ST. GEORGE – Friends and family are seeking answers regarding the whereabouts of a St. George man who has been missing since July 11.
Greg Palmer, a 50-year-old single father, dropped off his 3-year-old son to be babysat on July 11. Palmer never returned to pick up his son, and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since that night.
Justin Kerns, of St. George, has been caring for 3-year-old John, Palmer’s son, since Palmer disappeared. John Palmer is a half-sibling to Kerns’ five children.
Kerns, also a single father, said the children’s mother is not currently involved in any of their lives. He and Greg Palmer have each been caring for their children, who share a mother, alone, he said.
“I’m a single dad with five kids of my own, and now (with John Palmer) I have a sixth,” Kerns said.
Kerns was tending John for Greg Palmer the night he disappeared. He said Greg Palmer went with a co-worker to watch a televised fight at Bout Time Pub & Grub in St. George. That evening was the last known time anyone saw Palmer.
Kerns said it isn’t like Greg Palmer to fail to pick up his son or check in.
He said Greg Palmer’s phone has been going straight to voicemail since he disappeared.
“He’s been a responsible parent and a loving parent as far as I’m concerned,” Kerns said, “and I don’t think he would abandon his child.”
The St. George Police Department is currently investigating the disappearance.
Lt. Joe Hartman, of the St. George Police Department, said the friend Greg Palmer had been watching the fight with reported that he followed behind Greg Palmer’s vehicle afterward and watched him turn onto his own street. That was the last known time Greg Palmer was seen.
Greg Palmer’s roommate told police that Greg Palmer has “done this kind of thing in the past,” disappearing for stretches of time, Hartman said. But Carrie Ann Stone, a friend of Greg Palmer’s, said she’s never known him to disappear without a word like this. He took one day off from his job for a trip last month, she said, but that’s the only time she said she’s aware of him missing work or being absent.
“Even his boss said that he only missed one day in association with that trip,” she said. “He has missed a week with no word this time.”
Kerns said Greg Palmer has previously struggled with drugs and alcohol. Once, in the past, he said, Greg Palmer asked him to watch John for a time because he had gotten “mixed up with bad people” and needed to leave town. But he’s always come back for his son and stayed in communication, he said.
“I have no idea if that has anything to do with the current situation or not,” Kerns said.
In the past couple of years, since Greg Palmer has had custody of John, Kerns said, he has always been there for his son.
“My personal thought is something bad has happened,” Kerns said.
Last week, Greg Palmer’s boss organized a flyover by private plane above the Virgin River Gorge to look for Greg Palmer’s car or any sign of him, Stone said. Nothing was found, she said.
Kerns is continuing to take care of John. He said his daughters, John’s half-siblings, are pitching in to help care for the toddler, as Kerns has a full-time job.
“He’s happy here,” Kerns said. “Luckily, my kids are old enough they’re watching him.”
Once school resumes, however, other arrangements for John will have to be made if his father isn’t found, Kerns said.
He said he’s been in contact with John’s aunt recently, and she may take the toddler in once Kerns’ kids are back in school and can no longer babysit him during the day.
“I just feel bad for this little boy,” Kerns said.
Greg Palmer’s vehicle, which he was last seen driving, is a gold 2010 Jeep Patriot.
Stone said Palmer is approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall and has dark blond hair.
Anyone with information regarding Palmer’s disappearance or his whereabouts is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.
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