In the hours before the car crash that took her life, Gail Palmgren called Signal Mountain police to inform them that she and her children were returning home from Alabama, where she was having a "timeout" from her husband, 911 recordings show.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond announced last week that the investigation in the 44-year-old Signal Mountain mother's death was closed after determining her seven-month disappearance and death were a result of nothing more than a "tragic accident."
The April 30 phone calls, obtained by WRCB-TV Channel 3 from the Hamilton County 911 Center, reveal Palmgren wanted to make sure authorities knew she was not "kidnapping them" after she took them to the family's lake house in Wetumpka, Ala.
Palmgren went to the lake house after police responded to one of a series of domestic disputes she had with her husband, officials say.
The calls show that Palmgren's sister called Signal Mountain police to share her sister's concerns, and a dispatcher contacted Palmgren shortly after.
"I needed basically a timeout from my husband and I was going to take the kids down to the lake house, and I didn't want anybody to think I was kidnapping them," Palmgren explains to the dispatcher during the call.
"I just needed to get away. He said that they wanted me back in like 12 or 14 hours, and I don't remember them saying that, but -- ."
At this point the dispatcher interrupts to ask who told her that.
"My husband said the police told me that, but I don't remember them telling me that. But, we're headed back up to Signal Mountain. I just wanted the police to be aware where I am, where the kids are, and where we're headed."
At that point the dispatcher tells Palmgren to call the station again if she needs assistance.
Palmgren thanks the dispatcher before hanging up. Several hours later Palmgren dropped the children off at their Signal Mountain home, and almost 20 minutes after that, Palmgren's Jeep careened over the edge of East Brow Road, traffic investigators say.