by Sue Deyoe ~ May 4th, 2011
Last year, in April, a 30 year old man from Wasilla vanished in the Talkeetna area without a trace. The case remains a mystery to those involved with the search.
“Chucky” Palmer, age 30
Charles Palmer, age 30, from Wasilla had been snowmaching during the day with friends and family to the west of Mastadon Road near Bald Mountain, last year on April 10th. The group was headed back to a cabin for the night when Palmer got lost from the group.
Later it was discovered that Palmer had snowmachined off the well-defined trail and would have waded into waist deep snow had he gone off the side snowmachine trail he had chosen. Friends were the first to find the snowmachine. There was about a 12 hour delay in calling troopers. When the troopers arrived they found no trace of footprints anywhere on the trail, but did find the snowmachine stuck in the snow.
A large search party of fire and rescue volunteers and troopers searched for several days… Looking back at reports, Snow and high winds hampered search efforts and put searchers into survival mode themselves. The search was called off after 5 days.
Dan Valentine is the wildlife trooper in the area and said that a massive search ensued last May for Palmer. Over 40 searchers with Alaska Mountain Rescue as well as search and rescue dogs were flown in by helicopter to the area and spread out 100 feet off the trail.
Valentine said they flew over the area well into June looking for some sign of a body. He says the searchers never found one clue – not a glove, a boot or a footprint. They didn’t see signs of birds or other animal tracks.
Fire Chief Ken Farina was also involved with the initial 4 day search. He says he is sticking to his original alien abduction theory because he cannot come up with another explanation.
In one of the strangest twists, Chuck was the second son that Lisa Rearick and Charles Palmer lost to mysterious circumstances. Their son, Michael, went missing at age 15 in Wasilla, in 1999, after a party and has never been found. There are still missing person’s websites that have his photo posted, as there was never closure in that case.
Rearick’s third son was with Chuck that fatal day in April, but had left the group earlier to take care of a broken snowmachine.
On April 12, 2011, there was a presumptive death hearing and the courts declared Palmer deceased, due to exposure.
Rearick’s daughter, Hannah, was asked if her mother would talk about the incident, but the call has not been returned. Hannah said the event was still just too painful to talk about. Palmer left behind his 3 daughters and custody hearings are still ongoing for Rearick to take charge of her granddaughters. The next hearing is in June.
Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen says still consider the event a missing persons.