published Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Matthew Palmgren, co-worker terminated at BlueCross

Matthew Palmgren speaks at a brief news conference concerning his missing wife, Gail, at the Signal Mountain Recreation Department in Signal Mountain.
Matthew Palmgren speaks at a brief news conference concerning his missing wife, Gail, at the Signal Mountain Recreation Department in Signal Mountain.
Photo by Jenna Walker /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The husband of a missing Signal Mountain woman and a co-worker recently were fired from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee after a search for his wife caused workplace distractions.

BlueCross sent Matthew Palmgren a letter Monday informing him he was fired, said Lee Davis, a defense attorney who is representing him.

The letter, according to Davis, references the disappearance of Palmgren’s wife, Gail.

“Obviously, it cites the investigation. We’re not going to discuss the details at this point,” Davis said.

Palmgren’s 44-year-old wife was last seen April 30 when she dropped off the couple’s two children at their home, at 40 Ridgerock Drive.

Sources also said that Palmgren’s co-worker, Tammy Helton, manager of government product development for BlueCross, was let go for similar reasons. Helton’s divorce was finalized in February, and she has a new home in Batesville, Miss., sources said.

Helton, who has been consulting with defense attorney David Barrow, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, a source said. She has not returned numerous phone calls since early May.

BlueCross also cited misuse of company equipment and inappropriate email use for letting the employees go, sources said.

Matthew Palmgren, 40, was placed on leave last month from BlueCross, where he worked since July 2009 as director of pharmacy programs for its government business and emerging markets business unit.

He recently withdrew Chancery Court filings dated May 6 in which he attempted to legally separate from his wife and sought custody of their two children.

Before Gail Palmgren disappeared, she gave several hotel invoices to a friend. They show that Matthew Palmgren paid cash for hotel rooms locally at the Double Tree and Hampton Inn. Another hotel invoice places Matthew Palmgren at a hotel in Batesville, Miss., and shows that he also paid cash there.

In court records, Matthew Palmgren said his wife had access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in their accounts and was suffering from severe mental illness. He also claimed the children’s passports are missing.

Records show Signal Mountain police were called to the couple’s home to deal with arguments in the days and weeks leading up to Gail Palmgren’s disappearance.

As of Tuesday afternoon, authorities said Palmgren’s disappearance remains a missing person case. No evidence of foul play has been reported.

Matthew Palmgren said in an earlier interview that he hired a former Chattanooga Police Department investigator, Matthew Mathis, to find his wife.

“Mr. Palmgren, through our office, is cooperating in every way he can with this investigation to find Gail,” Davis said.

Diane Nichols, Gail Palmgren’s sister, said the situation has been “tragic” for everyone involved.

“We feel bad about everything that has happened. Our family continues to focus on finding my sister and on the wellbeing of the children,” she said. The Palmgrens have a 12-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl.

Gail Palmgren was last seen driving a red 2010 Rubicon Jeep with a tailgate tire cover that reads “Life is Good” and with a daisy painted on it. She also had a personalized Alabama tag — “EAZY ST.” The couple owns a home near Titus, Ala., on Lake Jordan.

She is 5 feet 8, weighs 135 pounds and has blonde hair and brown eyes.

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at or 423-757-6406.

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chet123 said...

i smell a rat....something is not right here....i say he knows her location!There may be a third party here....hmmmmmm

June 8, 2011 at 10:54 a.m.
Facts said...

Boil it down: Cheating husband is caught. Now, cheating husband is unemployed, caught, & is at fault for the outcome.

Our society glorifies and exploits sex. Now, we see a clear example of the impact on reality.

June 8, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
chet123 said... thst all you can thnk of?? MONEY! How about Gail Palmgren life. are pitiful!...There are children without a mother and all you can sympathy with is the husband PAY CHECK....BRO... DO YOU HAVE A SOUL?? ONLY A REPUBLICAN CAN BE THAT COLD!

June 8, 2011 at 1:37 p.m.

