Victim Solves Own Cold Case After Waking From Coma

Police investigating an attempted murder were stumped — until the victim herself woke up.

Verity Partington
2 min readJul 18, 2022


Attack victim Wanda Palmer (Image: Jackson County’s Sheriff’s Office via Facebook)

When a West Virginia woman was brutally attacked in her own home in June 2020, Jackson County’s Sheriff’s Office was at a loss as to what could have happened.

Wanda Palmer had been beaten and hacked so severely with a weapon thought to be a machete or hatchet that she sustained devastating brain damage.

“When we got there, to be honest we thought she was dead,” Sheriff Ross Mellenger told MetroNews.

However, faint signs of life were discovered and Wanda was first rushed for emergency treatment before being transferred to a care home in Wetzel County for long-term nursing.

While she remained in a coma over the subsequent months, investigators struggled with the lack of evidence in the shocking case and were concerned the perpetrator might strike again.

“There was no eye witnesses, nobody lived in the home, no surveillance footage, no cell phone records. There was virtually nothing there to move forward on,” Sheriff Mellenger recalled.

Not even the weapon used during the crime could be tracked down, something that might have helped lead to the person who had wielded it.

Then, something remarkable happened. Wanda emerged from her coma and, although she could not form complete sentences, she could communicate with her carers just enough to tell them who had hurt her.

Flabbergasted nurses called the police and informed them Wanda had said her own brother David Palmer was the one behind the attack.

David has now been arrested and charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding, according to arrest records obtained by CNN. It is not known why he would have committed such a vicious assault on his sister.

A statement posted on Jackson County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page confirmed Wanda’s brother is in custody and said he did not seem surprised when he was brought in.

“Continued prayers for the victim please,” the statement concluded.

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Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a