published Saturday, December 3rd, 2011, updated Dec. 3rd, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.

Helicopters won't be used to take Palmgren's Jeep off mountain, sheriff says

Recovery personnel bring the first evidence bag from the Gail Palmgren crash site down from the side of Signal Mountain Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Recovery personnel bring the first evidence bag from the Gail Palmgren crash site down from the side of Signal Mountain Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Photo by Tim Barber.

Forensics technicians have removed what are believed to be the remains of Gail Palmgren from the Signal Mountain crash site, and authorities are in talks with wrecker services about hauling down her crushed Jeep Rubicon.

Military helicopters will not be used to remove the Jeep, Sheriff Jim Hammond said today.

Instead, authorities must use ropes and pulleys to get the vehicle down the side of the mountain, he said. That work will probably start on Sunday, he said.

But rain expected to start late Sunday could hamper the efforts. Showers are forecast to begin Sunday evening and continue until Wednesday.

Authorities had been talking with U.S. Army officials about using Army helicopters to airlift the vehicle, but that's not going to happen, Hammond said.

Palmgren disappeared April 30 after dropping her two children off at the family's Signal Mountain home.

Authorities said the remains will be taken back to the University of Tennessee’s Anthropological Research Facility, commonly known as the Body Farm, for further examination.

Using dental records and DNA testing, they’ll be able to determine whether the remains are Palmgren, although Hammond has said he’s “98 percent” sure it’s her.

Hammond said he expected to get a final ID sometime around the middle of next week.

Story developing, check back for more.

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mrsmusic said...

Re: "University of Tennessee’s Anthropological Research Facility, commonly known as the Bone Farm"

Good grief! Where on earth did you get the Bone Farm? It is known as "The Body Farm".

From the Wikipedia article: "The original "Body Farm" is the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility located a few miles from downtown off of Alcoa Highway in Knoxville, Tennessee, behind the University of Tennessee Medical Center. It was first started in late 1981 by anthropologist Dr. William M. Bass as a facility for study of the decomposition of human remains."

From a CNN article: "Nearly everything known about the science of human decomposition comes from one place -- forensic anthropologist William Bass' Body Farm."

December 3, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.
esaletnik said...

Well it looks like they changed it to body farm. But I believe you mrsmusic. Iv'e seen it happen before. They should a least post a note acknowledging your correction.

December 3, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

What I don't get is why they are having problems with getting this jeep off the mountain? The Army has CH-47 Chinook helicopters that have a lift capacity of over 20,000 lbs and can work in mountainous terrain, so I don't see what the problem is. I could be missing something however, so perhaps someone with more knowledge could comment here?

December 3, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
HollyKesley said...

RSchultz210, my husband is a former assistant crew chief on Army Blackhawk helicopters. He said that when you slingload something so large, the cable must be very short for stability. When they used to slingload Humvees, the Humvee was only a few feet below the helicopter. The helicopter obviously cannot hover directly above the Jeep where it is situated, so it would just be really unstable to try to drop a cable that far down to slingload the thing out.

December 3, 2011 at 1:31 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

Holly thanks for the explaination. I sort of thought it might be something to do with load stability or terrain(ie rotor clearance) but I wasn't sure. I knew the Chinook had 3 or 4 times the lift capability necessary to lift the jeep but since I'm not an expert I decided to ask instead of shooting my mouth off. Thanks again for your help. I would definately NOT want the job of roping that thing all the way down that mountain and I do NOT envy the poor schnooks who are going to have to do it.

December 3, 2011 at 1:57 p.m.
HollyKesley said...

Yeah, I think rotor clearance is the biggest thing. If they could just get the bird in a position to hover directly over the Jeep, it would definitely be the easiest course of removal. And I agree--I would NOT want to be one of those poor guys trying to wench or rope that thing off the mountain.

