Conrad native still missing in Hawaii, but hope remains

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Shaun Palmer (pictured), a Conrad native, has been missing since early Sunday morning after an apparent altercation outside of a Honolulu bar. His parents and grandmother remain hopeful that he will return safely. (Photo via Facebook)

A simple text message from Navy sailor Shaun Palmer to his parents—“I’m alive and I love you”—has fostered a new sense of optimism among family members that the Conrad native and BCLUW alum will safely return to the Honolulu military base where he’s stationed, but they aren’t counting their chickens before they hatch.


Palmer, a 24-year-old hospital corpsman whose father Chad and paternal grandmother Carol still live in the area, has not been seen since early Sunday morning after an apparent altercation outside of Kelley O’Neill’s, a popular watering hole located in the Waikiki Beach district. Navy officials reported him missing after he failed to report for duty later in the day.


“I just don’t understand what’s going through his head. It just seems out of character,” Carol said on Friday morning. “We’ve gone through every scenario in our heads that isn’t good, and so we’re just hoping for the best and asking for prayers.”


According to a Facebook post, Chad arrived in Honolulu on Wednesday evening, was able to confirm that the text message came from his son and hoped to have him back on the base shortly, and Palmer’s mother Elizabeth Diane Unterein, who now resides in the greater Los Angeles area, has also been active in the effort to locate Shaun and spread awareness of the situation on social media. She could not be immediately reached for further comment, and Chad indicated that he would be happy to discuss the matter when the ordeal was "100 percent resolved." 


The disappearance has garnered national attention from outlets like CBS News, ABC News, Newsweek, The Daily Mail and the New York Daily News, among others. Carol told The Grundy Register that she rarely watches television save for “The 700 Club” and wasn’t aware of the publicity, but she just wants to see her grandson safe. The questions of what happened, why it happened and whether or not he’s in trouble can wait for another day.


“If that’s all we have to worry about, then that’s a good thing,” she said. 


This story is developing. Follow the Grundy Register for further updates. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here.