Approximately three hours after David Hendricks called police, telling them he was worried about the whereabouts and well-being of his family, his mother-in-law, Nadine Palmer, called Bloomington police, too.
She lived about 45 minutes away and had been expecting her daughter and grandchildren at a family dinner, but they never showed up. Her son and son-in-law were enroute to Bloomington to check on them.
Here’s a transcript of Mrs. Palmer’s call to police. There’s some confusion about what school the children attended (it was Stevenson School). The Lieutenant Linskey in the call is Tim Linskey, who was named the city’s police chief in 1992, a position he held for five years.
Nov. 8, 1983, approximately 9:30 p.m.
Palmer: …and I am Mrs. Charles Palmer, Nadine Palmer. I have a daughter named Susan who lives in Bloomington…
Palmer: …and Susan and her three children were to have come to my other daughter-in-law’s house with us for supper tonight here in Delavan. She did not show up. We did not hear from her. We have been trying to call her at her home all this time…
Dispatcher: Neighbors have checked. She’s not there.
Palmer: Neighbors have checked and she’s not there.
Dispatcher: I put it on the activity. Her husband also called us from Wisconsin.
Palmer: Yes. He just checked out about four hours ago and was headed this way.
Dispatcher: I have no idea.
Palmer: And you have not heard anything?
Palmer: Have you gone over to the house?
Dispatcher: We haven’t been there, but the neighbors have been there. The car’s not there and she’s not there.
Palmer: The car’s not there and she’s not there.
Dispatcher: That’s what the husband told me. I spoke with the husband when he called here from Wisconsin. He also spoke of the fact that she had a dinner engagement at 5:30 which she never showed up for.
Palmer: Which is dinner with us. That was, you know…
Dispatcher: And she never showed up.
Palmer: No, and this is very, very unusual for her. She has the children in bed, they go to school, you know…
Dispatcher: What school do they go to?
Palmer: Oh dear. I don’t know the name of the school. They take a school bus. A new school and it’s east and it’s north of the airport–in that area.
Dispatcher: She lives on Carl Drive?
Palmer: Carl Drive, uh huh, and they take a school bus.
Dispatcher: Let me find out.
Palmer: I would be interested in knowing whether the children were in school today.
Dispatcher: Well, there’s no way of finding that out.
Palmer: You wouldn’t be able to find out through the principal?
Dispatcher: Don’t know what school they go to.
Palmer: Well, it’s the school that is north of the airport about half a mile.
Dispatcher: Ma’am, that’s not–if it’s north of the airport, then it’s in the county. Now if they went to Oakland School, I could help you.
Palmer: It is Route 9. You know where the Holiday Inn is over there? It’s sort of all of that way.
Dispatcher: Well, how old are the three kids?
Palmer: They’re in kindergarten, second and…
Dispatcher: And they take a blue bus to school. Okay, I think they go to Oakland School because my son goes to Oakland School, but in order to do that you would have to contact the attendant. You would have to rile the principal and everybody else involved in attendance there, their teacher and all that.
Palmer: Uh huh.
Dispatcher: And I did see that bus this morning go to Oakland School when I dropped my son off. Now I don’t, I can’t say whether or not your grandchildren were on it. I really don’t know.
Palmer: I think it would be worth finding out.
Dispatcher: I don’t know how you’re going to find out whether or not they were at school.
Palmer: Well, their own teacher would know. She would have written it down.
Dispatcher: Ma’am, you don’t understand what I’m saying. It would involve a lot of finding out. First of all, you would have to call the principal, then you’d have to find out what teacher they had, who their teacher was, that would mean calling. He would probably have to go back to the school, open the school up and find out who their teachers are and then call them up.
Palmer: Well, this is an emergency.
Dispatcher: Just a minute. I’ll let you talk to the sergeant.
Palmer: I bet David is upset. He’s probably driving a hundred miles an hour, unless he flew in. I don’t know.
Lt. Linskey: Lieutenant Linskey.
Palmer: Hello. I’m Nadine Palmer, Mrs. Charles Palmer of Delavan and I was just talking to the lady there. My daughter is missing. We don’t know where she is. This is a very, very unusual thing.
