Devastated dad of man incorrectly called 'youngest coronavirus victim' speaks out

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·4-min read

The dad of the man initially thought to have been Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim has spoken out online revealing his son had a “complicated medical history” but was not killed by the disease.

Nathan Turner, 30, a miner from the remote town of Blackwater, 200km west of Rockhampton in Queensland, was found dead by his fiancé when she arrived home from work on Tuesday last week.

Testing swabs were conducted on his body after his death - the first returning a positive result and the second a negative, his dad Rodney Turner explained in a post to Facebook on Tuesday.

He shared that while a full autopsy report was yet to be released due to the volume of tests that needed to be carried out, the family had been personally contacted by the coroner’s office.

Nathan Turner died on Tuesday last week and was first though to have been killed by COVID-19. Source: Facebook
Nathan Turner died on Tuesday last week and was first though to have been killed by COVID-19. Source: Facebook

“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,” the post read.

He wrote he wanted to share the family’s experience to “set the record straight” after having refused all previous media requests to comment publicly.

“We have all been contacted by the media on numerous occasions to make a statement to which we have to date refused. But I cannot hold back any longer. Here is my statement on my terms to set the record straight,” he said.

The dad wrote he shared the public’s confusion about how the virus made it to Blackwater - a small mining town - and condemned the vilification of a nurse who was accused of travelling there while sick.

“I feel for the nurse in Rockhampton, falsely accused of transmitting the virus to Blackwater. None of us know her and I’m sure she and Nathan never knew each other either,” he wrote.

She was criticised by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk after she continued to work in a nursing home despite showing symptoms and later tested positive for coronavirus.

One report in The Australian suggested she had breached lockdown restrictions in a 400km round trip to Blackwater to watch the sunrise.

“She said she had driven to Blackwater to watch the sunrise and hadn’t gotten out of her car or had any contact with anyone. It’s a strange place to go to watch the sunrise,” a Queensland Health source told the publication.

Mr Turner’s dad said it was unreasonable that one positive test caused the town to go into immediate high alert and many, including his future daughter-in-law Simone, to lose income.

Mr Turner was found dead by his fiancé in their home in Blackwater, Queensland. Source: Facebook
Mr Turner was found dead by his fiancé in their home in Blackwater, Queensland. Source: Facebook

“I feel for Simone’s employer and co-workers at the Blackwater bakery, who have all suffered trauma and lost income due to a false test,” he wrote.

“I feel for the whole town of Blackwater who have been subjected to unnecessary testing and concerns for their health as a result of this mistake.”

He said he respected the initial response from Queensland Health given the potential hazard detected, but said the risk had now passed and requested for privacy as Mr Turner’s family grieved their loss.

“This is no longer a story of public concern. It is now time to leave Nathan’s fiancé, his family and friends, alone to grieve in private.”

Tributes flow for young miner

More than a thousand people commented on the dad’s post sharing their heartfelt condolences with the family.

“This is so sad and unnecessary for your family to be put through this, rest in peace,” one person wrote.

“I’m so sorry you have gone through all this at a time that should be private for you to grieve. I’m so sorry you had to even write this, however understand why you did, and am glad the truth is out so you can now be left alone,” another said.

“Well said, my condolences to you and family, losing a child is a very hard loss and the hype over your son’s passing has only exacerbated the loss and grief,” a third wrote.

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