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Deaths of a young mother and her 3-year-old daughter horrify family and friends

Updated: 2013-08-25T04:01:11Z

By LEE HILL KAVANAUGH

The Kansas City Star

After she heard the horrible news that someone had killed her daughter and granddaughter, Cheryl Turner felt more pain than she’d ever felt before.

“Awful,” she said Saturday.

Police confirmed to family Friday evening that Myeisha Turner, 27, and her daughter Damiah White, 3, had been found dead inside their duplex in the 5500 block of Wabash Avenue.

Turner’s youngest child, an 11-month-old boy, was alive and crying, left to wander around the bodies — possibly for hours. Police released the names Saturday but did not give estimated times for the deaths.

“None of this makes sense!” Cheryl Turner said. “My daughter never got in trouble or anything. She was a very caring, very loving person who worked at St. Luke’s Hospital, and, oh my God, who would kill a baby?”

Myeisha Turner’s cousin found the bodies when she entered the duplex through a wide-open back door about 7:15 p.m. Friday. There were different accounts of how long the back door had been left open, but the family thinks Turner was killed Thursday night.

Cheryl Turner cleared her throat and tried not to cry as she talked about it Saturday. Talking eases the sadness, she said. She wanted strangers to know how wonderful her daughter and granddaughter were. She wanted people to know they mattered.

“My granddaughter, she called me Nana. She just got her vaccinations to get ready for preschool. Oh, she loved to play on a little kitchen set at my house. But she really loved to sing.”

Turner stopped and laughed softly, remembering Damiah’s little squeaky voice. She would have turned 4 in a few weeks.

“I taught her ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.’ She played a little baby piano we have. I told her she was going to be on television…”

Myeisha Turner attended Washington High School before transferring to Excelsior Springs Job Corps. She was studying to be a registered nurse, taking classes at National American University while working as a caregiver at St. Luke’s.

“She was a very loving, very good mother,” said Cheryl Turner. “Her children and caring for others was her whole life.”

The Turner family is getting support from the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. Saturday evening, several family members went back to the little duplex at 55th and Wabash, asking neighbors if anyone saw anything. Ad Hoc plans to hold a vigil at the site at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Neighbors were shaken by what happened. Several said that three years ago, police had purged the neighborhood of its drug and prostitution issues. The neighborhood was coming back as a place to raise children. Already this month, at least four families with children have moved in.

Myeisha Turner and her kids hadn’t been in the duplex even a week, said a next-door neighbor, an Army veteran of Desert Storm who didn’t want to give his name.

He’d met the young mother once, last weekend, when she first started moving in. He apologized then for his dog barking. He said that he thinks her back door was open Tuesday night all the way through Friday. His brother thought that maybe she was fumigating the house.

The crowd that gathered Friday night was heart-wrenching, he said. Strangers cried along with family members at the gruesome discoveries. Police wrapped yellow tape around three duplexes, including his, until late Friday night, after the bodies were removed.

Another neighbor across the street, Denise Coleman, 43, said she saw Turner on Tuesday and Wednesday pull up and park in a white Dodge Magnum “with the two babies in the car.” The street has so little traffic that any vehicle that drives by, or parks, is scrutinized, she said.

Coleman was certain about the days and the times because on Tuesday, she was visiting a loved one in the hospital; Wednesday she was taking her daughter to school.

“Thursday afternoon, we saw a U-Haul parked out front. But I didn’t see her no more.”

As she talked, a Kansas City police cruiser slowly rolled by. She waved. “This is so scary,” she said. “It just don’t seem real.”

Saturday morning, fliers dangled from doorknobs at homes up and down Wabash. The fliers asked that people not look the other way but speak up if they know any information about the deaths and to please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (474-8477).

But one relative said she knew what killed her family.

“The devil says he comes to steal, kill and destroy,” said Hattie Newton, 84, who is Myeisha’s great-grandmother and little Damiah’s great-great-grandmother. “He did his job in our family. But God knows.

“And God will help us.”

To reach Lee Hill Kavanaugh, call 816-234-4420 or send email to lkavanaugh@kcstar.com.

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