Father of Nathan Turner who was falsely declared Australia's youngest COVID-19 victim breaks silence
Shattered father of Nathan Turner, 30, who was falsely declared ‘Australia’s youngest COVID-19 victim’ addresses rumours about his son’s health – and reveals the silent victim he feels for the most
- Nathan Turner’s father said he doesn’t understand how a false positive occurred
- Rodney Turner shared an emotional, lengthy statement on Tuesday evening
- He said he feels sorry for the nurse who was thought to be the source of infection
- Mr Turner cleared up rumours about his son’s health, saying he never had cancer
- He said Queensland Health contacted his family and Nathan’s fiance personally
- Nathan was found dead in his Blackwater, in regional Queensland, last Tuesday
- Queensland Health said he died from COVID-19 before revealing he never had it
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
The father a miner falsely declared Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim has put to bed rumours about his health and expressed his sympathy for the nurse who had been accused of infecting his son.
Nathan Turner, 30, was found dead by his shattered fiancee at his home in Blackwater, in regional Queensland, on May 26.
Queensland Health initially said Nathan died from COVID-19, sending the infection-free town into panic-mode, before yesterday revealing an autopsy found he did not have the virus.
Nathan’s father Rodney Turner released a lengthy statement on Tuesday, saying he and his wife Carmel remained in the dark.
‘We do not have a cause of death and have been told by the Coroner’s office that due to his complicated medical history and the volume of tests being carried out, this may take quite some time to be finalised,’ Mr Turner said.
Nathan’s father Rodney shared an emotional statement on Tuesday, saying he and his wife Carmel are still waiting to find out what caused their son’s death
Queensland Health initially said Nathan died from coronavirus, before yesterday revealing an autopsy found he did not in fact have the virus
Nathan Turner is pictured with his partner Simone Devon, who discovered his body last Tuesday after she returned from work
There was widespread speculation on social media that Nathan had cancer, however, Mr Turner put those rumours to bed.
‘The “social media” experts had plenty to say “confirming” his past and current health… Yes, Nathan had symptoms of a cold – something not uncommon for Nathan,’ he said.
‘But he had not displayed any other symptoms of COVID-19. No, he did not have cancer.’
Mr Turner said he felt for the nurse who was thought to have been the source of infection after breaking travel restrictions to drive from Rockhampton to Blackwater.
‘I feel for the nurse in Rockhampton, falsely accused of transmitting the virus to Blackwater,’ he said.
‘None of us know her and I’m sure she and Nathan never knew each other either. But given the media experience we have had, I can only imagine how she must feel right now.’
Mr Turner confirmed the coroner’s office contacted his family and fiancee Simone Devon personally.
‘After further blood tests and lung tests conducted in the autopsy process so far, they can tell us that they have not found any evidence that Nathan died from or with COVID-19,’ he said.
‘COVID-19 testing swabs were taken from Nathan after his death in his home.
The first showing positive to the virus and the second showing negative.
Mr Turner said he sympathises townspeople of Blackwater, who were ‘subjected to unnecessary testing and concerns for their health’.
Pictured: Locals queue to get coronavirus tests last week
Nathan Turner, who was thought to be Australia’s youngest COVID-19 victim, didn’t die from the virus, it was revealed on Monday
Family and friends at Nathan Turner’s Blackwater home where his fiance found him dead last Tuesday
‘So, I completely understand the reaction of Queensland Health to this situation. As a matter of public interest they had to take precautionary action based on the evidence they had before them.
‘What I don’t understand is how a false positive came about in the first place.’
Mr Turner also set the record straight on why his son hadn’t been at work since November.
‘Yes, he did have a workplace, single vehicle, truck driving accident in November last year and has not worked since,’ he said.
Mr Turner said the locals of Blackwater are also in his thoughts, after they were ‘subjected to unnecessary testing and concerns for their health’.
‘At the same time I would like to thank this wonderful community who have rallied together to support Simone and her family at this time,’ he said.
