A West Virginia woman has awoken from a two-year coma and identified her brother as her attacker, according to police.
Wanda Palmer, 51, accused her brother of attacking her at her residence near Cottageville, West Virginia, in June 2020. Police said that Palmer was “attacked, hacked, and left for dead,” according to a statement posted on Jackson County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook.
Police say they found Palmer in an “upright position” on her couch with severe injuries caused by what appeared to be a hatchet or ax. Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger told CNN that when police arrived, they thought she was dead but realized soon after she was still alive and breathing shallowly.
Police never recovered the weapon, Mellinger said.
One witness reported seeing Palmer’s brother, Daniel, on her porch around midnight the night before she was discovered, Mellinger said. There were no phone records, surveillance footage, or witnesses outside of Palmer’s home, the sheriff said.
Police investigated several people but could never file charges. A couple of weeks ago, Mellinger said, his office got a call from Palmer’s care facility saying she was able to speak to authorities.
Daniel Palmer III, 55, was arrested Friday and charged with attempted murder and malicious wounding on Friday, according to arrest records obtained by CNN.
He was arraigned and assessed with a bond of $500,000, according to the sheriff, who said it is unclear how he pleaded.
Daniel Palmer doesn’t have an attorney because he is refusing to sign any paperwork, according to Cathryn Brubaker in the Jackson County magistrate’s office of the criminal court.
Wanda Palmer is now coherent but unable to hold full-length conversations, the sheriff told CNN.
According to a criminal complaint, the sister and her brother had a violent history, but Daniel Palmer denied any involvement in the attack and said he hadn’t been to his sister’s home in the days before the attack.
Investigators got a call in June that Wanda Palmer was able to say some singular words, according to the court document. In July, a deputy interviewed Palmer in her room and said she indicated she recalled being hurt in a trailer. When asked who wounded her, she said her brother, the complaint says.
“When asked why Daniel assaulted her, Wanda stated that he was mean,” a deputy said in the complaint, which was signed by a magistrate Thursday.
CNN’s Steve Almasy, Jean Casarez, Liam Reilly, Melanie Schuman and Zoe Sottile contributed to this report.