Pigeon Forge stabbing victim to be laid to rest Thursday

Savannah Burford working at the Sunliner Diner in Pigeon Forge / Source: Savannah's Family
Savannah Burford working at the Sunliner Diner in Pigeon Forge / Source: Savannah's Family(WVLT)
Published: Jan. 8, 2020 at 9:10 PM EST
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The mother of a woman who was murdered in a stabbing outside a Pigeon Forge diner spoke to WVLT News one day after the attack.

Julia Cutter, the mother of the victim, 19-year-old Savannah Burford, said that she witnessed the stabbing on Wednesday night after arriving at the Sunliner Diner to pick up Savannah, who was an employee at the restaurant.

"When I got there [at the diner], I wrote her and said 'here'," said Cutter. "Within 10 minutes, I got it on my phone. She said 'okay."

Cutter said she watched a man she identified as Gabe Turcious approach and then attack her daughter.

"I happened to look...and she's walking towards the car...and then Gabe [Gabriel Enrique Turcious] was right there...I didn't know what he was doing...and then she fell," Cutter said.

According to Pigeon Forge Chief of Police Richard Catlett, Savannah was leaving the Sunliner Diner around 8:40 p.m. on January 8 when she was approached by a male co-worker, later identified as Turcious. Police said Turcious stabbed Burford multiple times.

"I ran over and tried to pick her up," Cutter said. "You could tell she was trying to say something to me, but the blood was gurgling out of her mouth. Blood was floating all the way down the whole sidewalk."

As they waited for help to arrive, Cutter said she told her daughter, "I love you. I love you and I will always be with you, and I will always be thinking of you, and when anything happens to me I will be buried with you. That's what I told her. I love you, I'll always think of you, and when I die I will be buried with you."

"I couldn't save her," Cutter said. "I took off my...coat and I tried to stop the bleeding, and I couldn't."

Cutter told WVLT News that she couldn't save her daughter, but did see her attacker.

"I seen Gabe doing that to her," Cutter said. "And he was gone, but I couldn't do anything." She added that the attack happened so quickly that her daughter "couldn't even scream."

Turcious was found later a few blocks from the scene of the attack and taken into custody. According to police warrants, Turcious told police he had been contemplating the killing for days.

A witness to the attack, Marisol, described seeing the suspect attack Savannah. "It was just like non-stop, then she fell to the floor, and I thought he was going to do it again."

Marisol said she tried to stop the attacker. "I put my car in drive and tried to hit him with my car."

Warrants also said the entire incident was captured by security camera.

Family members are adamant that Savannah was being stalked by Turcious and said the restaurant where they worked allegedly did not take enough action to keep him separated from her.

Turcious was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault. His bond was set at $1 million. He was appointed a public defender and will appear in court on March 6.

WVLT News was unable to reach anyone from the restaurant. It was closed on Thursday.

Employees at Sunliner Diner's second location in Gulf Shores, AL said they were not authorized to release any information about the restaurant's owner.

Jared Burford, Savannah's brother, told WVLT News, "She didn't deserve this. She was 19 years-old and she was brutally murdered."

He said his sister was a gifted young woman with so much to offer the world, "She was a beautiful singer, nobody could sing like her. She had one of those voices if you heard that's the one you want to listen to."


created by Savannah's sister-in-law is raising money to help pay for funeral expenses.

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