July 18, 2022 – A West Virginia woman has woken up from a 2-year coma and identified her brother as her attacker.
Wanda Palmer, 51, was found unconscious with serious head injuries at her home in Jackson County in June 2020 and was placed in a long-term care facility while in a coma for 2 years, according to CNN.
She identified her brother, Daniel Palmer III, 55, as the assailant. He has since been charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding.
“After 2 years of being hospitalized and in a coma resulting from being attacked, hacked, and left for dead, Wanda Palmer is now awake to see her assailant in custody,” the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.
In 2020, police said they found Palmer in an “upright position” on her couch with severe injuries caused by what appeared to be a hatchet or axe. When police arrived, they thought she was dead but realized she was alive and breathing shallowly, Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger told CNN. The weapon still hasn’t been found.
After the attack, a witness reported seeing Daniel Palmer on his sister’s porch around midnight on the night that she was found, CNN reported. Police investigated several people, and he was listed as a suspect, but they couldn’t file charges.
“We had a little bit of an idea what happened, but the problem was with the nuts and bolts of the case. We had nothing to go on,” Mellinger told West Virginia MetroNews. “There [were] no eyewitnesses, nobody lived in the home, no surveillance footage, no cellphone records. There was virtually nothing there to move forward on.”
On June 27, Mellinger’s office received a call from Wanda Palmer’s long-term care facility, saying she had woken up from the coma and was able to communicate, according to The Associated Press. In a July 12 interview with a deputy, Palmer identified her brother as her attacker.
Palmer was only able to answer yes-or-no questions but gave enough information for police to arrest her brother, Mellinger told CNN. She is now coherent but can’t hold full-length conversations.
Daniel Palmer was arrested on Friday. He was arraigned and placed under a $500,000 bond. It was unclear Sunday if he had a lawyer, the AP reported.
“He didn’t give us any fight or anything,” Mellinger told MetroNews. “There was a little bit of surprise, but not entirely.”