Category Archives: Domestic Violence

Gail Palmgren: Accident or Murder?

Gail Palmgren

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?

911: Hillary.

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

Gail: Hello?

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.

A Sister’s Undying Love: Cassandra Cales on Stacy Peterson

Cassandra Cales (left) and missing sister Stacy Peterson.

Four and half years ago, Stacy Peterson made a late morning call to her family. That was the last anyone has heard from her. Despite extensive searches, no trace of her has been found. Her husband, Drew Peterson now resides in the Will County Adult Detention Center in Joliet, Ill. Not for anything to do with Stacy, however. He’s there awaiting trial for the murder of the wife before Stacy, Kathleen Savio. Two years ago, Stacy’s sister Cassandra Cales posted this on the family’s website:



We have given up hope in finding Stacy alive however we have never given up hope in bringing her home, putting her to her final resting place and fighting for the justice she deserves. 

There is still an ongoing investigation with the Illinois State Police District 5. I Cassandra Cales and other members of the family continue our own searches and investigations. Some of you may think that because our searches have not been made public, or because I don’t make public statements, that we are not actively moving forward. As I stated in the beginning I would not stop searching until I find  Stacy, I am and will continue to look for Stacy, following all leads until I bring her home.  

Shortly after Stacy’s disappearance, I got the chance to talk with Cassandra. Here, from 2007 is that story.

Cassandra Cales

She has become the public face of determination.  Her strength and devotion have rallied others for one common goal–to find her sister, Stacy Peterson.  Twenty-two year old Cassandra Cales lives each minute of every day working herself to exhaustion trying to find Stacy.  While she’s athletic and physically strong, her heart aches with a pain no one can comprehend.  Stacy and Cassandra were very close–constant companions whether in person or on the phone.  They were soul sisters to the core.  Now Cassandra feels the worst has happened.  Her sister, just a year older than her is gone and Drew Peterson, a rogue cop, a disgraceful cop human being and also Stacy’s husband is behind it.

News reports in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, Ill., show Cassandra trying hard to be strong.  Marching from the home of Drew Peterson’s former wife’s home, a wife who died under suspicious circumstances, to the home of Stacy, Cassandra stayed strong.  Cameras continued to roll when she broke down.  She didn’t want the world to see her tears.  But there they were.  The raw emotion of a sister on a mission.  A sister, everyone should be so lucky to have.

“She was so precious to me,” Cassandra said.  “He took her away from me and it’s tearing me up inside.”

Drew Peterson

That “he” is Drew Peterson.  As Cassandra cried, he would clown around in front of TV cameras joking about the weight he’s lost since Stacy left.   He’s considered a suspect in Stacy’s disappearance.  His previous wife’s death is now also being re-investigated.

“She’s the only one in the world I loved more than anything,” Cassandra told me.

Stacy and Cassandra were close throughout their lives.  “We were all we had when we were growing up.  We were best friends.  And after Tina passed away, we made a pact that no matter what, we’d be together.  Through thick and thin and always be there for each other.”  Tina Ryan died of cancer last year at just 30.

And they never strayed from that pact.  When Cassandra was in the hospital in her teens, Stacy would be with her everyday.  When Stacy married, they remained close.  “We’d talk several times a day by phone and see each other every other day or every couple of days.”  Stacy has two children two-year old Lacy and 4-year-old Anthony. She also adopted her husband’s two boys.  She doted on all the kids and would never leave them willingly.

That’s how Cassandra knew something was wrong October 28.  She filed a missing person’s report after not getting her daily phone call from Stacy.  Her husband claimed she’d run off to Jamaica with a boyfriend.  Nobody believed that.  Searches began and continue with Cassandra a big part of them.  So far, no leads.

Cassandra spends her days now printing fliers, searching and using the internet to get the word out about her sister.  And she spends a lot of time crying.  She can’t even see Stacy’s kids at the moment.  “I called to see if I could have them for Thanksgiving and over night and he said no.”  That’s pretty rough considering the kids look at her as their favorite “aunty.”

Last week, she posted a blog.  She called it “A Sister’s Love!” and no one could write it any better.  Here’s a portion of it.  The rest can be found on the Myspace page she created for Stacy.

I just wanted to tell you all that it really touches my heart to see you all sending me and my family your love and prayers. I know I’ve been doing my best to try and stay strong. But I truly believe it is you all that are lifting me up with your prayers and messages you send me. So let me tell you about my sister Stacy Ann Cales (I don’t consider her a Peterson) she was the most wonderful person you could ever meet. She could walk into a room with people she didn’t know and bring a smile to everyone’s  face. Granted I could do the same. Which is why we were so close, we did everything together, from the time we were lil taking baths together til just 2 1/2 weeks ago just hanging out and being there for each other. When one of us was down for whatever reason we would be there for each other. She would always call me a bunch a times a day just to see how my day was going and how I was feeling, and tell me how my lil nephew’s and niece were doing….When we would be in her Denali (SUV) with all the kids me and Stacy would sing all loud and goofy, to embarrass Thomas and Kristopher. They would laugh and giggle thinking we were crazy. But we just liked to have fun, and make others have a good time. Me and her were two pea’s in a pod, that I thought could never be split apart.  I have to say that this is the worst pain I’ve ever felt, I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. From this great tragedy comes great strength. I will not stop looking for my sister until she is found. She would have done the same thing for me. God lets everything happen for a reason, so all we can do is keep praying and let him guide us to her. It’s only a matter of time before we do find her. Thank you all for being here for me through these harsh times. It really means a lot.

“I look at her pictures everyday and tell her I love her,” Cassandra told me.  “And I tell her I won’t give up.”

