A West Virginia woman is lucky to be alive after an encounter with a man who attempted to take her life, resulting in his own death. According to a July 22 report by WCHS-TV8, Neal Falls, a 45-year-old man from Eugene, Ore., was shot and killed with his own gun after a struggle with an unidentified female victim at her home on Saturday. What police discovered in the suspect’s car has investigators thinking they may be dealing with someone who has attacked women and possibly killed before.
Falls and the woman had arranged to meet through a website called Backpage that is used by escorts to post ads. According to the victim she knew something was wrong from the moment the man arrived at her door around 3 p.m., and immediately began the attack saying “Live or die.”
In an interview with KPTV, the victim, who had just been released from the hospital for after being treated for broken vertebrae and lacerations suffered in the attack, recounted the harrowing experience, saying: “I knew he was there to kill me.” The victim said Falls then began to strangle her while holding her at gun-point. During the struggle she grabbed a nearby rake which the suspect then tried to wrestle from the woman. When he put his gun down to use both hands the victim was able to grab it and fire once, killing Falls. She then ran from the house to a neighbor’s where a chilling 911 call was made.
According to the Huffington Post the list of items found on the suspect and in his car have led investigators to think Falls may be involved in other unsolved crimes across the nation and possibly linked to the deaths and disappearances of six Ohio women. Lt. Steve Cooper of the Charleston, West Virginia police department said the suspect had a list of women from Backpage in his car and several other disturbing items in what may have been a “kill kit,” including bleach and dirty hiking boots. Falls had four sets of handcuffs in pockets when he died and no money, leading authorities to believe he had no intentions of paying for the victims services.
“He had a machete, shovel, two axes, a bunch of knives, a double-headed ax, a bulletproof vest, numerous sets of handcuffs, as well as the firearm used to kill him,” Cooper said. “The stuff that we found is so alarming that we want law enforcement across the country to be aware of it.”
Little is known about Falls, aside from the fact he once worked as a security guard, and that he hasn’t had contact with his family since his mother died in January. While the Huffington Post was able to track down one of Falls’ six siblings ,his sister Joanna Olah, who was unaware of his death. Authorities were initially unable to locate any next of kin.
“We have examined as many investigation avenues as we can and have not been able to come up with much information about him,” Cooper said. “It does not appear he had a residence and we’ve done a thorough background and the only family members that come up are either deceased or unable to be found. We’ve got very little information on this guy. It’s almost like he was a ghost.”
Authorities are just beginning their investigation into Falls. His DNA will be ran through CODIS, the national law enforcement database. While it’s not known what may be uncovered during the investigation, there is some reassurance in the fact that Falls will not be checking any names off of his list or putting the items found in his vehicle to use, all thanks to the survival instincts of the victim.