He died in a Pennsylvania prison cell after leaving home to visit his ailing mom in New York by way of Lancaster County where he went to settle a DUI warrant from 2016. When his family finally got his body, it was missing his brains, heart and throat.
Everett Palmer, father of two and Army veteran, left Delaware on April 7, 2018. Two days later, he was dead. On Tuesday, his mother, Rose Palmer, told a press conference at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Queens Village, "I think he was murdered. I think he was murdered.”
His family says they have been pressing officials in York County for information on how Palmer ended up in custody, what caused his death and why his body was returned with organs missing. They contend the coroner’s office and local officials have refused to release a detailed account of how he died.
“After 14 months, there has been no explanation to what happened to Everett Palmer,” said civil rights attorney Lee Merritt. “The information that we’ve been receiving, in a very piecemeal style, tells us that Everett Palmer was Tased, restrained, and outside factors; other persons involved in causing his death.”
“Most of the information in a recorded facility is available via video," Merritt said. "There is no reason that there should be an absence of a narrative like we have here, 14 months later.”
York County Coroner Pamela Gay said the 41-year-old Palmer died in a cell in York County Prison after he became agitated and began hitting his head against the cell door.
Gay revised Palmer’s cause of death in July 2018 to: “Complications following an excited state, associated with methamphetamine toxicity, during physical restraint; Contributory factor: probable sickling red cell disorder."
Merritt said a pathologist hired by the family found in October 2018 that Palmer’s brain, heart and throat were missing.
“They made inquiries, they weren’t given straight answers," Merritt said. "They later changed that and said the vital organs were in private facilities, We still have not had an opportunity to turn in the organs they say they do have for DNA testing.”
Gay’s office has pushed back against claims that the organs are missing, and told local media in York that she has been receiving threatening messages since the family took their case public to coincide with the anniversary of Palmer’s death.
“At no time were the remains ‘missing,’” Gay said in a statement Friday. “We did advise the family through their attorney at the time that the organs referenced, the heart, brain and throat, had been retained by FPA (Forensic Pathology Associates) for further investigation.”
Palmer’s family said Tuesday that he did not abuse drugs, and that he only took prescription medication for post-traumatic stress disorder.