Woman arrested in ‘soulless’ murder of 71-year-old doctor

Posted at 7:42 PM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 19:42:21-04

SALINAS, Calif. – A 25-year-old woman faces a murder charge in the death of a doctor whose body was found in the trunk of a car near Las Vegas March 7, according to police.

The FBI arrested Kelsey Nichole Turner two weeks later in Stockton, California, after a 911 caller reported the abandoned car with a broken window along State Route 147 near the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Inside the vehicle investigators found the body of 71-year-old Thomas Burchard, a child psychiatrist from Salinas, California. The Clark County Coroner's Office determined that blunt force injury was the cause of death and classified it as a homicide.

The Salinas Californian reports that Turner worked as a model, and her mugshot and name match up with a Kelsey Turner who appeared in Playboy Italy in May, 2017. Officers arrested her in Stockton, California March 21.

Burchard knew Turner and had paid rent for her and her family in Salinas, according to her mother, who also lived at the residence, KSBW reports.

A source told KSBW that Burchard stopped paying rent when Turner moved to Las Vegas. According to the source, Burchard expressed worry for Turner before he took a trip to Vegas, saying her boyfriend was abusing her and that he felt partially responsible.

"Dr. Burchard was a psychiatrist in our behavioral health program for almost 40 years and was very helpful to many patients," Mary Barker, a spokeswoman for Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, said in a statement. "It’s a very sad situation and our hearts go out to his family, friends, patients, and colleagues. We are notifying his patients and providing grief counseling for staff."

Burchard's girlfriend, Judy Earp, told the Review Journal that he felt a deep responsibility to his patients and, instead of retiring, just cut his work week to four days. She said he loved to learn magic tricks in his spare time, and would sometimes perform them to entertain his patients.

“Whoever did this is just soulless,” Earp told the paper.