Divers check river for missing Signal Mountain woman's Jeep

Divers check river for missing Signal Mountain woman's Jeep

May 25th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Detective Ed Merritt, left, and Deputy John Scruggs prepare to dive Tuesday to search for a missing Signal Mountain woman's vehicle near the Suck Creek boat ramp. Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press


Gail Palmgren was last seen driving a crimson-red Jeep Rubicon with a black tire cover that says "Life is Good" in the shape of a daisy and a personalized tag reading, "EAZY ST." She is 5 feet 8, weighs 135 pounds and has blond hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information can contact Signal Mountain Police Department at 423-886-2124

There was a 30- to 40-year-old car resting on the muddy river bottom. The bed of an extremely old pickup was spotted.

But there were no signs of a missing Signal Mountain woman's crimson-red 2010 Rubicon Jeep under the surface of the Tennessee River near the Suck Creek boat ramp.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office dive and marine units searched the area Tuesday morning, using sonar equipment and divers to cover the quarter-mile area near the boat ramp which has historically been a watery grave for stolen vehicles.

Investigators went to the site in hopes of finding the vehicle of 44-year-old Gail Palmgren, who was last seen April 30 when she dropped her two children off at her home.

Despite family members and friends blanketing the area with fliers of Palmgren's description, no one has heard from or seen her.

"We didn't see anything we could dive for," said Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Deputy John Scruggs after spending about two hours using sonar equipment to look for signs of the Jeep.

The equipment allows authorities to see the length, height and overall image of the vehicle with enough detail to see tires on a car, he said.

Despite no signs of Palmgren's Jeep, divers entered the water.

"We want to be very, very thorough," he said. "We can see a better image as we go."

The area was searched to eliminate the location as a possible site for Palmgren's vehicle. No specific evidence led authorities to the spot, according to investigators.

There are plans also to dive and search areas of Lake Jordan, Ala., where Palmgren and her husband own a lake house.

Signal Mountain police were called twice to domestic arguments at the couple's home in the weeks before Palmgren went missing.

Matthew Palmgren, Palmgren's husband, has since filed motions in Hamilton County Chancery Court seeking a legal separation of the couple, exclusive use of the house and custody of their children.

A ruling is expected June 3.