UPDATED: Missing woman's sister: "We need to act on her behalf"
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The family of a missing Signal Mountain woman has filed a restraining order against her husband.
The restraining order was filed in Hamilton County Chancery Court on Friday by Gail Palmgren's siblings, Kevin Nowacki and Diane Nowacki Nichols.
"Her assets and her children are her interests and we need to watch out for her," said Nichols in a phone interview with Channel 3. "We need to act on her behalf."
Nichols and Nowacki are asking a judge to appoint a legal guardian for Gail Palmgren's two children, someone other than their father. They also want restrictions on how far he can take them.
The document goes on to request a judge prevent Matthew Palmgren from disposing of his missing wife's belongings, making disparaging comments about her, and hiding or destroying "evidence".
Nichols says her two priorities are finding her sister and caring for her niece and nephew, ages 9 and 12.
"They must be going through quite a bit of trauma," she said, "and we are very concerned about their well being."
Nichols hasn't seen the children in more than a month, and says all visits have been supervised.
"They would not let me see the children just one-on-one," she said, "there would always be a member of Matt's family there at all times."
Nichols wants a judge to decide what is best for the children, until her sister is found.
As detectives continue looking for leads in the case, Nichols says she thinks back to the last conversation she had with Gail.
She told Eyewitness News hours before her sister was last seen, Gail begged her to call police while leaving the family's Alabama lake house. She wanted police at her Signal Mountain home when she arrived.
"They did have some marital problems," said Nichols, who says her sister never said why she wanted her to call police. "Maybe she was possibly seeing coming home and having some kind of confrontation with her husband."
Police called Gail at her sister's request, but details of that conversation haven't been released, not even to Nichols. She believes her Gail is still out there.
"If she doesn't want to go home I understand," said Nichols, "but she needs to reach out to somebody to let them know that she's okay."
Gail Nowacki Palmgren was last seen April 30. She was seen driving her crimson Rubicon Jeep with tire cover that says "Life is Good" and a personalized Alabama tag reading "EAZY ST". If you have seen Palmgren or her Jeep call Signal Mountain Police at 423-886-2124.
RESPONSE FROM MATTHEW PALMGREN'S ATTORNEYS:
Matthew Palmgren's attorney says his firm is "sensitive to the (Nowacki) family", but there are parts of the restraining order that are "not true".
Attorney Bryan Hoss would not comment on the specifics of the filing saying, "We are not going to argue about the merits of it in the media, we would rather do that in court."
Chancellor Frank Brown III is scheduled to hear from the attorneys on July 11, but Palmgren's attorneys are asking to move the hearing up. Both sides could meet in court as early as Wednesday.