Police: Palmgren case could turn criminal - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police: Palmgren case could turn criminal

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - First there were missing person flyers, then prayer meetings. Now the group hoping to bring Gail Palmgren home is offering a reward.

From the beginning the grassroots group has questioned if law enforcement is working as hard as they are to help find the missing mother of two.

"It seems like we are the only ones doing anything to help," family friend Maria Gallivan told Channel 3 in May.

Those same concerns have been expressed by those who know Gail Palmgren, and those who have only seen her story on the local news.

Authorities insist they are working aggressively on the case.

"There's been a lot of man power and a lot of man hours on this case," said Janice Atkinson, spokesperson for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Since announcing the agency was joining the case in May, nearly 3 weeks after Gail went missing, Signal Mountain and Hamilton County authorities have refused to answer any of Channel 3's key questions.

Atkinson says that is because a crime may have been committed.

"If it is a criminal case it's going to end up in court one day," said Atkinson, "and you don't want anything you do or say to come back and impact the outcome of the case."

Atkinson won't comment on leads, persons of interest or evidence. She will only say the investigation has turned up no signs of foul play.

"There's been no evidence of foul play, at this point," she said.

Matthew Palmgren has submitted DNA and consented to property searches. He has not been charged with a crime.

Still, he refused to answer any of our questions at the one, and only, news conference weeks ago.

Palmgren's attorneys have also refused on camera interviews, saying media attention is bad for their client.

Attorney Bryan Hoss agreed to take our questions by email Monday, but responded with an official statement that offered no new information or answers to any of our 13 questions.

"From day one, we have provided both the Signal Mountain Police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department with physical evidence, investigative leads, financial information, personal information, DNA samples, access to all of Palmgren's real property and face to face meetings with his investigator, Mike Mathis. As his attorneys, both Lee (Davis) and I have met with law enforcement and been in constant contact with them throughout this process. We will continue to assist and cooperate in the missing person investigation of Gail Palmgren."

While law enforcement won't say what they are doing, Atkinson says it comes with a hefty price tag. She was not able to provide a dollar amount, but says as many as eight officers have contributed to the case during property searches. Two detectives are assigned specifically to the case. She says those efforts will continue.

"As long as the leads continue to come in we are going to aggressively follow up on every lead," said Atkinson.

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