Lt. Linskey: How old is your daughter?
Palmer: Oh, let me think. She’s 30, and uh…
Lt. Linskey: Where’s she missing from?
Palmer: From home.
Lt. Linskey: Where does she live?
Palmer: She lives in Bloomington on Carl Drive and her name is Susan Hendricks and she has her three children.
Lt. Linskey: We had a phone call from her husband earlier, ma’am.
Palmer: Right, from David. He is on his way home. He’s checked out of the motel.
Lt. Linskey: Where was he at?
Palmer: A business trip to Madison. He is at the Red Roof Inn at Madison, Wisconsin. So it’ll be another at least three hours or so ’til he gets to Bloomington. Now she often takes Stringtown Road. She’s supposed to be at my son’s house with us for supper tonight and we’ve been trying to reach her all this time and have not been able to reach her at all and anyway my son and son-in-law are on their way to Bloomington, taking the Stringtown Road, ’cause that’s the usual way they would go to come to our place, checking to see if maybe she has car trouble or something or whatever…
Lt. Linskey: What kind of car does she own?
Palmer: Oh, I don’t know. I tell why, they have recently bought a new car and they have two cars on order and I don’t know whether they had gotten their new car or not.
Lt. Linskey: Could you hang on a minute, ma’am? Is it 303 Carl Drive, the address that she lives at?
Palmer: Carl. Yes.
Lt. Linskey: 303?
Palmer: Carl Drive. Yeah. 313.
Lt. Linskey: Okay. Hang on a minute. Hello, ma’am. I got a squad car going that way to check it out again.
Palmer: Okay. That’s fine.
Lt. Linskey: What I suggest you do, when her husband gets home–is that your son?
Palmer: That’s my son-in-law.
Lt. Linskey: Is he going to contact you?
Palmer: I hope so.
Lt. Linskey: We want you to contact us, or have him contact us, and we’ll come out and search the house with him, make sure everything’s all right. And if they’re still not there, if there’s no note left or he still thinks they’re missing, we’ll take a missing person report from him.
Palmer: Okay. Now are you talking about the ones that are going from here to Bloomington?
Lt. Linskey: No, I’m talking about your son-in-law coming back from Madison, Wisconsin.
Palmer: Okay. Okay.
Lt. Linskey: ‘Cause we’re going to need some car descriptions and everything else and you apparently don’t know what kind of cars they drive or anything.
Palmer: No, we don’t.
Lt. Linskey: Well, he’ll know that. So, as soon as he gets back from Madison, Wisconsin, have him contact us.
Palmer: Okay. I’m sure he will.
Lt. Linskey: Ask him to ask for the desk sergeant or the lieutenant on the desk. It doesn’t matter who.
Lt. Linskey: If we find anything, what’s your phone number you’re at now?
Palmer: 244-7270. Area code 309.
Lt. Linskey: Does any of the neighbors have a key to the house?
Palmer: Over there? I don’t know, but the neighbors did say…
Lt. Linskey: Do you have a key to the house?
Palmer: We don’t. No.
Lt. Linskey: What did the neighbors say?
Palmer: Well, they said that the neighbors said that they looked and the car was gone and nobody was home.
Lt. Linskey: The car is gone?
Palmer: So, I don’t know whether the neighbors have a key. That is a possibility.
Lt. Linskey: Ma’am, tell them to hang on a minute. Okay. You have your son-in-law give us a call as soon as he gets back, okay? All right. Thank you.
Palmer: Okay. In the meantime my other son and son-in-law are headed that way and they may be calling you.
Lt. Linskey: Have they ever had any problems in the past, ma’am?
Lt. Linskey: No marital problems at all?
Lt. Linskey: How long have they been married?
Palmer: Ten, eleven years.
Lt. Linskey: All right. We’ll give you a call if we hear anything, ma’am. But as soon as your son-in-law gets back to town, have him call us.
Palmer: Okay. Thank you very much.
Lt. Linskey: Yes, ma’am. Bye now.