Murder of Berkeley Co. 5-year-old remains unsolved for 29 years

Justin Turner's murder has gone unsolved for 29 years. (Source: Provided)
Justin Turner's murder has gone unsolved for 29 years. (Source: Provided)
Bystanders watch as investigators process the scene where Turner's body was found. (Source: Live 5)
Bystanders watch as investigators process the scene where Turner's body was found. (Source: Live 5)
Turner's body was found on his parents' property on March 5, 1989. (Source: Live 5)
Turner's body was found on his parents' property on March 5, 1989. (Source: Live 5)
Turner's body was found in a cabinet and investigators say he had been strangled. (Source: Live 5)
Turner's body was found in a cabinet and investigators say he had been strangled. (Source: Live 5)

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The murder of a five-year old Berkeley County boy has now been unsolved for 29 years.

On March 5, 1989, Justin Turner's body was found in a cabinet on his parents' property on Horseshoe Road.

The discovery was made by his father, according to investigators.

The boy had been strangled.

Authorities say two days earlier, Justin left his house to go to a neighbor's house to catch the school bus. That afternoon, his stepmom Pamela Turner went to meet the school bus, but Justin wasn't on it.

She also was told he hadn't been to school that day.

Pamela Turner was arrested but eventually released for a lack of evidence.

"It don't happen in this neighborhood, you just don't see that," said Barry Foster who lives in the neighborhood. Foster recalls seeing cops coming into the neighborhood.

"People were kind of frantic, running around. Nobody knew what was going on, come to find out the little boy had been killed," Foster said.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Lt. Dean Kokinda is the cold case detective assigned to the Turner case.

"Fresh set of eyes, looking at any evidence that might be there that we could possibly retest with the advancement in forensic technology," Kokinda said.

Kokinda says he hopes to re-interview people who may know something about the murder.

"Twenty-nine years, witnesses die, people's memories fade, but I found working cold cases that usually when a traumatic event happens that memory burns in their mind," Kokinda said.

Foster says folks in the neighborhood believe someone has information that could help solve the case.

"People are going to have that on their conscience you know, and if you could sleep at night with that, like an old preacher said one time, payday someday," Foster said.

Justin Turner's stepfather issued a statement.

"Justin is missed everyday by his family and friends. We appreciate all the efforts of the BCSD and the public," Russell Pace said.

Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis also issued a statement:

"Shortly after taking office, the family of Justin Turner came in to meet with me about the case. After hearing their concerns, this case was assigned to Cold Case detectives to reexamine. Because of the recent advances in forensic technologies, we have submitted evidence to the SLED crime lab for analysis. Our hopes and prayers are that, along with advances in the forensic technologies, that someone with knowledge of this case will come forward with clues that will help solve it. 

This case remains at the forefront of our efforts at the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office."

Anyone with information on the Turner case should call the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office at 843-719-4668.

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