instruction. I didn't really think about it twice until kind of this, this fog lifted after the arrest was actually made.

And I was like, Wow, was that just a wild goose chase or. Was that detective really trying to do me a favor by saying, get media attention, because he knew that somehow that that might force their hand. I don't know. I still don't know. It's still a question that keeps me up at night, [01:49:00] you know? What were their intentions in telling me that?

Did they really want me to get media? I don't know.

Collier Landry: I mean, that's wild. Like that is wild. I, I just And so how old were you at the time that that happened?

Sarah Turney: Oh, I mean, I was much older than maybe 25, 26, something like

that

Collier Landry: so mid twenties and, So your sister went missing when [01:49:30] you were 17. When she was 17. You were 12? Correct. And then when did you actually find out that she, I mean, I'm assuming when she didn't come back, you probably assumed the worst. Correct.

Sarah Turney: I don't think I processed it for a long time, to be honest. I'm not sure what I thought. Um, I certainly felt abandoned for a long time. I can say that, you know, Alyssa was basically my only mom and it was extremely confusing to me. Um, You know, there, there on one hand, you know, of course there were people [01:50:00] saying, um, perhaps she could be dead.

And then on the other hand, you know, in my mind, I, I even wrote a college essay about it that I hope that she was on a beach somewhere sipping margaritas and that she found a new life. I was extremely confused, of course, you know? Um, so yeah, I don't know what I thought.

Collier Landry: All right. That just hit me. Sorry,

Sarah Turney: No, you're fine. Yeah, it was, I mean, it was really sad. I slept in her bed every single night, you know? Um, I just wanted to be close to her, and for a really [01:50:30] long time I felt like, and now I'm getting emotional. I felt like, um, you know, what did I do wrong? Was I really that mean of a little sister? Was I really that annoying and bratty that she had to leave me?

Um, but of course, now that I'm. You know, I could see all the things she did for me and realize that that wasn't the case. You know, she made Christmas happen for me, and birthdays happen for me, and without her, none of that would've ever happened. And that's not someone who doesn't love you. That's not someone who wants to abandon you.

That's someone who's legitimately acting as a mother [01:51:00] figure. So obviously now, you know, I know that she didn't leave on her own accord.

Collier Landry: You know, in a way we both lost our mothers at 12 . I mean, I lost her at 11, but I was almost 12. Right. And it's interesting what you just said. You know, I can remember when I was told that, you know, Lieutenant Mess Moore found your mother. It's an eternal pause. And she was, And look, I knew it. I knew it. I knew my father had murdered her the next morning when I woke [01:51:30] up, you know, And he said, Mommy took a little vacation, Callier.

I knew that, but you know, my course was 25 days until, you know, I eventually, you know, worked with investigators and they discovered her body. Right. You had a period of how many years? Her, you know, when did you actually, so you were 25 is when you really had that re resolution

Sarah Turney: It's hard to say. You know, I think it, it took me a long time to come around, but at least 10 [01:52:00] years. Yeah. Where I was just wondering.

Collier Landry: and you know, I remember for me when I heard that, The overwhelming amount of sadness that I felt, but also this sort of massive relief. And I get that sense from you that that was, was that the same for you, that like you were at least relieved?

Sarah Turney: I don't know. You know, I think it was really hard for me at first, of course, because, um, you know, of course my, my father, I can't get into too many details, but my father [01:52:30] is, um, you know, he's been arrested for her murder now. And like Alyssa, my sister, my dad was my best friend after she was gone. You know, he was my only parent after that.

And, uh, you know, as a. , kid you think your parents really cool when they let you eat fast food for every meal. When you have ice cream for breakfast, when you don't have to go to school, you think that you have the coolest parent on on earth and then you realize, you know, that that is somewhat neglect at a certain point.

Um, so, but when I, when I was told all these things, I was really [01:53:00] resistant to it. I was like, Absolutely not. There's no way my dad could have done this. That's not how I saw him. I don't think that's how many children see their parents. It took me a long time to finally, What it was, and I mean, I don't, no, I don't think I was relieved.

I really wish it was someone else, you know? Um, cuz this has destroyed my entire family as I, as I'm sure you know, you know.

Collier Landry: Yeah, I just. I mean, my heart goes out to [01:53:30] you in a way where I just, I just feel like you, I. It's something Amanda Knox said to me the other day, like when we were interviewing her, she said, You know, it's like when you have a child, right? You don't have, you don't know until you have a child. And this is the same thing, like when you're in this situation, like you don't know what that's like.

