What Happened to Alissa Turney? Update on Her Case & Arrested Stepfather in 2018

Missing teen Alissa Turney’s case has not turned up any new leads. She was 17 years old when she disappeared, and police believe foul play may be a factor. Her stepfather, Mike Turney, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. 

Alissa Turney vanished in 2001 from her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She was a typical teenager who wanted her independence. Like many parents, her stepfather Mike Turney was strict with her. When she vanished, she seemingly left a note saying she “ran away,” so police treated the case as such.

About Alissa Turney
Height5 feet 4 inches
Weight145 lbs
SiblingsSarah Turney
ParentsBarbara Strahm, Michael Roy Turney
BIRTHApril 3, 1984

1987: Mike Turney Marries Barbara Strahm 

Mike Turney married Alissa Turney’s mother, Barbara Strahm, in 1987. Alissa was just three years old at the time.

Later reports called the blended family “The Brady Bunch,” as Turney had three sons before marrying Strahm.

In an interview, Turney revealed that their family bond was strong. In fact, using the prefix “step” was not allowed in the household.

The couple later had one child together, Sarah.

Tragically, Strahm was diagnosed with cancer in 1993 and died a year later.

Turney’s sons, who were all grown up by then, did not live with their father. So he raised Alissa and Sarah by himself.

May 17, 2001: Alissa Was Angry the Day She Vanished

It has been 17 years since Alissa Turney was last seen by her stepfather, storming into her bedroom on May 17, 2001. It was the last day of her junior year at high school.

Alissa Turney

Missing Teen Alissa Turney; Photo: Facebook/Helpfindalissa

Mike Turney picked Alissa up from school early that day to have lunch, according to reports. During lunch, however, they had an argument after Alissa asked for more freedom. Her stepfather refused to allow it. At home, Mike Turney watched Alissa angrily go to her bedroom.

In a later interview, Turney said that he left the home to pick Sarah up from school and run some errands. He reportedly called home to check up on Alissa, but said there was no answer.

Mike Didn’t Pick Sarah up from School

Despite Turney’s claims, Sarah returned to school grounds from a water park trip arranged by the institution, expecting her father to be there to pick her up. She called him, but he didn’t answer.

So she walked home with a friend. Upon arrival, nobody was at home. Sarah called her father and left a message to say she would be at a friend’s place.

When Turney went to get Sarah, he told her that Alissa was not answering the phone, and he was worried.

He asked Sarah to give Alissa a call. After multiple attempts, there was still no answer.

When they got home, nobody was inside, and Alissa’s cell phone was vibrating in her room.

Sarah then found a note in her sister’s bedroom, saying that Alissa had saved enough money and was headed to California.

The note also addressed her younger sister: “Sarah you wanted me gone. Now you have it.”

Mike Turney went door-to-door asking for any information about his stepdaughter, but nothing turned up.

He then headed to the local police department to file a missing persons report. Based on the note and Alissa’s age, the officers didn’t look into it. They determined she was a runaway, expecting her to return within a couple of weeks.

Mike Turney Receives a Mysterious Phone Call a Week after Alissa Vanishes

After a week of searching for his stepdaughter, Turney received a call from a California number. On the other end was what he described as “sort of scrambled.”

“Is this you, Alissa?”

The voice on the other end sounded different, but Turney was sure it was Alissa. To him, she sounded like she was being pulled away from the phone. The last thing he heard before the call disconnected was, “Leave me alone.”

That, Turney claims, is the last time he heard from Alissa.

2006: Serial Killer Claims He Killed Alissa

Serial killer Thomas Hymer was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Sandra Goodman, a woman he was traveling with, in 2003.

Goodman was found murdered under her bed in 2001. Hymer was caught driving her car the next day.

In 2006, while in jail, Hymer wrote letters to police in which he reportedly described every murder he had committed. He claimed to have killed 21 victims, most of whom were adolescent girls.

While being interviewed by authorities, Hymer pointed to a picture of Alissa. He claimed that he had sexual relations with her in a motel before killing her. He said he’d dumped her dismembered body parts at a recycling center.

He also described the teen as a heroin addict and mentioned sexual traits that did not add up with what Alissa’s boyfriend had revealed. This led authorities to question Hymer’s account.

Did Hymer really know Alissa? It is possible that he saw her photo in the newspaper and decided to toy with authorities.

2008: Surveillance Tapes of Alissa Provided

Days turned into weeks, and later years. But Alissa was still missing.

After Barbara Strahm’s death, Mike Turney became more strict with his daughters. He routinely checked up on his oldest, Alissa.

In 2008, investigators discovered that Turney had installed surveillance cameras inside and outside of his home and that he recorded calls.

Turney told officers that the cameras were there for safety, not monitoring. However, he also provided them with tapes of Alissa with her boyfriend and with men she reportedly met at work.

Police then asked him about the tapes of the day she disappeared, but Turney claimed he went through eight hours of footage and saw nothing of relevance.

When prompted about the phone recording system, he told officers it wasn’t working that day.

Mike Turney was then seen as being uncooperative. At that point, Sarah became the family’s point of contact with police.

Evidence of Abuse Uncovered

Sarah was contacted by local authorities asking her to come down to the station. She told them she had a test the next day, but they assured her it wouldn’t take much time.

Police then told her that they thought Mike Turney was behind Alissa’s disappearance. They had reason to believe Turney had abused Alissa.

Officers searched the family’s home while Sarah was at the station.

Police found more homemade tapes of Alissa, along with contracts Turney allegedly made Alissa sign. One of these was dated a year before Alissa’s disappearance, reportedly claiming that he had never abused her.

Detectives then asked Alissa’s friends about the suspected abuse. They confirmed that she’d spoken to them of Turney attempting to assault her when she was younger.

Her boyfriend also recalled Alissa telling him that her stepfather once picked her up from school early and drove her to a deserted area where he tried to assault her.

December 11, 2008: Mike Turney Arrested

Mike Turney was arrested and taken into custody after he was found armed with two guns and clips and a knife while collecting his mail.

Michael Roy Turney

Michael Roy Turney; Photo: Facebook/Helpfindalissa

A more detailed search led detectives to find 30 improvised explosive devices, weapons that can cause big blasts, and high-caliber assault rifles.

Along with these weapons, police also found a 98-page document titled, “Diary of a Madman Martyr.”

The manifesto also contained a document stating that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was behind the Alissa’s disappearance.

Turney reportedly planned to blow up the union hall to get his vengeance against the people he claimed had taken Alissa. He allegedly wrote that he’d killed two “assassins” who murdered Alissa.

Mike Turney was sentenced to 10 years in a federal prison.

2018: Alissa Turney Still Not Found

Alissa Turney’s chilling story was highlighted on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Her case was also documented and aired on Investigation Discovery. However, no new leads have surfaced.

Alissa is described as having brown eyes and brown hair, with a scar on her chin. She is 5’4” and weighed 145 pounds at the time of her disappearance.

Alissa Turney was last seen in her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She is still believed to be in the Arizona area or in California. Helpfindalissa.com is urging people to contact Child Protection Education of America, Inc. at 866-USA-CHILD or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST if they have any information about Alissa Turney’s whereabouts.