Woodbury man arrested in connection with the death of 18-year-old Brittany Clardy

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY and DAVID CHANEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 7, 2013 - 11:36 PM

Evidence in an impounded car reportedly led authorities to a man wanted in 3 Georgia attacks.


A Woodbury man, wanted in Georgia on charges of attacking three women he met through online escort services, has been arrested in the death of an 18-year-old St. Paul woman whose body was found in a car in a Columbia Heights impound lot.

Alberto Prece Palmer, 23, is expected to be charged Friday in the death last month of Brittany Clardy.

Anoka County authorities said Thursday that, unknown to her family, Clardy had been working as a prostitute and that Palmer met her through the online website backpage.com.

That allegedly was the same site Palmer used to meet the three women in Georgia, where one was nearly beaten to death, according to a police sergeant in that state.

Friends and family had described Clardy, who lived with her parents in St. Paul, as “a good kid who wasn’t looking for trouble.”

“We’re trying to grieve for our daughter,” said Alvin Clardy, who said he was unaware of his daughter’s purported secret life. “There’s still an investigation going on. We’ll get answers in time. We want to let the police do their job.”

At a news conference Thursday, authorities said they were led to Palmer after discovering “several” prepaid cellphones in Clardy’s car. Phone records led authorities to “clients,” said Anoka County Police Cmdr. Paul Sommer.

Police wouldn’t say how or when Clardy was killed. She was last seen Feb. 11, when she left home to go to a store.

“She hugged my nephew and said she’d be back,” said Shavala Steward, 23, of St. Paul. Steward said she had known Clardy for 12 years and is the best friend of Clardy’s sister.

Authorities said Clardy died at a home in the 8400 block of Kentucky Avenue N. in Brooklyn Park. They said it has been occupied by “associates” and relatives of Palmer.

The car, which belonged to Clardy’s parents, was then left at an apartment complex in Brooklyn Park and ultimately towed to an impound lot in Columbia Heights. Her frozen body was found eight days later, on Feb. 21.

“The fashion she was found in left detectives with very little to work with,” said Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart. But there were “electronic footprints,” he said, referring to the cellphones in the car.

“It’s our belief that Palmer was a client,” Sommer said.

Palmer, arrested Wednesday at his Woodbury apartment after a search there and at the Brooklyn Park house, “has made some admissions of his involvement,” Sommer said.

Charges in Georgia

Palmer has been charged in connection with three sexual and physical assaults of women in Georgia last year, said Sgt. Ernesto Ford of the Chamblee Police Department. One of the women allegedly was held hostage for 19 hours and was beaten nearly to death, Ford said. “We may have more victims than what we know about,” he said.

In 2009, Palmer served prison time in Cook County, Ill., for stealing a car.

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