Haverstraw, NY – Authorities are still searching for a 73-year-old Haverstraw man who allegedly killed his daughter-in-law earlier this week. Eugene Palmer was a loner in the Rockland County neighborhood, and is reportedly very familiar with the thick woodlands surrounding his home. NBC News reports that this familiarity is making the search difficult to track Palmer down, since “he would frequently go into the woods to camp and hunt on his own.”
Palmer’s sister, Elaine Babcock, immediately called 911 when her brother came to her house on Monday morning, gave her money, and told her he had killed his estranged daughter-in-law, Tammy Palmer. He then asked his sister to give him one hour before calling the police, reports The Journal News. Babcock immediately alerted the authorities, who began their search in nearby Harriman State Park, an area with which Palmer is very comfortable. “The woods are too thick for a general sweep,” Miller told NBC News. “There are so many places to hide … [Or] he could have made it to a road and gotten picked up by somebody, and he could be staying elsewhere.”
Tammy Palmer, 39, was married to Palmer’s son for 17 years – “painful years,” Tammy’s father tells The New York Times – before splitting from him five months ago. Tammy had two children, ages 16 and 13, by Palmer’s son. Tammy finally placed a restraining order against the younger Palmer when he allegedly refused to leave her alone. In the past weeks, a custody battle had ensued, and Eugene Palmer had allegedly became more and more aggravated with Tammy. Tammy’s father, John Pannirello, paints a picture of the tense situation between his daughter and her father-in-law, who lived a mere 50 feet from their trailer.The New York Times reports:
“[Eugene] did not make life much easier [for Tammy]. He railed against the restraining order, demanding that Ms. Palmer leave and shutting off the trailer’s electricity when she refused … he also spied on her … Days before the shooting, he told her ‘This is your last chance,’ while holding a gun in his pocket, and Ms. Palmer responded by threatening him with a log.”
Eugene Palmer and his family have lived in the heavily wooded, secluded edge of Haverstraw for generations, according to The New York Times. “He’s very coldhearted,” Pannirello told The Journal News of the elder Mr. Palmer. “The detective says he won’t be surprised if something goes on between us and him, if he has guns with him. I just have a bad, bad feeling.”
While Palmer does not appear to have a criminal record, Miller said his officer are prepared to meet a man carrying at least one gun. “They’re all armed, and they have bulletproof vests,” he said to The New York Times. “They’re being diligent out there.”
Palmer is a diabetic, and suffered a stroke last year. His family is not sure whether he is traveling with any medications.