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Missing Father-In-Law Formally Charged With Murder Of Haverstraw Mother Of Two

Eugene Palmer (credit: CBS 2)

Eugene Palmer (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 73-year-old man who disappeared into the woods after his daughter-in-law was shot to death in Rockland County two months ago stood charged with her murder Monday – although he remained missing.

Eugene Palmer of Haverstraw was indicted Monday on charges of second-degree murder Monday, according to the Rockland County District Attorney’s office.

He is accused of killing Tammy Palmer with a shotgun on Sept. 24.

Eugene Palmer’s truck was found later that day in Harriman State Park, and Haverstraw officers searched for days without finding him. The police chief said Monday the search continued.

Tammy Palmer was estranged from her husband – Eugene Palmer’s son — and also had a restraining order against him. She was living on Eugene Palmer’s property, which is where the murder took place.

Tammy Palmer’s family said Eugene Palmer began a campaign of harassment after she took out an order of protection against her husband, John, barring him from the home where she was raising their two children.

“This morning she put the kids on the bus, I think she was hanging clothes. He went there, I guess they had an argument. Went to get a gun, killed her,” said the victim’s father John Pannirello in September.

Eugene Palmer reportedly admitted to the murder. Palmer told a relative, “I just killed Tammy,” 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported in September. Palmer stopped by his sister Elaine Babcock’s home before fleeing, Jones reported.

“He just came in and said, ‘Here’s money to pay my taxes with, I’ve had enough. I shot and killed Tammy. Give me an hour to get away and then do whatever you have to do — call the police…whatever you have to do,’ and then he just took off,” Babcock said.

Palmer’s disappearance into the 45,000 acre woods prompted authorities to advise people to avoid activities such as hiking and bird watching in the area.

Eugene Palmer was a hunter familiar with the rocky, hilly terrain of the park. But experts doubted he could survive outdoors in the cold days that followed the killing.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)