Pictured; Victim, Tammy Palmer (39) Murdered by Eugene Palmer, her father-in-law Monday Morning.
Eugene Palmer (pictured) has been missing for a month
* Suspect is diabetic, experienced outdoorsman
Article added on Letsfindthem on Oct. 27, 2012 – Originally published on October 13, 2012 by Jonathan Allen – Huffingtonpost (link at end of article)
HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. — * “Mystery of the mountain?” – Nearly three weeks after Eugene Palmer parked his pickup truck along a densely wooded state park 30 miles (48 km) from New York City and vanished, the whereabouts of the elderly man considered the prime suspect in the killing of his daughter-in-law remain a mystery.
The morning of Palmer’s disappearance, his daughter-in-law, Tammy Palmer, 39, was shot to death at her home shortly after her children left for school. The New York Times reported that Palmer, 73, was upset with her over a restraining order she had filed against her husband, who is Palmer’s son.
Local police, who declined to comment further on the Sept. 24 killing near the town of Haverstraw, have been unable to find Palmer, an experienced outdoorsman, despite a search of Harriman Park’s 46,000 acres (19,000 hectares) of mountainous woods, streams, lakes and caves. The manhunt involved officers in bulletproof vests, tracking dogs and helicopters with thermal imaging equipment.
Although he is a diabetic, Palmer is described as the sort of hardy woodsman who could plausibly survive for weeks in the wild, armed only with his wits and, possibly, a gun or two, according to police and local residents.
“He hunted, he ate off the land as his forefathers did, he lived that type of life. There are so many places, so many caves in the mountain he could hide in,” said Brenda Earl, a warden at St. John’s in the Wilderness, a 19th-century church in a desolate section of the park.
Earl told Reuters on Friday that life was beginning to return to normal in the area after a period in which the missing suspect seemed like an ominous, lurking presence.
About 85 people attended Sunday’s service at her church, she said, and “it was happy and joyous, and nobody seemed to be afraid that he was lurking in the corners or anyplace.”
Hikers and fishermen, who three weeks ago were urged to steer clear of the park, have returned in their usual numbers, park officials say, even if they may still encounter Palmer’s bearded face on posters dotting the trails.
“People should still use caution, we just don’t see any reason for extraordinary measures,” said Jim Hall, executive director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, who doubts anyone could survive long in the park without “a fair amount of equipment and wherewithal.”
Survivalist experts say Harriman would not have to go hungry if he is as skilled a hunter as he is said to be. The park has plenty of deer, raccoon and rabbits, although other creatures – poisonous rattlesnakes and copperhead vipers – pose a threat.
Even Palmer’s diabetes may not slow him down since a fugitive surviving in the woods would maintain an active, meat-rich, low-carb lifestyle.
“What he’s done here is gone on a perfect dietary treatment regimen, the sort before we had medicines,” said Daniel Lorber, a doctor and diabetes expert at the New York Hospital of Queens.
Haverstraw police would not discuss the case on Friday other than to say authorities were still looking for Palmer, declining to elaborate on whether he may be dead or alive. Police said previously that Palmer might have fled the area long ago, perhaps leaving his truck at the park as a ruse.
“People will always be looking even if they don’t find him,” said Earl. “Maybe it’s always going to be a mystery – the mystery of the mountain.”
09/28/12 HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. — He didn’t get the hour’s head start he was hoping for, but a 73-year-old man wanted for questioning in the killing of his daughter-in-law has been eluding police officers, dogs and helicopters for more than three days.
Police suspect that Eugene Palmer is hiding in the woods of Harriman State Park near his home in Haverstraw, about 30 miles north of Manhattan. They found his green Dodge pickup truck there on Tuesday and sent dozens of officers in on a manhunt, but by Thursday afternoon there were no confirmed sightings.
Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller said Palmer is a hunter who grew up in the area and is familiar with the rocky, hilly terrain of the 45,000-acre park.
“There are so many places to hide,” the chief said Thursday. “He could be hiding anyplace.” He acknowledged there’s also a chance that the truck was a ruse and Palmer is elsewhere.
Palmer’s photo, with his distinctive beard, has been sent to police departments throughout the region, Miller said, along with a warning that he is believed armed and dangerous.
Palmer hasn’t been charged, and Miller said he wants to hear his account of the killing of Tammy Palmer, 39, the mother of two teenagers.
“We’d like to hear his side of the story as to what prompted the shooting,” Miller said. “There’s more than one side to a story.”
He said he had scaled back the search Thursday, and “we’re hoping he’ll see that we’ve backed off a little bit and he’ll walk out and talk to us.”
Tammy Palmer had been estranged from her husband, Eugene Palmer’s son John Palmer, for several months, police said. The couple had lived in a home near Eugene Palmer’s, on land he owned, but John Palmer had been sent out by court order, police said.
