“Apparently, somebody supposedly got my brother,” the woman told the dispatcher on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. “There’s blood in the car. Somebody left a note in the car and it says ‘KKK. I hate black men who f— with white women. You will never see your grandson again alive.’ ”
But things didn’t add up. Palmer didn’t live with his sister, and she had seen him only sporadically in the past few weeks. So why would a racist kidnapper leave a detailed note at her place?
The 911 dispatcher asked the caller to be frank about her brother: “Has he been having issues with anyone that you know of?”
“He’s been having issues with his girlfriend,” the caller said, according to a recording of the 911 call provided by the Ormond Beach Police Department.
“Issues” was probably an understatement, according to police and the mother of Palmer’s ex.
In a three-day span, they say, Palmer set his ex-girlfriend’s car on fire, wrote two racist notes as part of a staged hate crime, faked his own abduction and was arrested twice.
He remained in custody Wednesday. Police and jail officials did not know whether he had an attorney.
It was all part of an elaborate but ultimately doomed scheme to get back at his ex and avoid paying child support, authorities and the woman’s mother say.
The couple, who have four boys together, broke up in March. They had fought frequently, said Lynda Winn, the ex-girlfriend’s mother.
Sometimes the fight was in court, over child support. Sometimes Palmer landed in jail.
“She kept saying, ‘Oh, I’m done with him,’ ” Winn said of her daughter. “Then next thing I know, she’s calling him up.”
But infidelity was the final straw, Winn said.
“My daughter found out that he was having an affair with this other girl that was pregnant,” Winn told The Washington Post. “He did it once before and she took him back and he said he’d never do it again, but he did.”
Police believe Palmer put the arson plan in motion early Friday after he got out of work as a forklift driver at a warehouse.
He headed for his girlfriend’s house about 4:35 a.m., the police report says, and stopped along the way at a gas station, where he filled a Mountain Dew bottle with gasoline.
When he got to his ex’s house, police say, he taped a note to her mailbox: “I HAVE WATHED [sic] YOU FOR A LONG TIME YOU AND YOUR N—– KIDS DON’T Belong.”
On the other side he wrote one word: “TRUMP.”
Then, the police report says, Palmer scooped up a brick from a neighbor’s yard and shattered the back window of his ex’s Chevrolet Sonic. He then doused the back seat with gasoline, used a burning piece of paper to ignite a fire and made a hasty exit on his scooter, police say.
Seeing the car engulfed in flames, neighbors called 911 and banged on the woman’s door to make sure everyone in the house was okay.
Distraught, Palmer’s ex spoke with police. Then she called Palmer, authorities said.
He showed up on the scooter with a cup of coffee and a cigarette for his ex, Winn said. But, she said, he got antsy “when they said they were going to get fingerprints off the paper. He was like, ‘They can do that?’ ”
Authorities also thought Palmer seemed uncomfortable, according to the police report.
One officer “spoke to the defendant while at the scene and said he appeared to be nervous,” the police report says. Police ran a warrant check and took Palmer into custody.
One of the conditions of his release from jail: He had to pay some of the back child support he owed.
After his release, police say, Palmer faked his own abduction, probably in an attempt to avoid legal trouble from the staged hate crime.
Winn thinks Palmer was also running from his child support obligations.
Her daughter, she said, had asked about additional delinquent money to support the boys. But after Palmer got out of jail, he vanished.
The abduction story began to unravel after Palmer’s sister called 911 and reported the bloody fingerprints and the jacket, which were found in Daytona Beach.
Police there mounted a search and notified surrounding jurisdictions to be on the lookout for Palmer.
They also contacted Ormond Beach Police because of their involvement with Palmer.
Shortly afterward, police tracked Palmer via his cellphone. They found him eating at a Burger King.
Initially, the police report says, Palmer said his name was Raquel Johnson.
But he eventually shared his real identity and admitted to two days of deceit, the report says.
He said he set the fire. He said the kidnapping was bogus, too.
“The defendant told us that he wrote the note found at the arson before he left work,” the report says. “He apologized for the fire and said he never meant to hurt anyone.”
He said the blood outside his sister’s home was his. “He had pricked his own finger and spread the blood around to add to the abduction illusion.”
He was arrested again and charged with second-degree arson.
Palmer remained in Volusia County jail Wednesday with no bail set.
This post has been updated.