Former West Columbia Police Chief Michael Parker facing sex charges

WEST COLUMBIA, Texas - A big development in case we've been following. You may recall when the former West Columbia police chief disappeared. Now more than a month later, he's turned up again, and he's been indicted on some very serious charges.

As the child sexual assault case against him moves forward, everyone wants to know -- where had he been?

Last August, Michael Parker was running the West Columbia Police Department. We talked to him then about a suspicious letter he was investigating.

"Given the way things are these days, you never know what's going to show up in your mailbox anymore," Parker told us in August 2012.

Now a year later, Palmer is facing multiple charges, including aggravated sexual assault of a child, and eight counts of tampering with evidence.

The former chief went on the run over a month ago when investigators turned up evidence that he'd bound, gagged and sexually assaulted a young boy, repeatedly, beginning in 1998. They even say they found bondage gear in Palmer's office at the police department.

Police and EquuSearch volunteers spent days trying to find him. He finally turned up Monday, near the town of Brazoria, where investigators with the county district attorney's arrested him.

The DA won't say exactly where he was arrested or where he'd been hiding. Palmer was released Tuesday after posting a $75,000 bond.

He wasn't home Friday when we stopped by.

West Columbia residents we talked to said they're glad he's off the street.

"He's got a problem. He's a sick fella evidently. They certainly need to take care of somebody like that," said resident Ike French.

Palmer lost his job in February before the child sex charges were filed when fellow officers complained he was stealing pain killers taken as evidence in police investigations.

Palmer still faces trial on all of the charges against him. The child sex abuse charges alone are enough to send him to prison for life if he's convicted.

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