SALINAS, Calif. – Kelsey Turner was living in a Las Vegas home paid for by the California psychiatrist she is accused of beating to death, newly released warrant documents allege.
According to those documents, which shed extensive new light on the evidence gathered by homicide detectives in Las Vegas, Dr. Thomas Burchard’s longtime girlfriend believed Turner was the killer. She told The Californian her boyfriend had given the Turner at least $300,000 over the past two years.
Investigators have named Turner, a model who has posed for magazines including Playboy’s Italian website and Maxim, as a suspect in Burchard’s brutal killing. The battered body of the 71-year-old Salinas doctor was discovered March 7 in the trunk of a car abandoned on a dirt road near Lake Mead, east of Las Vegas.
Turner was arrested in Stockton, and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police are seeking her extradition to Clark County, Nevada, where she would face murder charges.
More: New details emerge regarding model accused of killing psychiatrist
Body was found in abandoned Mercedez
Officers found Burchard’s body because a passer-by reported the abandoned blue 2017 Mercedez-Benz C300 coupe about 2 miles down a dirt road off State Route 147.
Inside the trunk, they found Burchard’s body covered by loose clothes and bedding, according to an arrest warrant for Turner obtained by KSNV-TV.
Burchard died from blunt force trauma. He had been beaten in the head with an object that left “distinctive marks,” according to the warrant. His body also showed evidence of defensive wounds.
Police found blood on the headrest of the driver’s seat and backseat of the car. Officers also found blue latex gloves and evidence of a small fire on the front passenger seat, persuading them they were dealing with a homicide.
According to the warrant, evidence suggested Burchard was attacked in the backseat of the Mercedes-Benz, and his body later moved to the trunk of the car, though it is unclear if the attack began inside the vehicle or elsewhere.
Officers wrote that they recovered fingerprints, possible swabs of DNA and cleaning supplies from the car, as well as Burchard’s blood-covered vest and house keys.
After identifying Burchard, Las Vegas homicide detectives ran a records check and found that his longtime girlfriend, Judy Earp, had reported him missing in early March. Earp confirmed to The Californian that she was the same “Judy” referred to in the warrant.
Earp said she had not met the model personally but was aware of her. She said Burchard had known Turner for two years, during which time he’d given her $300,000 that Earp knew of.
“He was always helping people,” Earp said. “Anybody with a sad story, you know. Some people took advantage of that.”
Burchard had flown to Las Vegas March 1 to meet with Turner, the warrant said, and Earp last heard from him the following day. She asked police to check on Burchard at Turner’s home in Vegas on March 3, 4 and 5.
Each day, police didn’t find him, the warrant said.
Earp then reported him missing after receiving text messages from Burchard’s phone number that “didn’t sound like him,” she told The Californian.
Details from crime scene: Evidence of a clean-up
When police tried to check on Burchard on March 5, they found the house abandoned.
Officers found the windows open in the backyard and the front door unlocked. Inside the home, they found cleaning supplies throughout the residence, which “suggested the occupants were in the process of moving out.”
Police questioned a neighbor who recognized a description of Burchard, the warrant said.
Detectives returned several days later, March 8, a day after Burchard was found dead. Armed with a search warrant, they spoke with the landlord, who, according to the warrant, said Burchard had paid Turner’s rent on the property in December and her lease was paid through June 2019.
Once inside the property, police found a set of blue and white striped towels that matched a towel found inside the car where Burchard’s body was recovered, the warrant said. They also found an upstairs bedroom door had been ripped off its hinges and broken into two pieces. Both halves, according to the warrant, had blood on them and there was more blood found in the garage. The warrant says officers found evidence of a clean-up.
A search of Turner’s phone records showed the device had been primarily at the home from March 1 to March 5. On March 5, the day officers say they found an open window and questioned the neighbor, her phone left the house for most of the day. On March 6, her cell “left the area of her home and appeared never to return,” the warrant said.
On March 7, Turner’s cell phone was turned off and has not been turned back on since.
Police obtained Burchard’s phone records March 12. They showed no outgoing calls or text messages after March 3. According to the warrant, police believe he was killed between March 3 and 6.
Turner did not report her car stolen and appeared to have gone into hiding, according to the warrant.
“Therefore, based on the fact that Burchard came to Las Vegas with the intent to visit Turner, Burchard was found murdered in Turner’s vehicle, and there was evidence of a clean-up at Turner’s residence, there is probable cause to believe Turner was involved in Burchard’s death,” the warrant concludes.
How police tracked down Kelsey Turner
Las Vegas homicide detectives began searching for Turner. They reached out to the FBI’s Stockton Task Force on March 21, believing Turner to be living there, Stockton Police Public Information Officer Joe Silva said.
Officers found Turner at a home in Stockton. They arrested her without incident.
Turner has waived her right to an extradition hearing, according to her defense attorney, Brian J. Smith, and has a court date scheduled for April 8. After that, Smith said it could take up to 60 days for Clark County to move her from California to Nevada.
Before police say Burchard paid a Las Vegas landlord on Turner’s behalf, he appears to have paid for her home in Salinas. A landlord told The Californian Burchard paid him $3,200 a month in rent for a home where Turner, her mother and children lived.
Early last fall, Harshadray Patel said Burchard told him that he was done paying Turner’s rent after leasing the home for her for one year. Patel said he evicted Turner, her two children and her mother three months later, in fall 2018, for nonpayment of rent.
Burchard worked with the Montage Health behavioral health program at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.