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Father-In-Law Is 'Prime Suspect' In Murder Of Haverstraw Mother Of Two

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The hunt for the man suspected of killing his daughter-in-law in a Rockland County town will continue Tuesday morning after the search was suspended due to darkness Monday night.

The man suspected of killing 39-year-old Tammy Palmer, a mother of two, is her estranged father-in-law, 74-year old Eugene Palmer, who owned the property where she was found shot in the chest.

1010 WINS' Al Jones Reports


"He's our prime suspect right now," Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller told reporters, including CBS 2's Sean Hennessey.

Tammy Palmer's heartbroken mother, Violet Pannirello, is devastated and said a "part of me died today."

"She told me 'Mommy, don't worry I'll be alright.' I don't think she ever thought that this man would kill her," Pannirello told CBS 2's Hennessey.

Tammy Palmer's family said Eugene Palmer began a campaign of harassment after she took out an order of protection against her husband, John, barring him from the home where she was raising their two children.

"This morning she put the kids on the bus, I think she was hanging clothes. He went there, I guess they had an argument. Went to get a gun, killed her," said the victim's father John Pannirello.

"She's gone. She's resting. She's not scared anymore. It's so sad," Violet Pannirello said.

Eugene Palmer reportedly admitted to the murder. Palmer told a relative, "I just killed Tammy," 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported. Palmer stopped by his sister Elaine Babcock's home before fleeing, Jones reported.

"He just came in and said, 'Here's money to pay my taxes with, I've had enough. I shot and killed Tammy. Give me an hour to get away and then do whatever you have to do -- call the police...whatever you have to do,' and then he just took off," Babcock said.

Eugene Palmer
Eugene Palmer (credit: Handout)

Babcock said she called Haverstraw Police immediately, CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported.

WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reports


"The two of them had been aggravating each other, tormenting each other is more the word, for a couple of weeks," Babcock told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond. "When he came this morning, he told my daughter he'd had enough of the torment and he couldn't take it anymore so he said that he shot her."

Tammy Palmer's relationship with her father-in-law had grown increasingly ugly, culminating in a fight last week, according to relatives.

"My brother told me Tammy went after him with a log. Tammy says he went after her, tried to punch her," Babcock said.

Police had been called to the home for other domestic disputes, Diamond reported.

The crime scene is very near Harriman State Park. Police spent much of the day searching the park for signs of Eugene Palmer, even using helicopters. They are confident Eugene Palmer, a retired park ranger, is hiding somewhere in the park.

"He's lived here all his life, so he knows the woods better than any of us. He could be in the woods, but he left in his truck. He has relatives upstate, he could be upstate he could be anywhere," said Haverstraw Town Police Chief Charles Miller.

Police said Palmer is believed to be armed and dangerous.  Authorities said to call 911 if he is spotted.

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