The family of an army veteran is looking for answers after their loved one died in a Pennsylvania jail and his body was returned to them without a brain, throat or heart.
Everett Palmer Jr., 41, traveled from his home in Delaware to Pennsylvania on April 7, 2018 to resolve an outstanding warrant for a DUI charge.
Two days later, his family received the devastating news that Palmer had been arrested and later died in the York County Jail.
The county coroner had stated that Palmer ‘became agitated and began hitting his head against his cell door.’
The cause of death was eventually updated as ‘complications following an excited state, associated with methamphetamine toxicity, during physical restraint,’ Spectrum News reported.
The family hired their own pathologist, who determined Palmer’s death should be labeled a homicide.
Palmer Jr. graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. He later served in the Army as a paratrooper and was the father of two boys.
He was working as a personal trainer in Delaware at the time of his death.
His mother Rose Palmer does not believe her son became agitated. She and Everett’s brother Dwayne were even more disturbed when his body was returned to them after the coroner’s autopsy.
His body was badly bruised and his brain, heart, and throat were missing, they say.
Rose told Spectrum News: ‘My son was a perfectly healthy young man and my son is not going to bang his head on a cell.
‘My son was not a troublemaker, not at all, he was a very gentle, kind man. So, it’s nothing that he did in that prison that would warrant his death.
‘He even looked maybe intimidating to some people, but he wasn’t, he was the sweetest young man.’
The family subsequently hired a pathologist, who determined that Palmer’s death should be categorized as a homicide.
‘When we reached out to find out what happened to his organs, they initially lied. They directed us back to our funeral director and told us that we need to confer with them because they probably took the organs,’ Dwayne Palmer added.
‘We want to work with them to find out what happened,’ he said.
The family are also concerned by the coroner’s determination ‘methamphetamine toxicity’ being in his system.
They claimed this would mean that Palmer would have taken the drug while he was incarcerated.
The York County coroner and district attorney declined to comment to NY1 about the family’s questions or the case, saying state and local investigations are ongoing.
The family have created a Facebook page titled ‘Justice4Everett’ as they want to continue to highlight Everett’s death one year after his death.
They are also organizing events and remembrance vigils at their local church.
The Palmers have filed a notice of claim with a number of Pennsylvania agencies, preserving their right to sue, according to John Coyle of the firm McEldrew Young.
‘At this time we are respecting the criminal investigative process in hopes that the Palmer family’s questions will be answered and those accountable will be brought to justice.
‘That said, given the extended amount of time that has passed, the Palmer family grows increasingly eager to find answers.
‘We remain prepared to pursue this matter through all available legal channels,” Coyle and attorney Daniel Purtell told Spectrum News.
Another attorney claimed that brains and hearts are sometimes removed for autopsies, but not a throat.
‘Makes no sense, unless you’re trying to maybe avoid people knowing how he died; which was maybe by asphyxiation,’ Marlon Kirton of Manhattan said.