Donations, benefits planned for Turner family

Roxie Murphy; Dave Marner, Staff Writer; Managing Editor
Posted 9/25/19

BELLE — Double L Country Store in Belle has a donation jar to offset the cost of 4-year-old Bentlee Turner’s funeral, and help his parents, Frankie and Brenda Turner.

Bentlee’s …

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Donations, benefits planned for Turner family

Posted

BELLE — Double L Country Store in Belle has a donation jar to offset the cost of 4-year-old Bentlee Turner’s funeral, and help his parents, Frankie and Brenda Turner.

Bentlee’s body was located along Valentine Ford Road in Gasconade County Sept. 16, along with the body of Monty Jason Barton, 37, of Belle, just over two hours after Bentlee’s mother had reported him missing to the Belle Police Department. The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s investigation concludes the boy died from a single gunshot wound to the head. Barton died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

“Based upon the result of each autopsy and investigation to date, this is consistent with the homicide of Bentlee J. Turner and self-inflicted gunshot wound of Monty Jason Barton,” according to the MSHP report from the Division of Drug and Crime Control’s investigators. “The investigation into the circumstances of this incident will continue.”

Autopsies on both were conducted Sept. 19 at the University of Missouri by the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Sgt. Scott White, a public information officer for the MSHP’s Troop F in Jefferson City, did not have the time of death available but did say “there was indication of some decomposition” to the boy’s body. Lawmen recovered both bodies around 11:30 p.m. a week ago Monday.

A Belle woman told The Republican her adult son had driven by the area on Sunday evening between 7 and 8 p.m. and saw Barton sitting in a lawn chair beside his yellow Humvee. No child was visible in the area, she said.

White said he could not release, or discuss, “specific pieces of evidence” related to the investigation “including the timeline,” at this time. Barton’s cell phone data was still be reviewed, he added.

A community comes together

Brenda Turner works part-time at Double L and co-owner Lisa Halbert said the donation jar funds will go to her employee’s family, and will be up as long as people want to give.

“We will go until people quit giving,” Halbert said. “We had a group come in and play games the other day, and all of their winnings went into the Bentlee jar.”

Turner’s coworkers have also set up various ways to donate to Bentlee’s funeral costs. Melissa Mercer has a Venmo payment option at — @melissamercer03, and a GoFundMe account “Funeral Costs for Bentlee Turner” has also been set up.

“We also funded a plaque for a tree in the Belle City Park,” Halbert said. “It will be the tree nearest the playground.”

Halbert said Bentlee was always at her store, getting drinks and buying suckers.

“He loved his older siblings,” she said, while mentioning he wasn’t the youngest.  

Bentlee’s mother, Brenda Turner updated her original Sept. 16 post — that asked for the community’s help in locating her son and Barton — on Sept. 17, letting followers know that Bentlee’s body had been located, and it wasn’t the outcome everyone had been praying for.

“We now have another sweet boy with angel wings,” she wrote. “And as for Jason, he was a coward and took his own life after taking my son’s!”

A son, Alex, died in June 2016 from head injuries suffered when the Tahoe Brenda Turner was driving skidded out of control and overturned on Holt Road south of Bland. He was 5 years old. 

The Belle community and neighboring communities have banded together to support the Turner family, as little Bentlee’s funeral commenced Sept. 21, with the help of Bland Christian Church and First Baptist Church of Belle.

“They were doing separate dinners for the funeral, and when they found out, they banded together,” Halbert said. “We’ve never seen a community come together like this. We could tell there was a darkness over the whole town. It is horrible.”

Halbert said they are planning to have a candlelight vigil at the Belle City Park at 7 p.m. Oct. 13, to help the community and the family grieve. A Nov. 9 benefit at Padgett’s Place Bar & Grill, 215 South Alvarado, is also tentatively planned to benefit the family. Until then, the community continues to pull together. Halbert said the family needs prayers. “We don’t want to bombard them with people because they need their space right now,” she said. Co-worker Tess Ridenhour agreed. “We come together in all different directions,” she said.

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