Tammy Palmer slaying: Cops end Day 6 of manhunt; victim laid to rest

The casket of Tammy Palmer, 39, is carried

The casket of Tammy Palmer, 39, is carried out of St. Gregory Barbarigo Catholic Church in Garnerville after the funeral Mass. The mother of two was shot to death, allegedly by her father-in-law, 73-year-old Eugene Palmer of Haverstraw. He remains at large. (Sept. 29, 2012) (Credit: John Meore)

Ten officers finished up Day 6 of the search in Harriman State Park for slaying suspect Eugene Palmer Saturday night, just hours after shooting victim Tammy Palmer, his daughter-in-law, was laid to rest.

The officers scoured the forest from about 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, said Town of Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller.

"We're done in the woods for the night," Miller told Newsday Saturday evening. "We just wanted to check some of the places we already checked because we were told there was some sort of hut or a root cellar he could be hiding out in, but [there was] nothing."


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Patrol cars will continue to monitor the perimeter of the park throughout the night in case Eugene Palmer, 73, shows up.

Sunday, the officers will convene around 8 a.m. to check areas around Eugene Palmer's home, Miller said.

"If the weather is halfway decent tomorrow morning, I'll send a team to one more area to check where we haven't got to yet."

The life of Tammy Palmer, the 39-year-old mother of two who was gunned down Monday, was celebrated Saturday morning in a funeral Mass filled with singing, piano music and heartbreaking moments of uncontrolled sobbing.

"We trust that God is going to make all things right," Father Joseph LaMorte told a congregation of about 150 family and friends who gathered at St. Gregory Barbarigo Parish in Garnerville.

One simple floral arrangement was placed near the closed, chrome-trimmed pewter-gray casket as the presiding priest spoke of Tammy Palmer's "tragic, untimely death" and her new life in paradise. He also called for everyone to remember the sister and parents of the slain Haverstraw resident in their prayers and with visits because in the days ahead, "there will forever be that absence, that yearning."

Palmer was gunned down Monday in front of her home. The primary suspect in the slaying -- Eugene Palmer --  is considered armed and dangerous.

While Father LaMorte acknowledged that the mourners came to the service with "a wide range of emotions" that included hurt, confusion, betrayal, grief and especially anger, he said the mission now was to focus on the "promise of God."

"My task is to ask you all to lay it aside," said LaMorte, in reference to the intense feelings generated by the slaying.

After the service, neighbor Peter Bevilacqua said that "life goes on." But he added, "Tammy was a great girl, a beautiful person. She loved her kids dearly."

Tammy Palmer leaves behind her daughter Rosemarie, 16, and a son, 12-year-old John. Another neighbor, 14, said that she and other friends are determined to support the family. "I'm gonna be there for them," said the teenager as she wept.

Both children are now in the care of their maternal grandparents after a Rockland judge on Thursday awarded the couple temporary custody. Their father, John Palmer, is being allowed to see his children several times a week.

Two Haverstraw police cars were stationed outside the church during the service.

Police hope Eugene Palmer, who they believe could be squatting in one of the buildings around the park, will surrender after nearly a week on the run.

Friday, dozens of teary mourners flocked to a Garnerville funeral home to pay their respects to Tammy Palmer, including Rosemarie Palmer's teachers and classmates from North Rockland High School.

Tammy Palmer's family said she had a dispute with Eugene Palmer over criminal charges against her husband for alleged domestic abuse that the older Palmer wanted her to drop.

As for the length of time that Eugene Palmer, a diabetic, could sustain himself in the woods, Miller said, "It could be a long time." Investigators have Eugene Palmer's cellphone, which he left behind in his house, but are waiting for a judge to grant them permission to look through it, according to Miller.

The police chief downplayed reports that Eugene Palmer might have headed for the Adirondacks, where he has a hunting cabin.

"I still believe he's in the woods here in Harriman," Miller said. "Could he have gotten out and gotten a ride 200 miles up there? It's doubtful, though possible."

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