Gail Palmgren: Accident or Murder?
Gail Palmgren is dead. That much isn’t disputed. How she died is not a mystery to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee. Her Jeep Rubicon careened off a cliff on April 30, 2011. At the time, investigators say she was going about 24 miles per hour. She wasn’t found until December 1, 2011. But not everyone believes this was an accident. Just hours before she died, Gail’s sister Diane Nichols called the Signal Mountain Police Department. At the time of her death, Gail was living in the Tennessee town and was driving back from the family’s lake house in Alabama with her 2 children. Shortly after Diane called, 911 was able to talk to Gail. Here are the transcripts from Diane and Gail’s calls. The date was April 30, 2011, just hours before Gail was killed. We’ll pick up with much more information in the coming days.
911: Signal Mountain Police Department. Hillary.
Diane Nichols: Yes, Julie?
Diane Nichols: Oh, Hillary, I’m sorry. I’m calling on behalf of my sister (Gail Palmgren). She’s down in Alabama. She lives on Signal Mountain. She asked me to give you a phone call. I just got off the phone with her. And for some reason, I really don’t understand what’s going on. All I know is there’s some kind of domestic dispute between her and her husband. She asked me to let the police department at Signal Mountain know that she is on her way home and that’s why I’m calling.
911: She’s on her way home where?
Diane Nichols: From Alabama, at, you know, her lake house, back to Signal Mountain. She lives on, I think it’s 40 Ridge Rock Road.
911: 40 Ridge wreck?
Diane Nichols: Rock. Ridge Rock.
911: Ridge Rock.
Diane Nichols: Road. That’s where she lives. She was coming from Wetumpka, Alabama. She’s leaving at 6:30 a.m.
911: OK Ridge Rock is that on Signal Mountain?
Diane Nichols: Yes.
911: The address we show here, the ranges go from 28 to 99. She lives on…
Diane Nichols: 40 is the address
911: 40. OK did she say how long it would take her?
Diane Nichols: She’s coming from Wetumpka, Alabama. I would guess about 3 hours. But I’m not sure. I’d have to put that into a Google Map to see how long of a distance that is. I don’t know if you have access to that.
911: Did she say why she wanted us to know that?
Diane Nichols: Um, apparently, she said that um…she’s not giving me much information. She’s, like I said there’s a domestic thing going on and all I know…I’m trying to stay out of it because, you know what I’m saying? I live off of New York and I don’t really know what’s going on down there. But I don’t know if she’s calling for protection. I don’t know if it’s something the police told her that she needed to bring her and the kids home. I don’t know. But she told me that, you know, that she wanted me to call the police department and let them know that she’s on her way.
911: OK, um
Diane Nichols: I doesn’t make sense to me. Nothing makes sense to me. I don’t know if you got a statement from yesterday that you can reference to. They were involved at their house yesterday.
911: Does your sister have a cell phone or anything?
Diane Nichols: She does. I can give you her number. She says her battery is getting low. It’s, let me see if I can look up the number.
911: What’s her name?
Diane Nichols: Gail Palmgren.
911: Can you spell the last name please?
Diane Nichols: P-A-L-M-G-R-E-N. I have to see if I can get her phone number because I don’t know it off the top of my head.
911: OK. Was she told to leave her home?
Diane Nichols: I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m really, you know, this thing is just really bizarre for me. It’s like since I’m not there and I’m not witnessing it’s a he said, she said thing. I’m not going to take sides. I mean I love my sister and I love my brother-in-law, but because I’m not there, you know, and I’m not witnessing anything other than a couple of things that I’ve encountered myself. I don’t really know the truth. So…The reason she’s not telling me a lot is she thinks that everything she says is being recorded. You know. (She thinks) he has some kind of system on everything. That he’s taping things, and that he’s, you know, because he’s locker her out of all her bank accounts and he locked her out of her AOL account and stuff like that. So she has no access to anything. That’s what I’ve heard, but see, I don’t even know…she’s just paranoid that everything she says is, that you know, he’s listening to. OK let me see if I can get her cell phone number. I’ve got my address book here. OK, I’ve got a cellphone number for her. 205-987…wait that’s not right. I’m sorry. That was their old phone number. It’s (redacted).
911: That’s her phone number?
Diane Nichols: Yeah, her name is Gail. OK, yeah so I just don’t know what to do. I’m at a loss. She has no family down there other than her children. I live in New York, my brother lives in Florida. And my parents are deceased. So I don’t know what to do.
911: OK what is your name?
Diane Nichols: My name is Diane Nichols. N-I-C-H-O-L-S.
911: I have this in the computer and I’ll give your sister a call and see what’s going on and see if she needs some assistance.
Diane Nichols: OK, thank you so much.
911: Alright, you’re welcome. Bye bye.
Diane Nichols: Bye
Seconds later, Joanne from 911 calls Gail
911: Is this Gail?
Gail: Yes it is.
911: OK this is Joanne from the Signal Mountain Police Department. Your sister called and said you needed some help.
Gail: My husband said, when I went by yesterday, because basically I needed basically a timeout from my husband and I was going to take the kids down to the lake house, and I didn’t want anybody to think I was kidnapping them I just needed to get away. He said that they wanted me back in like 12 or 14 hours, and I don’t remember them saying that, but..
911: Who said that?
Gail: My husband said the police told me that, but I don’t remember them telling me that. But, we’re headed back up to Signal Mountain. I just wanted the police to be aware where I am, where the kids are, and where we’re headed.”
911: OK, if you want to just give us a call when you get closer to your home if you need some help.
Gail: Ok. Thank you.
911: OK. Thank you.