TEAM COVERAGE: Remains likely found of missing Signal Mtn. mom
(WRCB) - Sheriff Jim Hammond confirms human remains have been found near the Jeep of Gail Palmgren.
The Sheriff tells Channel 3, the remains were found about 100 yards from Palmgren's vehicle, but he has not confirmed they belong to Gail Palmgren.
Palmgren's red Jeep Rubicon was found several hundred feet down a steep cliff on Signal Mountain Thursday, just off East Brow Road.
Sheriff Hammond says personal items indicate the remains are that of the missing mom. A cell phone was found inside the vehicle and purse with ID was located nearby.
Hammond says a forensic team from Knoxville has been called to the scene to recover and positively identify the remains.
At this point, the Sheriff says they are trying to safely remove the vehicle. Hammond says they're unable to cut a trail to the wreckage, due to the steep terrain.
While forensic investigators work to positively identify the remains, the focus of the case turns to reconstructing what exactly happened on East Brow Road.
The Jeep Rubicon was found resting against an uprooted tree, and Hammond says the vehicle is severely damage, appearing to have rolled several times.
At first glance, the Sheriff says, it does appear the driver's seatbelt was not connected.
Palmgren was last seen leaving the family home at 40 Ridgerock Drive on Signal Mountain on April 30 in her ruby red Jeep Rubicon.
Members of the CUE Center for Missing Persons joined the search in late September, and say the fall foliage helped locate the Jeep within the first hour of Thursday's aerial search.
The following statement was sent to the Channel 3 Newsroom on behalf of Matt Palmgren:
"We have learned today that in addition to Gail Palmgren's Jeep being found below the bluff of Signal Mountain, human remains have been discovered near the site. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department has informed Matthew Palmgren of this development and of the notice for an autopsy this afternoon. It is with great sadness and profound loss that Matthew Palmgren, the Palmgren children and entire family come to terms with this tragic news. For seven months, Matthew Palmgren has assisted authorities in the disappearance of his wife, and he continues to cooperate in the aftermath of this missing person's investigation. It appears that Gail Palmgren lost control of her Jeep on East Brow Road on April 30, 2011 at approximately 12:25 p.m. As difficult as today's news is for everyone in the Palmgren family, Matthew Palmgren wishes to thank the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Signal Mountain Police Department, all emergency services, and all other law enforcement and volunteers who assisted in the search for Gail Palmgren.
We have been told that Gail Palmgren's personal belongings have been found at the scene. With the reality of what these developments mean, Matthew Palmgren and the Palmgren children will be reaching out to Diane Nowacki and the rest of Gail Palmgren's family to make arrangements for Gail's memorial service.
"We ask the community to give Matthew Palmgren and the Palmgren children the necessary space and time to deal with their loss and the proper respect for their family during this
extremely difficult time.
- Released by Attorneys Lee Davis and Bryan Hoss on behalf of their client, Matthew Palmgren"
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates as they become available.