JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) — A man is facing charges after his sister woke up after two years in a coma and identified him as her attacker.
Wanda Palmer was left for dead in June 2020 after being attacked near Cottageville, West Virginia, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. She was in a coma until a few weeks ago.
“Massive massive amounts of head trauma consistent with a machete or hatchet type injury to the head,” Sheriff Ross Mellinger said. “She was unconscious at the time and has been virtually ever since.”
After waking up, she identified her brother, Daniel J. Palmer III, 55, of Cottageville, as the person who attacked her.
After two years of no answers, Mellinger said everything is now coming full circle.
“This about as rare as it gets,” Mellinger said. “I think it’s a true testament to the perseverance and strength and victim herself. And that’s really what it is all about. Being strong enough to persevere through something like this two years later.”
According to a criminal complaint, the Jackson County 991 center received a call on the morning of June 10, 2020, saying that Wanda Palmer’s neighbors had found her in her trailer home “injured and covered in blood.” Officers said they found her “slumped over on her couch” and that she was severely wounded and unresponsive.
Authorities described Wanda Palmer’s injuries as appearing that she had been “bludgeoned about the head and face with an object that caused lacerations.” She was taken to a hospital for treatment and was unable to tell investigators what had happened. The complaint said Wanda Palmer remained unresponsive and was later taken to a nursing home for care.
The complaint said Daniel Palmer had initially been considered a possible suspect because of a “previous violent history” between the siblings. Investigators said he denied being involved and said he had not been to his sister’s home for days prior to her attack.
However, the complaint states, that a witness told investigators spoke that they saw Daniel Palmer at the front door of his sister’s trailer about midnight on the night of the incident.
Investigators said they worked for months to eliminate possible suspects and generate leads, even as Wanda Palmer remained unresponsive and unable to provide them with any information.
Then, on June 27, the complaint said investigators got a call from Wanda Palmer’s caseworker that she had uttered “some single words” and was appropriately responding when asked questions.
On July 12, authorities went to the facility in New Martinsville, West Virginia, where she was being cared for to talk to her.
The complaint said a deputy went into her room and said she appeared to be oriented to the situation and gave coherent and relevant answers. During the interview, she told the deputy that the person who attacked her was her brother, Daniel.
He is charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding. He is being held on a bond of $500,000.