Family mourns retired cop found dead on Monday
Having lost communication with her brother temporarily and missing him passing by her area over a period of time, the last thing Novlet Smith expected to hear was that he had died and that his body was discovered in a state of decomposition.
The older sister of 59-year-old retired police Inspector Raymond Palmer, whose body was discovered at his house in Cobbla on Monday, said she was “heartbroken” when she heard what had happened to her youngest brother.
According to the police, they were alerted after neighbours reported an odour coming from the premises.
Superintendent Lloyd Darby said that foul play is not suspected, based on preliminary investigations, which seem to indicate that Palmer died of natural causes.
Smith said that Palmer had somewhat distanced himself from relatives, adding that it wasn’t uncommon for them to be out of contact over long periods since his seclusion.
“ ... I live near him, and I used to see him regular, but after a while, he changed, and I wasn’t seeing him again. When he goes out, I don’t know, and when he come back, I don’t know. Sometimes when I go and visit him, he’s not there ... ,” she told The Gleaner.
Smith said that that her brother, who last served in the Office of the Police Commissioner, had retired from the Jamaica Constabulary Force some time around 2007 or 2008 after their mother passed away.
She was unsure of where he was stationed prior to that but added that he joined the force some time in the 1980s after leaving Spaldings High.
Remembering her brother as jovial and stern, Smith indicated that despite Palmer’s battle with diabetes and other ailments, he had a deep love for his alcoholic beverages.
“Yes, man. He was a drinker; he loved his rum. He was jovial, yes, but some of the times him come to you, him rough you up and probably tell you things you don’t want to hear, but that was ‘Tony’,” she said, referring to Palmer by his pet name. “He would have been 60 on the 29th of next month.”
Smith, who admitted to having several ailments, said that she was in no state to view her brother’s body on Monday after receiving the tragic news.
“I never go and look at him. I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take it at all ... . It’s like me body start shake and my heart start to race more than it used to ... . It’s sad, but we have to just live it out,” she said.
Palmer, who was the last of 10 children for their parents, lived in different parishes during and after his tenure in the JCF and only fully returned to the district in December 2020.
Smith said that in addition to his siblings, the retired cop has left two children to mourn his loss.