CHARLESTON- Monday marks one year since Charleston escort, Heather Saul, shot and killed alleged serial killer Neal Falls. The shooting was deemed to be in self defense and Saul was not charged.
Now Charleston investigators are working with police departments across the country linking Falls to several missing person and murder cases.
When Neal Falls showed up at Heather Saul’s house on July 18th, she thought it was for their meeting set up on a Backpages– a site used to organize sexual exchanges for money.
“He walked in her house armed, I mean that’s the first thing he did is he got maybe 2 steps into the door and said ‘live or die’,” explained Maryclaire Akers, an Assistant Prosecutor in Kanawha County.
The two struggled and Heather grabbed Neal’s gun, and killed him.
“She didn’t set out to do that that day,” Akers added.
“Mr. Falls got what he deserved and for once the victim prevailed,” Chief Detective Lt. Steve Cooper told 13 News.
Police discovered handcuffs, zip ties, axes and bleach in his car, as well as a list of 10 names of West Virginia and California women. Investigators believe Falls was intending to go on a killing spree.
Lt. Cooper is now working with police departments in 6 states to determine if Falls may have kidnapped or killed other women.
“When you have a victim and you go looking for a suspect, it’s a lot easier than when you have a suspect and then you’ve got to go find victims. So we’re working backwards in this case,” Lt. Cooper said.
Falls lived in Las Vegas at the time when 4 escorts went missing. Police there believe Falls killed them but the case is still open.
“Just because they live high risk lifestyles doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve the same protections as everyone else. No one has a right to take someone’s life, no matter what they’re engaged in,” Akers added.
“They’re easier targets for someone like Mr. Falls who would be a predator or someone whose main sexual desire is to hurt or kill women,” Lt. Cooper told 13 News.
Akers said this case also sheds light on online safety concerns. She advises to never post personal information online, including your address or stating when you will be out of town. She also suggests never agreeing to meet up with a person you’ve only spoken to online.