Police: Man arrested in prostitute's murder | Brittany Clardy - KMSP-TV

Police: Man arrested in murder of teen prostitute found dead in car

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A man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of 18-year-old Brittany Clardy, whose body was found inside a car that was towed to a Columbia Heights impound lot on Feb. 24.

The car belonging to Clardy's mother had been removed from an apartment complex in Brooklyn Park, but no one found Clardy's body for 10 days.

Family and friends told FOX 9 News Clardy was last seen leaving her parents' house in St. Paul on Monday, Feb. 11. Those who knew her say Clardy seemed like a typical teen from a good family, but investigators say she kept a terrible secret.

"As this case began to unravel though, it became apparent that Brittany had followed a path in life that led her to prostitution," said Cmdr. Paul Sommer, with the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say Clardy posted ads for prostitution on Backpage.com, and they say that is how she met 23-year-old Alberto Palmer, her final and fatal customer.

"It is our belief the absolute worst happened for Brittany in this situation," said Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo.

On Wednesday, two search warrants were issued -- one in Woodbury and another Brooklyn Park -- before Palmer was arrested at his aunt's Woodbury townhome that night.

Palmer's cousin told FOX 9 News his family had no idea their relative was on the run.

"This is my second time ever meeting him," Marquetta Ford told FOX 9 News. "In 25 years, I never knew who he was, what he did, none of that. I just knew he had a daughter and liked to cook."

Detectives believe Palmer killed Clardy in a Brooklyn Park home where he'd been staying with friends and then placed her body in her car and parked it at the nearby apartment complex.

Investigators say Clardy's body was hidden under a blanket in the back seat, and a couple of pre-paid cell phones were found in the car as well. Police used those phones to find Clardy's friends, her johns and Palmer.

Police say they found enough evidence to arrest Palmer in Clardy's murder, especially given his criminal history. There are numerous warrants for his arrest out of Georgia in a nearly identical crime. Police in Georgia say Palmer and an accomplice kidnapped and raped two separate women they met through Backpage.com just three months ago.

"While nothing can bring back the life of this young victim, we will do everything we can to ensure the person responsible for her death is brought to justice," Palumbo said.

Palmer has not been formally charged in Clardy's death yet, but police say he has admitted to some of the activities. He is expected to be charged with murder on Friday.

NOTE: We have received some emails and calls from viewers upset that we've said Brittany was a prostitute, obviously attributing that to police. Let's be clear, she was first and foremost a young woman loved by her family, who even volunteered at an after school program. Prostitution doesn't make this story less tragic, it makes it more so. But ignoring facts like that, no matter how difficult it is to hear or talk about, doesn't make us a better society, just a less informed one.

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