Missing woman's husband wants custody hearing today

Missing woman's husband wants custody hearing today

June 29th, 2011 by Beth Burger in Local - Breaking News

Gail Palmgren. Contributed Photo

Attorneys for the husband of a missing Signal Mountain woman are asking that a chancellor hear a case involving the custody of the couple's two children today rather than on July 11.

Diane Nichols and Kevin Nowacki, siblings of 44-year-old Gail Palmgren, filed documents in Hamilton County Chancery Court asking that a legal guardian be appointed for the two children belonging to Matthew and Gail Palmgren.

Bryan Hoss, a defense attorney who represents Palmgren, would not state why they want the date moved to today.

"I'm not going into the reasons," he said.

A chancellor must review whether the hearing date will be changed, and it was unclear Tuesday night if that would actually happen today.

Nichols, who learned about the request to change the court date Tuesday evening, said they "aren't happy about the situation."

"My brother and I feel like we have to protect my sister's interests. That includes her assets and the children."

She said she had planned to be in Chattanooga on July 11 for the scheduled date.

Gail Palmgren was last seen April 30. No one has heard from her since. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is investigating her disappearance.

The order filed by Nichols and Nowacki asks that the children not be taken out of state or more than 100 miles from their Signal Mountain home and that a guardian other than Matthew Palmgren be appointed.

The order also asks that the children get visitation with Gail Palmgren's family members.

According to neighbors, the children have been kept isolated and under close supervision.

Nichols said she has only been able to see them a few times. She has emailed the children, she said.

"I just wish I could talk to them more freely," she said.

Matthew Palmgren recently reached an agreement with investigators to have the couple's properties searched for evidence that might lead them to her.

Shortly after Gail Palmgren went missing, he filed for a legal separation, custody of the children and exclusive use of the couple's home. He later withdrew the motions on June 1.