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Attorney: 'Absolute worst' happened to teen allegedly killed by man arrested in Woodbury

Alberto Prece Palmer1 / 2
Anoka County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Paul Sommer speaks to media members Thursday in Andover. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker2 / 2

Charges were expected to be filed Friday in the case of a man arrested in Woodbury who is accused of murdering a teenage prostitute.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office identified the man as 23-year-old Alberto Prece Palmer. At a news conference Thursday, authorities alleged Palmer killed Brittany Clardy, a St. Paul teenager who had gone missing Feb. 11 and wasn't located until her remains were discovered in a car towed to a Columbia Heights impound lot.

Palmer was arrested at about 7 p.m. Wednesday at 8614 Quarry Ridge Lane by a cadre of law enforcement agencies, including Woodbury police, after evidence led them to the townhome complex.

Details on the alleged murder were scarce, but Anoka County Sheriff's Office Cmdr. Paul Sommer said investigators were able to link Palmer to Clardy by analyzing her client list through the numerous pre-paid cellphones she had. The phones were inside the vehicle her body was found in, he noted.

The believed murder scene was a residential home in Brooklyn Park, Sommer said.

During interviews with police, Palmer "has made some admissions," he added.

Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo didn't elaborate on Clardy's turn to prostitution, but said online solicitation can lead to "a very, very dangerous situation."

"It's our belief that, unfortunately, the absolute worst happened to Brittany in this situation," he said.

Authorities did not state how Clardy died, but said the chain of events unfolded this way:

After going missing on Feb. 11, Clardy's mother contacted the St. Paul police department's missing persons unit.

The car Clardy was found in - which was registered to her mother - was towed from Brooklyn Park to the Columbia Heights impound lot. A letter was sent by the towing company to Clardy's mother.

Upon receiving the letter, Clardy's mother notified the missing persons unit, which sent a detective to the lot, where her body was found behind the car's passenger compartment, Sommer said.

The discovery left detectives "little to work with," Sommer said, though they went to work to establish her "electronic footprints."

First thought to be a "normal 18-year-old girl," detectives discovered Clardy kept a life as a prostitute working through, Sommer said, adding that Palmer was among her clients.

Investigators then delved into her cellphones, which Sommer said helped narrow the suspect list.

That list eventually led to Palmer, who Sommer said had relatives and associates in Brooklyn Park and Woodbury.

It wasn't clear whether Palmer made his permanent home in Woodbury.

Sommer declined to say when the two met or precisely when the murder occurred.

Palmer was arrested in Woodbury without incident and booked into Anoka County jail on several outstanding warrants from Georgia, including kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, first-degree assault and two counts of false imprisonment.

Palmer is set to be arraigned Friday morning.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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