Signal Mountain police are searching for a mother who has been missing since April 30.
Gail Nowacki Palmgren, 44, who lives in the affluent St. Ives subdivision on Ridgerock Drive, has not been seen since driving away from her home in her four-door, dark-red Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
Family friend Arlene Durham said Palmgren is a devoted mother of two children, a 9-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.
“I think she’s so scared right now she doesn’t know what to do,” said Durham, who lives on Lake Jordan, Ala., and has been in Signal Mountain all week searching for Palmgren. “If she’s not hiding, then something happened to her. You don’t just up and leave. She’s not that type of person.”
Palmgren, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., moved to Signal Mountain in 2009 from Louisville, Ky., with her children and husband, Matt, director of pharmacy programs for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s government business and emerging markets business unit.
Matt Palmgren said in a telephone interview Friday that his wife has disappeared before.
“We’re very upset,” Matt Palmgren said. “She’s had psychiatric issues in the past. ... Usually she just goes somewhere and decompresses but stays in contact with the kids.”
Durham, one of Gail Palmgren’s relatives and the police detective heading the investigation, strongly dismissed questions about Gail Palmgren’s mental state.
“If she has psychiatric issues, then I’m the queen of England,” Durham said. “Ask anyone: Gail is smart and has a good head on her shoulders.”
Signal Mountain police Detective James Tizzio said his investigation had uncovered no psychiatric issues with the missing woman.
Matt Palmgren reported his wife missing Monday, two days after she was last seen. Asked whether it was unusual for someone to wait 48 hours to notify police, Tizzio said it depends.
“If it was my wife, if it was me, hopefully I’d have called sooner,” he said.
Like her husband, Gail Palmgren has a doctor of pharmacy degree, although she had not worked in about a year, said Durham and Dan Nichols, the husband of Gail Palmgren’s sister, Diane.
“She’s a professional, a doctor,” Nichols said. “Both of them are very sharp.”
Matt Palmgren said his wife returned with the children and the family’s dogs early April 30 from the family’s lake house, about 20 miles north of Montgomery, Ala. He said he did not know how long she had been there and that she dropped the children off with no one home at about noon.
“You can imagine what a difficult time it is for me and the kids right now,” he said.
Durham said Gail Palmgren made an unexpected trip to Alabama on April 29. Police agencies in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee have been notified, Tizzio said.
Gail Palmgren is 5 feet 8, 135 pounds and has blond hair and brown eyes. Her Jeep has a black soft top and a personalized Alabama tag, EAZY ST.
“We need to find her,” said Gail Palmgren’s brother, Kevin Nowacki, of Palm Beach, Fla. “If you find her, just call police.”