It's, it's so hard because [01:54:00] you've lost that person, but then you have this relief of knowing where it. But then at the same time, or knowing what that resolution was, but then at the same time, your next kin family member is responsible for taking that person from you.

Sarah Turney: Oh yeah. It's just the worst. I mean, I can't even describe it, but yeah, you're right. I, I don't think a lot of people understand until they're in this situation, and hopefully they never are. That's what I always.

Collier Landry: yeah, and I think [01:54:30] that's, you know, I, I know that's why I started or why, why I made a murder in mans. Why I started the podcast is I wanted to speak to, I wanted to speak to like the younger version of me. Do you feel that way?

Sarah Turney: Yeah. Oh yeah. That's why I wanna talk to all the families. That's why I talk to them online, offline, you know, text me, call me. They email me, asking me for advice about certain shows they go on. Um, absolutely. I just wanna help prevent. As much as that of that trauma as I [01:55:00] can for other families, you know, they shouldn't have to go through everything I did.

Collier Landry: Oh, I mean, I completely agree. It's, it's almost like, you know, I, I don't know if you find this sort of the situation that you're in often, but you know, they, they come, they come to you in almost an apologetic way. Like, like they're, what they're going through is somehow minimized because of sort of the over the top traumatic experience that you've had or that I've had.

I mean, that's when people come to me and I just, and I [01:55:30] go, Yeah. compare that. Don't let that minimize what you're going through because you're going through it too. My, my story is just so wacky and so outrageous as yours is. That we almost like we're here to, you know, it's okay. You, you're, it's important to you and it's important to me because it's important to you.

Like that's your story. Just, it's not about who has the worst trauma. It's about like, [01:56:00] what can I do to help you? Right. What, what can I do to be of service to you so you don't have to feel that pain in, Have, have there been, have there been certain cases or certain families that you've worked with that have really touched you?

Can you share a.

Sarah Turney: Absolutely. I mean it, you know, I don't wanna give too much away because I really respect their privacy, but, you know, I speak to families all the time. I would say one that has really stuck with me is the mother of Alicia Navarro. Um, Alicia was, oh my gosh, it's been a while since I've spoken about it.

Forgive me, I believe she was [01:56:30] 14. Um, the anniversary of her disappearance, uh, is coming up this month. But, uh, You know, it just destroyed her family. Um, you know, it's most likely that she was let away by a predator. Um, she was just a child and left a note for her mom saying that she would be back. And, you know, we talk all the time because it's, it's so difficult to navigate this space to know who's good, who's bad, what's a good deal, what's a bad deal, Are they using me?

You know, I have people coming to me all the time saying, Oh my gosh, I shared, you know, [01:57:00] Very private information with this person. Now they're selling the story. Um, you hear stuff like that all the time. But yeah, I mean, plenty of families have stuck with me. Um, you know, Jessica Easter, Lee's family has stuck with me.

Um, she was unfortunately killed most likely by her boyfriend. I mean, I speak to families all the time. They have my cell phone number. They can call me, they can text me. That is one of the things I pride my myself on. Everybody I work with. I tell them, you know, the end of this episode isn't the end of our relationship if you [01:57:30] don't want it to be.

You know, I'm always here for you. And so they'll email me, you know, I wanna start a podcast, how do I do that? And I'll walk them through that. Um, but on the flip side of that, I think, you know, you also have to respect that some families, Don't want this to be their life. So, you know, I let families opt into having that relationship with me and if they just want to do an episode and never think about it again, I also respect that, you know, it's extremely traumatizing.

So, um, that was a, I'm also very long [01:58:00] winded, so yeah, I keep in contact with a lot of families, but I also, again, really respect the fact that some families just wanna do an episode and go on with their lives.

Collier Landry: So what got me thinking when you were talking about all that was, I'm realizing, I, I think because you said traffic, and they got me thinking, and I just noticed something on TikTok the other day, and I think I may even forwarded it to you, but this [01:58:30] person was talking. And they were in Phoenix and they were at a grocery store.

I think they were in Glendale, which I, I believe is a suburb of Phoenix, if I'm not mistaken. Right. And um, they were at like a grocery store in Starbucks and there was somebody yelling, Marco. Marco. And this strange woman came up to that and, and it just felt like a