Police have called off the search in Harriman State Park for Eugene Palmer, ten days after he disappeared following the shooting death of his daughter-in-law.
Town of Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller said the hunt for the 73-year-old murder suspect will continue outside the park, but that his officers will no longer be put into the dangerous terrain within the park.
"We're not looking to go into the woods anymore until we get really credible evidence that he's still there," Miller said.
Officers have not been in the woods for the past two days, due to heavy downpours and dangerous conditions.
"It's a safety issue," Miller said. "It's not like we're walking just on trails, the search takes us off the trails. Now, it's wet and muddy and I don't want them to get seriously hurt."
"If somebody spots him or anything like that then we'll mobilize some guys and send them out again," Miller added. "We checked all the areas; we checked them more than once and we really haven't found any evidence that he's up there."
One of Eugene Palmer's sons, Clarence, has searched for his father daily, up to and including Wednesday, accompanied by a cousin, but has not turned up anything, according to Miller.
Despite the lack of evidence, Miller believes that Palmer, an avid outdoorsman, is still in the woods.
"I don't have any evidence to tell me he's not in there, either. No one has seen him getting into a car, there are no credible witnesses to say he's in another place," Miller said.
Palmer is wanted for questioning in connection with the death of 39-year-old Tammy Palmer, who was shot to death last week on Palmer's property on Willow Grove Road in Haverstraw. She had been living there while embroiled in conflict both with Palmer and with his son -- her husband -- John Palmer. There are two houses on the property.
Tammy Palmer was shot after she obtained an order of protection banning John Palmer from the property.
Detectives are in "constant contact" with the family and police are still checking out every lead they receive, Miller said. He said Palmer's medical records have been subpoenaed and that police are monitoring pharmacies in case Palmer tries to get a refill on a prescription medication he takes for diabetes.
Miller said searchers have found no additional clues since Eugene Palmer's truck was recovered last week.
The Palisades Interstate Park Commission issued a warning Monday, urging hikers to avoid the park's interior while the search continues. Palmer is believed to be armed and dangerous, police say.
During a funeral Mass on Saturday, Tammy Palmer was remembered as a loving mother devoted to her two children, Rosemarie, 16, and John, 12.
A Rockland County judge has given custody of the children to her parents while their father has been given permission to visit them several times a week.
Tammy Palmer's family believes she was killed because she had brought criminal charges of abuse against her husband and had rejected Eugene Palmer's insistence that she drop the charges, even when he threatened her.