Police request evidence two months into missing woman case - WSMV Channel 4

The Gail Palmgren Disappearance

Police request evidence two months into missing woman case

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Arlene Durham in an interview with Channel 3 Arlene Durham in an interview with Channel 3
Gail Palmgren. / family photo Gail Palmgren. / family photo
Matthew Palmgren. / Times Free Press Matthew Palmgren. / Times Free Press

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - A friend of missing Signal Mountain mother Gail Palmgren says authorities want her to turn over evidence in the case.

Arlene Durham, who saw Gail the day before she went missing, says Hamilton County investigators called her Wednesday demanding a hard drive taken from the Palmgren's lake house in Alabama.

According to Durham, Matthew Palmgren installed a high tech security system at the lake house in Wetumpka, Alabama last spring.

Durham claims Gail Palmgren took the hard drive from to the system to a Best Buy store to try to retrieve erased data showing an argument between the couple. She planned to use it as evidence in their divorce. Durham was instructed to pick the hard drive up the same weekend Gail Palmgren was last seen.

"She told me not to give it to anyone but her," said Durham, recalling a conversation with Gail the day before she went missing.

Durham says she notified investigators of the content on the hard drive days after Gail Palmgren went missing, but they did not take an interest in it. Now they want her to turn it over, nearly two months later.

"There might be incriminating evidence on it," said Durham in the phone interview with Channel 3, "but everything I've told them they have blown off, until now."

Durham claims when she contacted Signal Mountain Police about the hard drive she was told it was "not vital to the case". She says she also told them about a GPS installed in Matthew Palmgren's car that would help determine where Gail was when she went missing.

"I don't know who to trust up there," said Durham from her Alabama home.

"I'm a person of my word," said Durham, who says she won't hand the hard drive over without a subpoena, "I told Gail I wouldn't give it to anyone but her."

Durham says she worries if the hard drive falls into the wrong hands, the information could be deleted before anyone sees it.

Channel 3 contacted Janice Atkinson, spokesperson for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. She says investigators tell her they did call Durham Wednesday morning to request the hard drive, and have tried to make contact with her before. Atkinson would not say why law enforcement did not show interest earlier in the case.

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