NORTH PORT, Fla. -- After months of staying silent, former North Port Police Officer Melanie Turner is finally breaking her silence about the life-changing party back on March 1st that ended in a good friend's criminal accusations, her own arrest and subsequent resignation--and a colleague's suicide.
In text messages to ABC 7, Turner sent a picture of herself, and the following words: "I've been saying all along that the truth will come out and that those who know me know that there was never a chance that her allegations were true. I want to thank those that have stood by me and RIP Ricky Urbina."
Ricky Urbina was the on-duty officer suspected--with Turner--of sexually assaulting the hostess of a raucous party. ABC 7 obtained cell-phone video of the party.
ABC 7 also learned wild parties were not uncommon among those paid to protect North Port. One former officer told us, "it was comfort level that cuffs would get taken out, a captain's gun would get taken out is common, partner swapping is not such a big deal for them."
Most residents we asked wouldn't talk to us on camera about this story. One man allowed us to use his voice but not his voice. He said, "They're on a little bit if a higher level to where when everyone looks at them they are authorities. They should conduct themselves in that way," he said.
As for Turner, she's already resigned even though charges were later dropped. We asked her what's next for her: She said she didn't know but "couldn't go back there after all the bad publicity. Too many naive people out there who didn't bother to ask questions and just chose to crucify me instead."
And as for the "friend" who seemed to consent and then turn on her later, she referenced Officer Urbina's suicide, saying, "I also want to add that she has to live with the guilt of her false accusations contributing to his death."
Even though prosecutors have dropped charges against Turner, North Port Police are continuing an internal investigation.