A West Virginia woman has defied the odds and awoken from a coma — a coma that she now says her brother caused.
In June 2020, police arrived to the residence of Wanda Palmer in Cottageville, West Virginia, and discovered Palmer, then 49, sitting upright on her couch, bloodied and unresponsive. She had clearly been the victim of a violent attack. Her wounds were so severe that authorities initially believed she was dead, but they soon discovered that she was still breathing. Barely.
“I wouldn’t have wagered a nickel for her life that morning, she was in that bad of a shape,” Sheriff Ross Mellinger said. “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.”
The weapon used in the assault has never been found.
Though authorities have long had their suspicions about who allegedly attacked Palmer, they never had any concrete evidence to arrest their suspect.
“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 added. “There was no eyewitnesses, nobody lived in the home, no surveillance footage, no cell phone records.”
On June 27, more than two years after Palmer was attacked, her adult protective services worker contacted the Jackson County West Virginia Sheriff’s Department to inform them that Wanda had awoken from her coma and that she was able to communicate, despite suffering some brain damage.
When police spoke with Wanda, they say that she made it clear that she knew the identity of her attacker and that it was her brother, Daniel Palmer.
Right now, Wanda mainly communicates by answering “yes or no” questions, but even with those verbal limitations, she was still able to give a basic summary of the events on the night she was attacked. She said that she remembers being in her trailer when her brother injured her in the head.
Wanda’s statements to police corroborate an eyewitness report, which stated that Daniel Palmer was on Wanda’s porch around midnight the night before she was discovered by police.
Daniel Palmer III, 55, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding. He has been arraigned and is being held in South Central Regional Jail on a $500,000 bond.
The sheriff’s office celebrated the arrest in a Facebook post:
“ARRESTED….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 – her brother, Daniel Palmer. Daniel Palmer is charged with Attempted Murder and Malicious Wounding following the June 2020 incident near Cottageville. Continued prayers for the victim please.”
Police said that Wanda Palmer and her brother had a “violent history.” When they asked her why he would have attacked her, she replied, “He was mean.”