It’s always a great moment when serial killer ‘cold cases’ are tossed a warm bone that investigators can work with. Sometimes it means the final piece of a wicked puzzle that’s haunted, and taunted, crime officials for years. And that’s exactly what detectives across the country are hoping for with the bone they’ve just been tossed.
On July 18th, 2016, in Charleston, West Virginia, a lone gun shot rang out at the home of a sex worker who, in the struggle for her life, managed to grab the gun from her ‘date’ and shoot him (blindly, over her shoulder no less) before he could strangle her to death.
SHE HAD PLACED AN AD ON BACKPAGE. WAS HER BLIND DATE REALLY A SERIAL KILLER ?
As the man, 45 year old Neal Falls, lay dead on her kitchen floor, from a single gun shot wound to the head, the woman, with obviously extensive wounds, raced from her home and begged a neighbor to call 911.
The woman explained to authorities that Neal Falls had answered an ad she’d placed on an escort website called the Backpage. She went on to say that when he (Neal) arrived at her home things almost instantly went haywire. Within a few minutes she was in a battle for her life. He started beating her and strangling her. She said he was holding a gun with one hand and strangling her with the other. She was desperate to escape him and managed to somehow grab a rake to try and defend herself.
“He put the gun down to get the rake out of my hand and I just grabbed the gun and shot over behind me,” the woman said, as she gestured over her shoulder.
And she was dead on. Literally! She hit him square in the head.
“He was going to shoot me,” she insisted. “He was going to kill me.”
AND IT DID’T TAKE INVESTIGATORS LONG TO START BELIEVING HER STORY
When they searched the dead man’s vehicle, they found a ‘kill kit.’ It included knives, a second gun, cleaning supplies and bleach, a plastic tote that could hold a side of beef, a machete, several axes, a sledge-hammer and shovels, trash bags and a bullet-proof vest. They also found several (4) sets of handcuffs on his person when they examined his body. (four cuffs – four limbs to bind – not good!)
And then things got really creepy! They found a post-it-note with the names of six women written on it in his pocket. It contained the women’s names, ages and phone numbers, all of whom he had made contact with through Backpage! The man obviously had an agenda!
IF HE WAS A SERIAL KILLER, 16 STATES WANT HIS DNA
Now, as scary as this whole scenario sounds, and I am sure it was quite terrifying indeed, the law saw a much larger picture coming together. Unbeknownst to her (identified as Heather), the authorities were beginning to think that she had just ended the reign of a serial killer and detectives, in at least three states, if not all 50, were suddenly very interested in the dead man and wanted involved with case at once.
Due to what authorities deemed Falls’ ‘method’, his obvious weapons of choice and his previous known locations, law officers in Ohio and West Virginia were extremely interesting in this man.
Las Vegas was quick to jump on the band wagon too, as Neal Falls had lived there for eight years and four women disappeared in that time frame. Like Heather, all four of those women likewise advertised online to gain clients. Three of the missing women’s bodies were later discovered. They were all dismembered. The fourth has never been found!
A task force from Ohio likewise raced to Charleston, West Virginia to investigate whether Falls might be involved with their missing Chillicothe ladies! In the recent past, six women have disappeared from that area only to be found dead! Two are still missing and Chillicothe wants to know where they are!
Texas and Niagara Fall, New Your wants to know about this man as well. They’ve got a few missing and dismembered themselves they’d like to check out!
“I believe that Heather just saved lives and hopefully we’ll be able to bring some closure to some other families, too,” one detective stated. “If she hadn’t fought back, she most certainly would be dead.”