Man accused in attack after sister wakes up from 2-year coma mysteriously dies after he was arrested

ByJean Casarez, CNN
Monday, July 25, 2022
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A twist in the case of a West Virginia woman who woke up from a two-year coma, and said her brother was the one who attacked and nearly killed her.

JACKSON COUNTY, West Virginia -- A twist in the case of a West Virginia woman who woke up from a two-year coma, and said her brother was the one who attacked and nearly killed her.

Police arrested the brother, Daniel Palmer III, last week. However, just days later, he died.

Daniel, who was charged in the brutal attack of his sister Wanda Palmer, was said by law enforcement to be uncooperative as they tried to get him to jail after an initial court proceeding.

Now, officials say he is dead.

Daniel died Thursday night in a hospital after being in jail for five days.

Palmer, of Jackson County, West Virginia, was charged with the attempted murder of his sister Wanda in 2020 after he allegedly bludgeoned her with a hatchet or ax in the head and face.

It was Wanda's mother who called 911 after it happened.

"They came Wednesday morning to mow her grass and they found her in a big pool of blood, and they run up on the hill real fast on a 4-wheeler and told us," said her mother, Eileen Palmer. "I called the police and the ambulance."

Wanda was found in her living room.

RELATED: Woman wakes up from 2-year coma and identifies brother as her attacker

"We show up and we see her on the couch. Bloodied and battered in the head, bludgeoned in the head and face area," Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger said.

They believed she was dead but then heard sounds commonly referred to as the "death rattle."

"I wouldn't have wagered a nickel for her life that morning, she was in that bad of shape," Sheriff Mellinger added.

But Wanda was alive.

According to the criminal complaint, a witness saw Wanda's brother at her trailer that night and investigators said there was a history of violence between them.

However, law enforcement had no weapon, no eye witness to the attack, and no phone records or video. Plus, Wanda was in a coma, until about three weeks ago when she woke up in her nursing home, the sheriff said.

After waking, she told investigators the attacker that night was her own brother.

"For her to be able to wake up and say the name, thank God. That's all I can say, thank God," said Wanda's friend, Messi Powers.

"This case is really about the toughness, the strength and perseverance of the victim in itself," said Sheriff Mellinger.

From the beginning, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department told CNN that Daniel was so uncooperative that they couldn't take a brand new mug shot of him and he wouldn't sign the paperwork allowing for an attorney to represent him.

Now, the question is, would he not cooperate or could he not cooperate because of a medical condition that no one ever knew existed? His attorney and guardian ad litem, Ryan Root, told CNN that he will be looking into that and always said that Daniel was in bad shape, non-responsive and basically alive by the machine in the hospital.