On April 7, 2018, Everett Palmer, Jr., 41, an Army veteran, left his home in Delaware and headed to Pennsylvania to resolve an outstanding DUI warrant from an incident two years earlier. On April 9, family members were informed Palmer died while in police custody at the York County Prison.
They did not receive an explanation of what happened to their loved one. They also have not received an explanation of why Palmer’s body was returned to them minus his brain, heart, and throat.
The Initial Autopsy
Palmer’s initial autopsy report states he died after entering into an “excited state” and hitting his head repeatedly against the walls of his cell. According to the report, Palmer was suffering from methamphetamine toxicity at the time of his death, but his sickle cell anemia may have contributed to his demise.
However, his family claims he was not dealing with any health issues at the time of his death. They also said that while Palmer did use drugs at times, he was never known to use meth. There was no indication from the information on the processing report when Palmer entered the prison that he was under the influence of any substance.
The autopsy report states that Palmer was taken to the medical clinic in the early morning hours, where he was unresponsive. He was then transferred to York Hospital, where he was pronounced dead before 6 a.m.
As of July 2018, the York County Coroner’s Office listed the cause of Palmer’s death as undetermined. Suicide was ruled out as a cause.
Organs Not Missing
According to the York County Coroner, the organs are not missing. They were removed for additional testing for the forensic autopsy. The coroner, Pam Gray, says the organs are in the lab contracted by the Coroner’s Office to conduct tests. She says it’s not uncommon for a coroner’s office to lack a forensic pathologist on staff, and the work is then contracted out.
Gay also said Palmer’s throat was removed because investigators must know whether his death was related to asphyxiation. She adds that investigations into deaths related to drugs can take as long as three years.
The bottom line is that Palmer’s family just want to know what happened to him, and they are getting the runaround from police and prison authorities. A former Army paratrooper, Palmer was the father of two and described as a “gentle giant” by family members. He was not known to start trouble or fight with others.
A lawyer hired by the family wants to know what happened in that police holding cell. No reports or video of Palmer while in custody were released to the family. The lawyer wonders whether police applied a chokehold to Palmer.
The attorney says the family wants a thorough investigation, including the autopsy, but also including required reports about any physical contact in the cell, as well as the release of relevant videos. He said he is seeking justice for the Palmer family.
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