Closure for Calgary family after decade-old missing persons case in Arizona solved

85-year-old Hugh Turner. Mesa Police Department

For over 10 years, they never gave up hope of finding him. After 85-year-old Hugh Turner went missing from his Mesa, Arizona home on Christmas Eve 2010, his family in Calgary desperately searched for him.

Turner went out for an afternoon walk but never returned.

A decade later, his remains were discovered by a hiker who was exploring a remote mountainous area on sacred Native land. The Salt River Maricopa Indian Community is not a place well-travelled by the public.

Bones and pieces of clothing were found.

Through dental records, authorities were finally able to solve a cold case. They were able to identify the remains as Turner’s. His death was not considered criminal.

Det. Steve Berry with the Mesa Police Department expressed relief in bringing a measure of closure to Turner’s Alberta relatives.

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“We are used to finding people so when we have a case where we don’t, it’s troubling on our side,” Berry said.

“I can remember flying, looking for Mr. Turner and we had dogs and bloodhounds and it was extensive. It was believed he fell into the lake near the golf course and so they drained the lake to ensure he wasn’t there.

“It was quite exhaustive and it left that feeling of emptiness never being able to resolve what happened.”

85-year-old Hugh Turner. Turner Family

The original detective on the missing person’s case was able to notify the family.

“Our missing person’s investigator who had been on that case way back when was still here and able to deliver the news to the family,” Berry said.

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“That provides closure for her. Just like the family, she had an open case looming out there in the world and she was able to get some closure.”

The location where remains were discovered is about seven kilometres from Turner’s Arizona home.

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