I feel that Matt & his lil girlfriend know where Gail is. Maybe they should start looking in MS!

June 8, 2011 at 1:54 p.m.
chet123 said...

Did you say practical hmmmmmm..

June 8, 2011 at 4:37 p.m.
chet123 said...

i have been on timesfreepress as a poster for about 3 months....i have yet to meet someone who will admit to be republican.....i think i'm being feed a lot of BS...Did Bush shame you that much....what/who are tea party? REPUBLICAN WHO SHAME TO ADMIT IT...BINGO!..THEY GOOSE STEP WITH GEORGE BUSH IN DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY...NOW THINK THEY CAN START OVER WITH A CLEAN creating another no no !.not so fast......

June 8, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
sangaree said...

"who's gonna hire him now? It's embarrassing to be fired so publicly"

Lib4 don't you think Palmgren should have considered the consequences before frolicking with a co-worker?

June 8, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.
chet123 said...

better call in TBI....signal mountain Police are like calling the KEYSTONE COPS!!

June 8, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.
thinkaboutitt said...

People who dispose of other people deserve no sympathy from anyone. He made his bed, er beds.

June 8, 2011 at 9:39 p.m.
NoMyth said...

There are cops on signal mountain? Seriously? Anyway, it is not looking good for Mr. Palmgren. His wife would only have given those receipts to a friend in response to fear for her well-being. BlueCross BlueShield is also to blame...for grossly overpaying people and providing cushy jobs (in exchange for financially raping their fellow countrymen)...they have created an environment where one does not have to work hard and has plenty of time to flirt at the water cooler and pursue affairs.

June 8, 2011 at 10:09 p.m.
dude_abides said...

How about some fresh reporting? Over and over you say she was last who? Was the husband home? Did he stay with the kids? Do the kids corroborate the story? Please, not the same old text over and over, with one bit of added info.

June 8, 2011 at 11:43 p.m.
chet123 said...

BCBS...they pass cost on to the customer premiuns....cosumer pay e for those big sarlaries! UNUM IS WORST than BCBS...UNUM TAKE EMPLOYEES(males and females together almost equally divided)) TRIPS TO FLORIDA..STAYING IN "FIVE STARS" HOTEL...spouses not wonder its hard to keep marriage together IN THOSE WORK PLACES.....that private business for you.DO WHAT EVER THEY WANT TO DO...AND THE HELL WITH YOU! Government wouldnt be so wastefuland blatant and in such the way where are the Government bashers.

June 9, 2011 at 8:45 a.m.
chet123 said...

Shhhhhhh..anybody seen a government basher..

June 9, 2011 at 10:25 a.m.
spendy said...

By what I read on the Chattanoogan a neighbor saw her drop off the kids & leave by herself. What that tells me is that any woman to walk away from her children is mentally unstable. I really don't think her husband has anything to do with her missing. I believe she's hiding out somewhere wanting him to "look" like a suspect for revenge of a broken heart. I believe she is alive & I hope she returns soon for the sake of her children & seeks help.

June 9, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
thinkaboutitt said...

Has a reward been offered? If someone was hired to make Gail disappear, or was involved in anyway, then a reward might induce them to come forward.

June 9, 2011 at 9:46 p.m.

She would never leave her kids. And both police dept ruled out her being mental unstable. And as far as matt goes I agree he made his bed let him lye in it . The kids are and will be taken care of.

June 12, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.
chet123 said...


June 17, 2011 at 7:20 p.m.

atruefriend..... people following this case know who you are.... its funny how you said Palmgren made is bed now lie in it... Who is going to take care of the kids? They have a father that has not been charged with anything. It sounds like you know of the true meaning of gail walking away... hmmm that kind of sounds scarey BTw you must be the queen of england since they facts have come out that gail was being treated by a doctor and on three meds for mental issues... not saying she is crazy because a lot of people have issues also

July 21, 2011 at 1:01 p.m.
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