A West Virginia woman awoke from a two-year coma this week and identified her brother as the man who beat her so badly officials doubted she would survive.
Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger Daniel Palmer III had been identified as a suspect early on but investigators never had enough evidence to charge him, until Wanda Palmer woke up, WCHS reported.
“I wouldn’t have wagered a nickel for her life that morning, she was in that bad of shape. Quite honestly, she was unconscious, circling the drain medically. Massive, massive amounts of head trauma, consistent with some sort of machete or hatchet-type injury,” Mellinger said of the day neighbors found Wanda Palmer slumped over on her couch and called for help.
Two years and 17 days later, on June 27, Palmer’s adult services worker called a deputy and said she was speaking, just a word at a time, but she was making appropriate responses to questions. Deputies waited until this past Tuesday to travel to the nursing home where she was being cared for to talk with her.
One deputy went in to speak with her, writing in the complain against her brother that Wanda Palmer recalled living in a trail hear her mother’s home — and remembered that she’d been hurt there.
“She made mention of her head,” the deputy wrote.
She told the deputy that her brother had hurt her and then specifically identified Daniel Palmer as the brother.
“When asked why Daniel assaulted her, Wanda stated that ‘he was mean,’ ” the complaint said.
The deputy wrote that Wanda appeared “oriented” to her situation and that her answers to questions were “coherent” and “relevant.” “She asked for prayer,” the deputy said.
Deputies arrested the brother on Friday, the sheriff’s office said.
“We’ve been all over the state trying to eliminate suspects, develop leads, execute search warrants. This hasn’t been a stale case for two years but without any real credible information leading up to this. We had some persons of interest, but it takes some time to eliminate others and narrow it down and that’s kind of where we were at,” Mellinger told WCHS.
Daniel Palmer has been charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding, the sheriff said, and it took several hours for deputies to get him calmed down enough for his arraignment. In the end, the magistrate came to the jail for the hearing and ordered him held on a $500,000 bond.
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[Featured image: Left, Daniel Palmer III and Wanda Palmer/Jackson County Sheriff’s Office]