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Crime News Cold Cases

Who Is Eugene Palmer, The Fugitive Accused Of Fatally Ambushing His Daughter-In-Law Before Disappearing Into The Woods?

Eugene Palmer allegedly watched from the woods as his son's wife dropped their kids off at the bus stop before opening fire with a shotgun in 2012. His case was revisited on the newly relaunched "America's Most Wanted."

By Gina Tron
Eugene Palmer Pd

One of America’s most wanted fugitives is back in the public eye after being featured on the newly rebooted "America's Most Wanted" series.

Eugene Palmer is accused of murdering his daughter-in-law Tammy Palmer, 39, on Sept. 24, 2012 after her marriage to his son began to crumble.

Both Tammy and Eugene lived on the same parcel of land in Stony Point, located in New York's Rockland County. While Tammy and Eugene’s son John shared two children, they were no happy family. 

“According to the Haverstraw Police Department and the FBI, Eugene Palmer developed a strained relationship with Tammy Palmer as her marriage to Eugene’s son deteriorated,” the FBI noted. 

Before her slaying, Tammy had obtained an order of protection against her husband, a move that supposedly enraged Eugene, according to “America’s Most Wanted,” which relaunched Monday.

Tammy had just walked her children to the school bus stop when her father-in-law, who'd been hiding in the woods with a shotgun, allegedly ambushed her, according to authorities. As she walked back toward her home, Eugene “allegedly shot at her from a distance, striking her arm and then missing her with a second shot. The third, fatal shot was delivered at close range to the victim’s chest," the FBI stated.

Eugene, who would now be 81, was last seen entering New York’s Harriman State Park, a wooded 45,000-acre state park that borders the family property, after the shooting. His truck was found at the park abandoned. While search dogs followed his scent to a campground in the woods, they lost the scent at another roadway in the park, according to the FBI.

Before he vanished, he allegedly went to his sister's nearby home, confessed to the murder and explained that he had left money behind to pay his taxes, local outlet Lohud.com reported in 2019. Palmer's immediate family members believe he died after wandering into the woods, explaining he required medication for a number of health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. But investigators have never found any remains. 

Eugene was added to the FBI’s Top 10 Fugitive List in 2019 and a reward of up to $100,000 was offered to anyone who could help with his capture.

John Ferracane, the showrunner for “America’s Most Wanted” told Oxygen.com on Tuesday that the list is “a notorious collection of some of the worst offenders out there.” He added that in the reboot, producers wanted to feature one of the FBI’s “highest priority cases.”

“This is one that the FBI really wanted our help on,” he said. “They feel it’s really solvable.”

Back in 2019, FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson explained the bureau's thinking to Iohud Journal News.

"If we thought he was dead we wouldn’t have put him on the TMW list, and we don’t have any information to suggest he may be dead," she said.

Haverstraw Police Det. Michael Cruger told the FBI that year that locating Eugene has been a priority for the department.

“I want to bring the family closure. It hit me hard that we couldn’t capture him before Tammy’s mother passed,” he said. “It’s unfinished for us.”

“America’s Most Wanted,” using age progression and other technology, created an avatar of what Eugene could look like now. They pointed out that when he was last seen he was wearing an Abraham Lincoln-esque beard. They said he was known as an avid outdoorsman. He has a deformed and lumpy left thumb. 

Palmer was mostly bald with some grey hair when he vanished. He has brown eyes, stood at 5’10” tall and weighed about 220 pounds.

Tips can also be submitted at tips.fbi.gov or at AMWTIPS.com. You can also call 1-833-3-AMW-TIPS, the local FBI office at 212-384-1000 or the Haverstraw police at 845-354-1500.

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