Two Hoquiam Police have been assigned to administrative duties while the death of a woman who was briefly in their custody is being investigated. Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said in a press release that On Monday, November 21, 2016, at 11:44 a.m., officers were dispatched to a reported assault between two clients at a group home in the 300 block of N Street. A caregiver at the location reported a physical altercation between two female residents of the home.

As the clients live in the same residence, the assault would be considered domestic violence under state law. This group home houses patients dealing with chronic mental health issues. There were mental health professionals at the home due to the earlier assault. After the arrival of the patrol sergeant, he requested an ambulance for the 53-year old victim of the assault. A second patrol officer responded to the scene to assist.

While the victim was being tended to by Hoquiam paramedics in the front room, the 35-year old female suspect, who had been separated from the victim in another room, suddenly became combative.

The two officers struggled with the woman as she fought with the officers. The struggle carried the three across the kitchen and out onto an enclosed back porch. The officers called for additional assistance.

Officers used a TASER and continued to struggle with female until they were finally able to get her onto the floor where she was then handcuffed. After being handcuffed, the female suddenly became unresponsive.

The paramedics in the front of the home were called to the back porch to render aid. Paramedics treated the female at the scene before she was transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Grays Harbor Coroner Lane Youmans tells us the woman who died yesterday after an altercation with Hoquiam Police has been identified as Sarah Palmer, 35, of Hoquiam. Her next of kin have been notified. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, 11-23-16.

A second aid crew transported the 53-year old victim to the hospital for treatment for injuries she received in the earlier assault.

The police department requested the assistance of the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a death investigation. The two officers at the scene were reassigned to administrative duties until they could be interviewed by sheriff’s office detectives.

The Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office has scheduled an autopsy for Wednesday.