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The family of a US Army veteran who died last year in Pennsylvania police custody are claiming he was murdered, according to published reports.
The last time relatives of Queens-born Everett Palmer Jr., 41, heard from him was in April 2018, when he said he was going to Pennsylvania to resolve an outstanding DUI warrant from two years earlier, the family said.
Palmer, a dad-of-two who lived in Delaware, was booked into a single cell at the York County Prison on April 7, 2018.
Two days later, he was dead.
“The most frustrating part is my son being murdered and not having any answers to how he was murdered,” Rose Palmer, Everett’s mother, said during a Tuesday press conference, according to CBS News.
“Since April 9, I have not had a good night sleep since I think about my child and the possible scenarios. It is torture. He didn’t deserve this,” she said. “He went there to check on his license and he never made it out.”
The family says that over a year later, they still don’t know the circumstances surrounding Palmer’s death.
They claim that when his body was returned to them, his throat, heart and brain were missing.
But York County Coroner Pam Gay said authorities told the family those organs were being held as part of the forensic autopsy for additional testing, according to the York Daily Record.
An initial autopsy said Palmer died during an incident where he became agitated because of a “methamphetamine toxicity” and started hitting his head against the inside of his cell and was restrained.
A probable “sickling red cell disorder” is listed as a contributing factor. Last July, the coroner’s office updated the results to say the manner of death was “undetermined.”
Investigations into possible drug-related deaths can take one to three years, Gay said, adding she’d ruled out suicide as a cause of death.
The family says Palmer did have some history of drug use but never meth and that he did not have sickle-cell anemia.
Family members are demanding answers about what happened during the 48 hours Palmer, a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, was in custody. They have called for a grand jury investigation into his death.