Statutes of Limitations: New York, Mississippi, Illinois

Just for the heck of it, here are some statute of limitations in a few states.

“Statutes of limitations” are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a “civil” lawsuit, like a personal injury lawsuit, or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the legal claim or crime involved in the case, and they’re different from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in a car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As a general rule: Read the rest of this entry

Corrections to the Lacey Gaines Story

Getting things right is what we strive to do but from time to time, some misinformation gets through. Usually it’s not done intentionally, it’s the way memories work or stories passed down getting a little tweak here or there. In any case, Lacey’s mom Gilda Gaines, who reads here, let me know what the discrepancies are. And here they are for you. Read the rest of this entry

Piecing the Puzzle Together: Why Was Nikki LaDue January Murdered?

Nikki and son Zack

For the past couple of months, we’ve all been taken on a journey of Nikki LaDue January’s life and her murder on July 29, 2002. A very unscientific poll here says many of you believe Phil January, her husband was involved. A distant second is someone who was supposed to be her closest friend Nancy Burge.

I don’t think there is any evidence that can put the gun in Phil’s hands. After talking to him and reading all the reports, it is my opinion, and my opinion only that law enforcement needs to open this case and look long and hard at Phil January. An equally hard look needs to be taken at Nancy Burge whose statements after Nikki’s death are not one of a friend at all but of someone who is either covering her tracks or the tracks of an accomplice. There’s no doubt in my mind Nikki was murdered and these two need to step up and tell the truth. Read the rest of this entry

Did Domestic Violence Play a Role in Lacey Gaines’ Murder

Lacey Gaines

Lacey Gaines was murdered on December 7, 2009 in her rundown apartment in Justice, Illinois. While speculation has run rampant about who did it, there are still no suspects. She did have a child with a boyfriend who she later told people physically beat her. Daniel Rogelio Sanchez, Lacey told friends, co-workers, family and social workers beat her frequently leaving her bruised and battered. Would someone already predisposed of violence take it up to the next level–to murder? Prisons are filled with men who’ve done just that. Does that mean Daniel was involved? Not necessarily. Let’s assume he wasn’t. Had there been no violence and they stayed together, it’s possible Lacey could be alive today. But that wasn’t the case. Far from it. As a result, she was constantly on the run, forced to make bad decisions and could have put her in contact with people of questionable character and possibly even her killer. Read the rest of this entry

Haley Barbour Says “F#@k You” Mississippi

I hate politics and Haley Barbour just gave me 200 more reasons why. The former governor of Mississippi, who frankly reminds me of Boss Hogg in “The Dukes of Hazzard” tried to sneak out of the governor’s mansion after freeing 200 criminals including murderers, rapists, wife beaters and child molesters. My friends in Mississippi, I don’t have to tell you that your state already has a kind of bad reputation…undeservedly I have to add as I know quite a few people there…but a reputation of being uneducated, cross-burning hicks. And Haley Barbour just put an exclamation point on that reputation. This clown of a politician is now working for the Butler Snow Laws Firm.  “Governor Barbour and his former chief of staff Paul Hurst are tremendous assets for our firm, and we are excited to have them as part of our team,” Butler Snow Chairman Donald Clark Jr. said in a news release. “Their leadership during some of the most difficult times in our state’s history is unprecedented. We are fortunate that this legacy of leadership and innovation will continue at our firm, and both our team and our clients will benefit greatly.”  And there you have it. More lawyers shoveling out the bullshit.  You can see the entire list including pardons he’s done since 2004 on the Mississippi Secretary of State website. But in a nutshell, here is the hell he has let loose on victims and likely soon to be victims alike. Just a sampling of names, crimes and release dates. It reads like a Mexican jail break. Read the rest of this entry

Updates coming…

Traveling around the country may sound glamorous but it takes a toll on you! I’m back and finally recovered. Lots of updates coming up this week including more from the interview Phil January, husband of Nikki LaDue January who was murdered in Pass Christian, Mississippi back in 2002, with a private investigator. Poll results show an overwhelming belief that Phil knows more than he’s saying. Also coming up, more on the 2009 murder of Lacey Gaines in Paradise, Ill., including a social worker’s contacts with Lacey shortly before she died. Read the rest of this entry

Mystery Letter: Justice Police will Never Find Lacey Gaines Killer

Lacey Gaines

Lacey Gaines was brutally murdered by someone police say she probably knew. Her death in December 2009 took place in her apartment. No signs of forced entry or even a struggle were found.

Two days later, a letter was sent to victim advocates Robin Sax and Susan Murphy Milano. Lacey had reached out to both women while she was being abused by her former boyfriend Daniel Sanchez.  The letter was unsigned and begged police to keep his/her name out of this out of fear from the people mentioned in it. There are some very serious allegations made in this letter which was sent to police by Lacey’s Aunt Cherry Simpson. I am only including some of the parts of the letter. Other parts, the writer wrote, would identify them to people potentially involved with Lacey’s murder. Here are some excerpts. Sunset Lakes Apartments is where Lacey lived and where she was murdered. She worked for the management company of the apartments at one point. Read the rest of this entry

What Did Lacey Gaines’ Former Boss Know?

Lacey and her son Conor the year she died.

Lacey Gaines was murdered December 7, 2009 in Justice, Illinois. That much we know. What else is there? She was abused by her ex-boyfriend and the father of her son Conor, Daniel Sanchez. She said he smashed her head through a wall at least once. We know she worked at the Kingsberry Waffle House in Flossmor, Ill. where she made friends and confided in some about not only her abuse, but her relationship with restaurant manager Jimmy Mantas. From the Desplaines Valley News in December 2009, written by James Pluta (who I owe a phone call too! I promise to get to that this week) Read the rest of this entry