Lawyer charged with girlfriend’s murder had a drinking problem, victim’s mother says

Evalena Duncan, Tamra Turpin's mother (Photo: YouTube)

The Missouri lawyer charged with murdering his girlfriend in Playa del Carmen last week allegedly had an alcohol problem and had been cited in the U.S. for Driving Under the Influence as recently as last month, according to the woman’s mother.

In an exclusive interview with The Yucatan Times, Evalena Duncan, the mother of the deceased woman, Tamra Turpin, said that she has heard rumors that suspect John Loveless had a drinking problem and was prone to displays of temper. However, Duncan said she had not heard of any previous violent incidents between Loveless, 59, and Turpin, 36.

“He was kind to my daughter, and most people tell me they believe he worshipped the ground she walked on,” Duncan said in a telephone interview with TYT Friday March 11.

Responding to rumors that Turpin had a drug problem of her own, Duncan said that she and other family members did not know of any illicit drug use by Turpin.

Evalena Duncan, Tamra Turpin's mother (Photo: YouTube)
Evalena Duncan, Tamra Turpin’s mother (Photo: YouTube)

“If she had a drug problem, we were unaware of it,” Duncan, of Grand Prairie, Texas, said by telephone from the U.S.

However, Duncan said Turpin took medication for pain and migraine headaches that resulted from head and other injuries she suffered as a teenager in a serious auto accident. These injuries were the cause of her being declared disabled, Duncan said.

Loveless’ version of events that led to Turpin’s death March 2 at a rented vacation condo in Playa del Carmen is that he and Turpin had an argument, and that she took an overdose of medication and suffered seizures. Loveless has also claimed Turpin committed suicide.

Duncan said she is glad Loveless was ordered to face trial on the murder charge in August by a judge in Quintana Roo state Thursday March 10. “I clearly believe he murdered her. The autopsy showed she died from strangulation,” Duncan said.

Missouri lawyer John Loveless, left, has been detained in Playa del Carmen in connection with the death of Tamra Turpin of Missouri, in photo at right. (Source:
Missouri lawyer John Loveless, left, has been detained in Playa del Carmen in connection with the death of Tamra Turpin of Missouri, in photo at right. (Source:

Duncan said the family is concentrating on returning Turpin’s remains to the U.S., and that a fundraising effort for funeral and burial expenses has accumulated more than $11,000 USD.

“There’s been an outpouring of love and support,” she said.

The Yucatan Times contacted the U.S. Consulate in Merida regarding the status of repatriation of Turpin’s body. Consulate spokeswoman Tricia Olivares said she would confer with other Consulate officials and respond to TYT after this consultation.

TYT will publish this information as soon as it is available.


After this interview, many questions remain unanswered:

Why is suspect John Loveless claiming Turpin died of an overdose when a forensic examination by Mexican authorities found that she died of asphyxia by strangulation?

Why did Loveless neglect calling an ambulance, stating he believed Tamra was “resting comfortably”, when she actually ended up dead on that day?

Why did he flee the scene, abandon the body and attempt to board a flight to Atlanta at the Cancun airport, where he was finally arrested?

These are just a few of the questions that may be clarified as the case against John Loveless unfolds in a Quintana Roo courtroom.

By Alejandro Azcárate and Robert Adams for TYT