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Father finding peace as woman is sentenced for role in son's death

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Feb 12th, 2014 @ 10:07pm


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MANTI, Sanpete County — A father who lost his son to a drug overdose is finding some peace after a woman who failed to help his son or call for help was sent to prison.

Jeremy Palmer, 20, died in August, and his family has struggled not only with his death, but the fact his friends refused to call for help.

“We went through Thanksgiving, we went through Christmas without our son,” Ryan Palmer, Jeremy’s father, said. "We definitely had our moments when we spent time crying over it.”

Ryan Palmer got a call Aug. 27 telling him his son had overdosed and was in an acquaintance's driveway. He attempted CPR himself, but his son was already dead.

Court documents say that on Aug. 26, Jeremy and his friends drove to West Jordan, where he took 300 mg of morphine and inhaled canned air.

While driving home near Thistle, Jeremy became incoherent. His friends stopped next to a stream and poured cold water on him.

They kept driving south, passing a hospital, and eventually arrived at a home in Manti. A friend later told police Jeremy's lips were blue at this point. They put him in the bathtub and filled it with ice, never calling an ambulance.


They didn't want to be investigated, they didn't want to go to jail, they didn't want problems, so they moved the crime scene from the home of Ms. McClain's where it all happened and dumped him in that driveway.

–Ryan Palmer, father


The friends allegedly dumped Jeremy's body in the driveway of an acquaintance at 6 a.m. the next day.

“They didn't want to be investigated, they didn't want to go to jail, they didn't want problems, so they moved the crime scene from the home of Ms. McClain's where it all happened and dumped him in that driveway,” Ryan Palmer said.

Brandie McClain, 35, pleaded guilty to drug possession, a second-degree felony, and child endangerment and obstructing justice, both third-degree felonies. She was sentenced Feb. 5 to one to 15 years in prison.

His son’s death has given Ryan Palmer a new perspective on drug abuse.

“This is a big problem,” he said. “This is going on in our backyards. It’s going on in our neighbor’s homes.”

While Jeremy started abusing alcohol and prescription drugs in high school, in the weeks before his death he became addicted to cocaine, heroin and meth, and died of an overdose of morphine.

"If he would have known how much this has affected his mom, his sisters, his dad, his grandparents, he wouldn't have used drugs,” Ryan Palmer said. “But he only thought it affected himself, but it doesn't. It is far more reaching than that. It affects everybody.”

Now Jeremy's family hopes they can start to heal as they encourage parents to do more when they see signs of drug abuse.

"If we can reach out to other parents and help them understand their kids are good kids — they need help. And if we can get them the help they need, I think we can make a difference," Ryan Palmer said.

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