Mr Turner said he sympathises with the nurse who was thought to have been the source of infection after breaking travel restrictions to drive from Rockhampton to Blackwater
Mr Turner said Ms Devon and her family were forced to isolate due of the false positive test result.
‘Neither Simone nor her family showed symptoms of COVID-19 and were all tested negative – Simone three times,’ he said.
‘No, Simone was not suffering symptoms of COVID-19 and was not forced to isolate in Rockhampton Hospital.
‘Despite knowing in her heart that she had not been exposed to the virus, she has remained isolated at home with her lovely family’s support.’
On Tuesday, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said Mr Turner’s family may never know the truth.
‘There are two potential answers here. One is that it was a false positive.
The other is that it was a true positive and we won’t know which it was,’ Dr Young told reporters.
‘But I am confident about the actions that were taken on that night to protect the community of Blackwater.’
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she felt for Mr Turner’s loved ones, but the government had to take the initial positive test on face value.
The decision was backed by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who said officials did the right thing with the information they had.
‘Not to have tested the population with the evidence they had would not have been the right thing,’ he said.
‘None of this brings him back, so his family, his friends, they still have to grieve.
‘But they are now able to grieve without the extra weight.’
On Tuesday Ms Devon changed her Facebook display picture to a photo of her late fiance, with the caption ‘family is everything’.
Within days of Nathan’s death, health authorities had been investigating whether a nurse, whose name hasn’t been revealed, brought coronavirus into Blackwater.
The nurse told authorities she had taken a 400km round trip to ‘watch the sunset’ in the mining town.
She was re-interviewed last Thursday as authorities tried to piece together how COVID-19 reached the town – with the nurse admitting she had been on a recent holiday to Malaysia.
Since his May 26 death, Nathan’s family maintained they didn’t believe COVID-19 caused his death, as he also suffered from epilepsy and asthma, and regularly caught the flu.
Mr Turner said his son Nathan had a workplace single vehicle truck driving accident in November last year and had not worked since
Mystery surrounded the suspected coronavirus case, after it was revealed Nathan had not left the small town in months and there were no other known local cases.
The results sparked a full-scale health response, with fever clinics set up and locals urged to get tested immediately.
The state government even announced the town’s sewage would be tested to determine if the virus was prevalent. So far there have been no other cases.
Ms Devon tested negative to the virus three times and more than 500 Blackwater residents also returned negative results.
After the 30-year-old’s death was made public, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said suggestions he did not have coronavirus appeared incorrect.
‘There was a test done … which is a very sensitive test and it came back positive,’ Ms Young told reporters.
‘I believe it was a positive.’
Queensland Health confirmed to Daily Mail Australia on Monday that further tests returned negative for COVID-19.
‘The Coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19. He is yet to determine the man’s cause of death,’ Dr Young said.
THE DEATH OF NATHAN TURNER
TUESDAY MAY 26: Nathan Turner was found dead at his home in Blackwater, in regional Queensland, by his fiancee Simone Devon.
WEDNESDAY MAY 27: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk held a press conference with health authorities and said Mr Turner died from coronavirus.
Ms Devon was put into isolation after experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
Mystery surrounded the suspected coronavirus case, after it was revealed Mr Turner had not left the small town in months and there were no other known local cases.
Since his May 26 death, Mr Turner’s family maintained they didn’t believe COVID-19 caused his death, as he also suffered from epilepsy and asthma, and regularly caught the flu.
MONDAY JUNE 1: Autopsy found Mr Turner did not have the deadly virus.
Mr Turner’s friends created a Change.org petition calling on Ms Palaszczuk and chief health officer Jeannette Young to apologise to his family and the community for creating ‘chaos and panic’.
Queensland Health confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19.
‘The Coroner tonight advised that further tests have returned negative for COVID-19.
He is yet to determine the man’s cause of death,’ Dr Young said.
TUESDAY JUNE 2: Mr Turner’s devastated father Rodney releases a lengthy statement saying he doesn’t understand how a false positive occurred.