Police in several states are now looking into the life of Neal Falls, a man recently shot to death in Charleston, West Virginia — and into the possibility that he just might have been a serial killer responsible for an untold number of deaths. Authorities were alerted to Falls as a possible suspect in multiple deaths because of the statement given by the woman responsible for his death, an escort he met online, and the odd assortment of materials they found in his vehicle.
CBS News reported July 26 that not only are West Virginia officials looking into death of Neal Falls, 45, who was shot to death by a woman he arranged to meet online, but that authorities in Ohio, Illinois and Nevada are searching for possible links between Falls and several unsolved murders among sex workers in those states. Charleston Police say the shooting has been ruled as self-defense and have gone so far as to say that it is “likely” that Neal Falls was a serial killer.
“It’s likely that Mr. Falls is a serial killer,” said Steve Cooper, Charleston Police Department Chief of Detectives. “I believe she [the still anonymous escort] saved lives by shooting Mr. Falls, based on what he did to her and based on the items found in his car.”
What detectives found inside Falls’ car was a dangerous assortment of equipment: a machete, axes, knives, a shovel, a sledgehammer, bleach, plastic trash bags, a pair of boots, bulletproof vests, and four sets of handcuffs. It resembled what police would refer to as a killing kit.
The shooting of Neal Falls occurred on July 18, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, after he attacked the escort. According to her, Falls came to her home in Charleston and began beating and choking her. He also had a gun, which he had displayed when she opened the door for him. In the 911 call made by a neighbor after the shooting, the escort told the dispatcher she did not know the man but he had wielded the gun at the door and said, “Live or die?”
In an interview with WCHS in Charleston (via CNN), the escort said, “I knew he was there to kill me. I could tell he had already done something, because he said that he was going to prison for a long time.” She said she had grabbed a rake to defend herself and when her attacker set his gun aside to take the rake from her, she grabbed his gun and ran, shooting behind her.
It is believed that Neal Falls could be connected to the disappearances and deaths of at least nine women. The FBI was called in to help with the case as well. The agency will also submit data to a national database that could shed light on other cases.
So far, police have found no criminal history for Falls, according to Detective Cooper. What they have found is that he was once a security guard in Oregon (where he was originally from) and that he had a record of several traffic offenses in various states. Still, according to the Gazette-Mail, Cooper was hopeful Falls’ DNA might tie him to other crimes.
“We are entering his DNA profile into CODIS, which is a national crime DNA database, to see if it matches any previous submissions from anywhere in the United States,” Cooper said. “If his DNA has been located in any other crimes and his profile was entered into CODIS, there will be a match.”