By Melydia Clewell, Assignment Manager - bio | email
Mathew and Gail Palmgren
Palmgren's Jeep Rubicon.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) - We are learning more about the days leading up to 44-year-old Gail Palmgren's disappearance.
The mother of two has not been seen or heard from since April 30th.
Below is a timeline of events leading up to that day:
June 2010 - Gail Palmgren is laid off from her job at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, where she was employed as Scientific Director and Medical Liaison for eight years.
November 17, 2010 - Signal Mountain Police are called to the Palmgren's home in response to a verbal disorder. Police records show Matthew and Gail Palmgren had an argument over their missing dog. Gail went to spend the night with Matthew's mother at her Mountain Creek apartment.
April 22, 2011 - Signal Mountain Police respond to another verbal disorder between Matthew and Gail Palmgren. The two were fighting while stopped at a stop sign. The argument was over driving their Jeep to the lake. Matthew Palmgren got out of the car and attempted to walk home. Gail called police.
April 29, 2011 - Signal Mountain Police are dispatched on a third disorder. The couple was involved in an argument that ended with Gail Palmgren going to the family's lake house in Alabama for the night. The couple agreed she would also take their two children. The police report indicates Gail was given phone numbers of "a safe place to stay".
April 30, 2011 - Gail is seen by a neighbor leaving her home in her Jeep Rubicon. Susie Button described Gail Palmgren as being upset in days leading up to that day. She also says Gail asked her to hold her passport and cash in her home. Other neighbors describe being asked to hold onto other personal belongings.
*New Details* April 30, 2011 – In a June 28th interview, Gail's sister, Diane Nichols, tells Eyewitness News that Palmgren begged her sister to call the Signal Mountain Police and have them meet her at the family's home. Nichols says the SMPD called Palmgren on her cell phone; the details of that conversation have not been released.
May 2, 2011 - Gail Palmgren's sister, Diane Nichols, calls Signal Mountain Police from her home in New York. Nichols reports not hearing from Gail, and requests a welfare check and files a missing persons report. An officer drove to the Palmgren's home. No one was home and there were no signs of foul play. Later that day, Matthew Palmgren calls 911 to report his wife missing. He tells police his wife dropped their children off at home alone and had not been seen since. A BOLO (be on the lookout) is issued across Hamilton County for Gail. At the request of Signal Mountain Police the parking lot at the Chattanooga Airport is searched for Gail Palmgren's Jeep Rubicon.
May 6, 2011 - Matthew Palmgren files a motion for exclusive use and possession of the couple's home. He also files a restraining order against his wife, and a request for temporary custody of the couple's children. In his affidavit, Matthew Palmgren says his wife had suffered "bouts of depression," was paranoid in days before her disappearance, and had changed pin numbers to bank accounts that contain hundreds of thousands of dollars. He adds he was concerned his wife might try to take their children out of the country.
May 7, 2011 - Friends and family gather at Walmart at the foot of Signal Mountain to hand out flyers with Gail's picture on them. They continue this effort every day since.
May 8, 2011 - A friend of Gail Palmgren dropped a flyer off to the Channel 3 studio asking for help finding Gail. It was then the Signal Mountain Police Department confirms Gail Palmgren was a missing person and provides a brief news release to the Chattanooga media.
May 18, 2011 - Hamilton County announces it will assist Signal Mountain Police in the search for Gail Palmgren. In a news conference, authorities answer questions for the first time since Gail's disappearance. They tell the media they are treating the case as a missing person case and do not have persons of interest, but have not ruled out foul play. They do not comment on the investigation. Matthew Palmgren also makes a brief statement asking for prayers for his family. It is the first time he makes a public comment.
May 24, 2011 - Hamilton County deputies use sonar and divers to search an area of the Tennessee River, known as Suck Creek, for signs of Palmgren's Jeep Rubicon. The search turns up empty-handed.
May 30, 2011 - Gail has been missing for one month. Family and friends have held vigils and searches in Signal Mountain, TN, Wetumpka, AL where the Palmgren's own a lake house and in her home town near Buffalo, NY.
June 7, 2011 - Matthew Palmgren is fired from his job at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. His attorney says it is not related to the disappearance of his wife.
June 9, 2011 – Arlene Durham, a friend of Gail Palmgren, alleges that a Signal Mountain Police detective threatened to arrest her on charges of interfering with an investigation for delivering missing person fliers to police departments throughout the Southeast.
June 18, 2011 – Matthew Palmgren agrees to allow police to search the family properties on condition that his lawyers be present during any and all searches.
June 22, 2011 – Friends and family of Gail Palmgren set up a reward fund for information related to the disappearance of Gail Palmgren.
June 24, 2011 – Police conduct their first search of the Palmgren home in Signal Mountain and a storage unit in Red Bank.
June 24, 2011 – Kevin Nowacki and Diane Nowacki Nichols, Gail Palmgren's brother and sister, file a request for a restraining order against Matthew Palmgren. The order requests a court-appointed guardian for the Palmgren children and asks that Matthew Palmgren not destroy any property belonging to Gail without the courts approval. A hearing on the order is scheduled for July 11.
June 29, 2011 – A Chancery Court judge agrees, at the request of Matthew Palmgren's attorneys, to hold a hearing on the restraining order request early. Both Nowacki and Nichols, who filed the request, are out of town at their respective homes. The same day Signal Mountain Police request evidence from Arlene Durham.
July 6, 2011 – Investigators search all properties owned by Mathew Palmgren, including the family home, a storage unit, his mother's home and their lake home in Alabama.
July 13, 2011 – The Hamilton County District Attorney asks Governor Haslam to offer a reward for information related to the disappearance.
July 25, 2011 – The FBI confirms they are looking into the case.
September 1, 2011 – Matthew Palmgren places the family home on Signal Mountain up for sale. Because Gail's name is on the deed with his he must wait until her disappearance is resolved before the sale can be finalized.
October 26, 2011 – Matthew Palmgren calls police and reports Arlene Durham has allegedly been harassing him.
October 30, 2011 – Gail Palmgren has been missing for six months.
November 31, 2011 – Hamilton County Sheriff's Office begins aerial search of Signal Mountain using infrared technology.
December 1, 2011 – On a second aerial search of the area, a ruby red Jeep Rubicon is discovered in a steep, heavily wood area off East Brow Road. Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond confirms the Jeep does belong to Gail Palmgren. Sheriff says Jeep is empty, no evidence of Palmgren's body in Jeep.
December 2, 2011 - Investigators return to the site of the wrecked Jeep. By 10:30 a.m. Sheriff Hammond is able to report remains have been found near the Jeep. Sheriff say Palmgren's ID is found in a purse near the remains and her cell phone was found inside the Jeep. A forensic team from Knoxville is called in to help recovery.