Family members said that angered Eugene Palmer. His sister told The Journal News that he said Monday morning he had just killed Tammy Palmer. She said that he asked her not to call police for an hour, but that she dialed 911 immediately.
When the truck was found the next day, bloodhounds were brought in and they seemed to track Palmer’s scent to a campsite, but Miller said the campfire ashes were cold, “so it wasn’t like we spooked him. It could have been somebody else’s.”
Miller said Palmer had a heart attack about a year ago and has diabetes. He said it’s not known whether he took medications with him.
Tammy Palmer’s death has prompted a custody fight for her son and daughter between their father and their maternal grandparents. A family court judge on Thursday granted custody to the grandparents pending an October hearing.
Tammy Palmer’s funeral is set for Saturday.
Updated: 09/26/12 Stony Point, NY – Fatal shootings sets off manhunt in Harriman Park Yesterday.
Search helicopters flew low and slow above Harriman State Park forestland Tuesday as the manhunt continued for 73-year-old Eugene Palmer, who police said they want to question about the shooting death of his daughter-in-law, Tammy Palmer.
On the run: Eugene Palmer is being sought by police.
Haverstraw police Chief Charles Miller said police combing the woods in the afternoon discovered Palmer’s green 1995 Dodge Ram pickup truck about a half-mile from his home down a trail behind a knoll on park property.
Bloodhounds loaned by Westchester County police then picked up a scent and traveled up steep ridges and woods before growing too tired to go on.
Miller said police were waiting for a search warrant before digging through the vehicle, but had potentially found something else related to Palmer. He wouldn’t reveal what they found.
Speaking from the search command center at Lake Welch, Miller said police have divided the 46,000-acre-plus park into four quadrants to help aid in the search.
So far, they haven’t crossed the Orange County line, though Miller said state troopers had visited Grahamsville in Sullivan County where a family member has a home.
“I believe at this point he’s (Palmer’s) alive. He’s spent years in the woods,” said Miller. Despite Palmer’s age, having diabetes and having suffered a heart attack in the past, Miller said his property borders the park and he knows its terrain well, which gave him an edge.
At 7:40 a.m. Monday police received a call about three shots being fired on Willow Grove Road, where Tammy Palmer lives. The road leads into the park. After the first shot, the caller heard screaming, Miller said. Then the screaming stopped. When police arrived at the home of Tammy Palmer, 39, they found her dead in her backyard from a shotgun blast to the chest.
Eugene Palmer was last seen at his sister’s home before he disappeared.
He has a shotgun and possibly a long rifle too, Miller said, but he wasn’t sure what other supplies he might have.
By about 6:30 p.m. a last group of searchers was still left in the woods. Miller said when the group returned to the staging area, where more than 30 police vehicles from several agencies were parked, they would secure the park and continue the search in the morning.
The ongoing search left the park closed for the night and campgrounds were shut down. Bicyclists Forrest Cutrer, 26, and Mike Smedes, 24, traveling up from New York City, had planned on spending the night at the Beaver Pond Campgrounds. They said they were told by rangers that Palmer had been near the area and were closing the grounds for the night. “If something were to go wrong with the trip, a police manhunt for a murderer wouldn’t have been it,” Smedes said.
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Update: 09/25/12 NY – Manhunt for an elderly man who allegedly shot his daughter-in-law to death Monday morning:
Eugene Palmer, 73, of Haverstraw, NY, told relatives that he shot Tammy Palmer, his 39-year-old daughter-in-law, just moments after she put her two children on a bus for School.
Tammy’s father, John Pannirello told Fox News in an earlier interview, that Eugene Palmer confessed the killing to his sister, Elaine Babcock. “He admitted it, he admitted it to his sister,” Pannirello told FoxNews. “He said, ‘I just shot Tammy.’” Babcock said Palmer first gave her money to pay his taxes and then confessed to the murder. The last thing he said to her was: “‘Give me an hour to get away and then do whatever you have to do call the police…whatever you have to do,’” she told the station, “and then he just took off.”
Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller told reporters that Palmer is the prime suspect. He is considered a skilled huntsman who owns several guns and police have said that he could survive in the woods by himself for a long time.
Tammy was seperated from her husband, which is Eugene Palmer’s son. Relatives of the family said that Eugene and Tammy had been arguing over Eugenes son’s custody rights.
On Friday, several days before Tammy’s murder, Eugene Palmer reportedly flashed a weapon at Tammy Palmer and she threatened him with a log,
“He had a gun in his holster and wanted to abuse her,” Pannirello said. He then goes on to say: “She said he wanted her and the kids out of the house. She told him she’s not leaving. She picked up the log to chase him away.”
Eugene Palmer recently began a campaign of harassment after she took out an order of protection against her husband, John, barring him from her home north of NYC, where she was raising their two children.
Police believe Palmer, a retired park ranger, is hiding somewhere near Harriman State Park, close to the New Jersey border. They warn that he is considered armed and dangerous.