Woman wakes from 2-year coma, says brother attacked her

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JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) — A man is facing charges in connection with a 2020 attack that left his sister in a coma for two years.

Wanda Palmer (Photo Courtesy: Jackson County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Wanda Palmer was hacked and left for dead in June 2020 near Cottageville, West Virginia. The incident left her in a coma up until a few weeks ago.

“Massive massive amounts of head trauma consistent with a machete or hatchet type injury to the head,” said Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger. “She was unconscious at the time and has been virtually ever since.”

Now, Wanda Palmer is awake and she has identified her brother, Daniel J. Palmer III, 55, of Cottageville, as the person who attacked her. He has been charged in her attack.

After two years of no answers, Mellinger said everything is now coming full circle.

“This about as rare as it gets,” Mellinger said. “I think it’s a true testament to the perseverance and strength and victim herself. And that’s really what it is all about. Being strong enough to persevere through something like this two years later.”

According to the criminal complaint, the Jackson County E991 Center received a call on the morning of June 10, 2020, that Wanda Palmer’s neighbors had found her in her trailer home “injured and covered in blood.” Officers said they found her “slumped over on her couch” and say she was severely wounded and unresponsive.

Authorities described Wanda Palmer’s injuries as appearing that she had been “bludgeoned about the head and face with an object that caused lacerations.” She was taken to a hospital for treatment and was unable to tell investigators what had happened. The complaint states Wanda Palmer remained unresponsive and was later taken to a nursing home for care.

The criminal complaint states that Daniel Palmer had initially been considered a possible suspect due to a “previous violent history” between the siblings. Investigators say he denied being involved and said he had not been to his sister’s home for days prior to her attack. The complaint states, however, that a witness investigators spoke with claimed to have seen Daniel Palmer at the front door of his sister’s trailer around midnight on the night of the incident.

Investigators say they worked for months to eliminate possible suspects and generate leads, but Wanda Palmer remained unresponsive and unable to provide information in the case.

Then on June 27, according to the complaint, investigators received a call from Wanda Palmer’s caseworker that she had uttered “some single words” and was appropriately responding when asked questions.

Authorities say on July 12 they went to the facility in New Martinsville, West Virginia, where she was being cared for to speak with her.

The complaint says one deputy went into Wanda Palmer’s room at the facility to speak one-on-one and said she appeared to be oriented to the situation and gave coherent and relevant answers.

During the interview, Wanda Palmer told the deputy that the person who attacked her was her brother, Daniel.

He is charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding in her attack. He is being held on a bond of $500,000.

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