In April 2018, Army veteran Everett Palmer Jr. turned himself in to Pennsylvania authorities to settle an arrest warrant related to a DUI charge. Two days later, his family was notified that Palmer was dead. Now, they are desperately fighting for answers so they can finally learn how a healthy man died in police custody over a DUI.
On April 9, 2018, Palmer, who was 41, was pronounced dead at a York hospital.
Everett Palmer Jr. served in the Army as a paratrooper and was the father of two boys.
"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," Rose Palmer, Everett’s mother told Spectrum News NY1.
According to a report from the York County Prison officials, Everett allegedly "became agitated and began hitting his head against the inside of his cell door." When he was eventually transported to the prison medical clinic, he fell unresponsive. Palmer was transported to York Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The county coroner concluded Everett died of "complications following an excited state, associated with methamphetamine toxicity, during physical restraint.” The coroner also stated a sickling red cell disorder might have contributed to his death.
What the coroner and prison officials have not said is how methamphetamines could have been detected in Everett’s system after her spent two full days in police custody.
After his death, Everett’s family hired an independent pathologist, who believes the Army vet was the victim of a homicide.
Another inexplicable issue facing the family is how Everett’s body was returned to them. When officials turned over the body to the Palmers, they noticed it was badly bruised, and his brain, heart, and throat were missing.
"When we reached out to find out what happened to his organs, they initially lied," Palmer's brother Dwayne Palmer told Spectrum News NY1. "They directed us back to our funeral director and told us that we need to confer with them because they probably took the organs."
Palmer's brother told reporters he also suspects Everett's death was a homicide.
A family attorney said while brains and hearts are sometimes removed for autopsies, it “makes no sense” for the throat to be removed.
"Makes no sense, unless you're trying to maybe avoid people knowing how he died; which was maybe by asphyxiation," attorney Marlon Kirton told NY1.
Although the Palmers are trying to maintain a cooperative relationship with authorities, they also filed a notice of claim preserving their right to sue.
"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," Pennsylvania-based lawyers John Coyle Coyle and Daniel Purtell said in a statement to NY1.
The family also created a “Justice4Everett” Facebook page.
"We want to work with them to find out what happened,” Dwayne Palmer told NY1.