POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida man has been arrested nearly a week after his wife was found dead inside their Pompano Beach home, authorities said Tuesday.
Patrick Palmer, 51, faces a first-degree murder charge.
Authorities said Sherry Palmer owned Chit Chat's on Federal Highway in Pompano Beach. The bar is now temporarily closed after the 63-year-old woman was found dead inside her home Wednesday.
A sign in front of the business said it was closed to allow employees time to grieve.
Authorities said employees grew concerned last week after noticing the couple hadn't shown up for work in days. They called the Broward Sheriff's Office and asked deputies to perform a welfare check.
BSO spokeswoman Gina Carter said in a news release that Patrick Palmer was found lying on a bed, bleeding from his arms.
Authorities said he was unconscious, but alive. Deputies found Sherry Palmer's body wrapped in several tarps in the backyard. She had been shot twice in the head, Carter said.
Carter said detectives believe Patrick Palmer engaged in an elaborate cover up in the days after his wife's death in an attempted to make Sherry Palmer's loved ones believe she was still alive.
Carter said witnesses told detectives that they heard gunshots the night of April 14.
She said detectives found a pickaxe and shovel near what appeared to be a shallow grave near the victim's body.
The body had already begun to decompose when authorities arrived at the home, Carter said.
Dental records were used to confirm Sherry Palmer's identity. The medical examiner has since ruled her death a homicide.
A dedicated prayer service was held Sunday outside a nearby bar called Mickey's to honor the life of Sherry Palmer.
A motive for the shooting is unknown.
Anyone with further information about the couple is asked to call Detectives James Hayes or Jeffrey Curtis at 954-321-4231. Reports can also be made anonymously by calling Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.