December 3, 2011 at 2:18 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

Oh Geez{sigh} "schnooks?" Sorry about that. No pun intended. :(

December 3, 2011 at 2:19 p.m.
LeahGeraghty said...

Thank you HollyKesley for sharing your expertise. I've learned quite a bit about search and rescue in the last few days.

December 3, 2011 at 5:01 p.m.
ditdahdit said...

Why not just leave the Jeep there? No sense in spending any more money on this recovery or risking injuries or death. It's obviously a terrible accident or suicide and nothing can be gained from this. Even if they found evidence of any paint trading, how could anybody prove who did it.

December 3, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
jamacquest said...

Ton's of information should be on the Jeep's computer, and odometer along with traded paints, and contents of items in Jeep or at the scene.

December 3, 2011 at 6:27 p.m.
Lr103 said...

The decision to not bring in military helicopter likely had more to do with the expense for such an operation, along with safety, than anything else.

December 3, 2011 at 6:57 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

I don't think they're going to be able to leave the jeep in situ and do proper forensics. Where it is, it's going to be too hard to do some of the tests that they're going to want to do. It's not going be easy to test a vehicle that's as squashed as this one is even in a lab. Just the thought of having to somehow get inside this thing to spray the interior with Luminal would be enough to discourage me to say nothing of dusting for fingerprints,etc.

December 3, 2011 at 9:08 p.m.
Jakethegeek said...

ditdahdit said...

Why not just leave the Jeep there? No sense in spending any more money on this recovery or risking injuries or death.

They want the Jeep so they can examine it for foul play, maybe someone wanted her to crash over the mountain side. Looking for such things as cut brake lines, bad steering or manufacture defects or even just poor maintenance caused the Jeep to crash!

December 4, 2011 at 3:57 a.m.
LibDem said...

ditdahdit, I agree. Drain the gas, remove the battery and personal items and abandon the vehicle. How much do we spend when there's no smoking gun? When you crash into a utility pole, how much forensic work is done on your car?

December 4, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
EagleEye69 said...

1 It is not taxpayer money if the vehicle had insurance it is on their dime. #2 After all the attention this case has had Law Enforcement will not settle for leaving the Jeep in place as it itself may be the "Smoking Gun".

December 4, 2011 at 10:46 a.m.
LibDem said...

(A little eye problem, EagleEye69?)

I'm sure insurance (which costs nothing) will cover all the costs. Nevertheless, when a car runs off the road and the driver is killed, there's no reason to suspect foul play. If this were a shooting death on Southern Street, would we expend this much time and money?

December 4, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

LibDem, I understand where you coming from on the cost issue. Spending as much time and effort as is going into this is costing SOMEBODY a lot of cash and the insurance company is going to nick somebody for it. Probably the customers. But what with all the media coverage and rumour mongering that's been going on, law enforcement is under pressure to find some explaination. Just be glad they're doing it the cheaper way since they can't get a chopper in there. The guys I feel sorry for are the poor SOB's who are gonna have to work in crappy weather we've got coming and have to winch that jeep down the side of that steep slope to the W road and get it on a trailer. I would NOT want to be them right now. :=)

December 4, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.
chet123 said...

THIS LADY LOST HER LIFE AND YOU CAN TALK ABOUT IS COST..Hmmmmm

December 6, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.
CaraVan said...

It would be so much simpler and safer to just use the army helicopters. I wonder why the army is not cooperating. With the heavy rains, the vehicle could very easily had slid down the mountain side and really hurt somebody. I hope they have insurance against that from happening. Jon - http://www.caravan-insurance-experts.co.uk/

March 5, 2012 at 10:32 p.m.
CruckleyCaravan said...

I'm sure insurance (which costs nothing) will cover all the costs. Nevertheless, when a car runs off the road and the driver is killed, there's no reason to suspect foul play. If this were a shooting death on Southern Street, would we expend this much time and money? Mike - http://www.cruckley.co.uk/

March 19, 2013 at 6:43 a.m.
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