For weeks I’ve been closely following a news story about a number of women who were found dead or missing in a small town in Southern Ohio named Chillicothe and the potential of a serial killer on the loose. Living in Ohio myself and being nearly the same age as some of the young victims, I was immediately interested in this case and knew I needed to write something about it. Unfortunately, breaking cases rarely make good articles and though I was still keeping an eye open for any new developments, I felt I had to wait a bit longer in order to have a genuinely good story.
That news finally came on July 18, 2015. A West Virginian prostitute identified only by the name “Heather” ran to a neighbor’s home screaming and clearly shaken. Heather said that a man she had met through the website Backpage.com – an online advertisement site similar to craigslist, but more accommodating to those looking to sell “adult services” – had knocked on her door and pointed a gun at her. She said the man gave her two options, “live or die”, before attacking the woman and attempting to strangle her. Heather fought off her attacker with a rake until Falls made the fatal mistake of setting down his pistol. Heather was quick to pick up the gun Falls had set down during the scuffle and shot behind her back. Falls was killed instantly.
After running to her neighbor’s home and making the 9-1-1 phone call, investigators arrived on the scene and made an unusual discovery. Inside Falls’ Subaru Forester was what they called a serial killer’s “kill kit”. A bullet proof vest, two sets of handcuffs, trash bags, a bottle of bleach, several knives, a sledgehammer, two large axes, and a throwing ax were among the items in Falls’ possession at the time of Heather’s attack. Within his pocket was a small yellow post-it note listing names and numbers of at least six other women Falls had intended to meet with. Some of these women were as far away as San Diego, CA, suggesting that not only could Falls potentially have been an active serial killer, but missing persons cases in at least 20 states could possibly be connected to him. There is little doubt that without Heather’s quick thinking, Falls would have gone on to kill a number of other women.
Shortly after Falls’ death, media speculation began to focus on Falls as the mastermind behind the murdered and missing women in Chillicothe, along with another group of female prostitutes in the Las Vegas area. These cases are currently under investigation and little is known on whether Falls had ever been in the Chillicothe area, though there is significant evidence which shows Falls had been residing in the Las Vegas area at the time of the women’s murders and disappearances.
I immediately began my research into Neal Falls, trying to find out any information I could about him and the murders he may have been connected to. Scouring Google for news was more or less and fruitless effort. What information was available was the same re-hashed story over and over. I knew someone had to have known this guy, but, for obvious reasons, were probably reluctant to speak with the media directly. I tried searching social media but even those efforts seemed to spin me around in circles, and all I found were the same articles I had already recovered through Google, with little new information on either Falls or the murders coming out.
That’s when I decided to start my own Facebook group. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone who had been associated with Falls would be willing to give us some additional details on who this man was and where he may have traveled. The Neal Falls Investigation group was born, and though it is mostly comprised of fellow amateur sleuths, we were able to not only track down some pretty interesting information on Falls, but managed to come into contact with a former co-worker who had worked with Falls during his time as a security guard at the Hoover Dam.
It was through him that I was able to gain some insight on this man, who is still largely an enigma within the mainstream media. The man, who I will refer to as David, declined a full interview, but did reveal that Falls would often arrive to work early and drive into Arizona. David said that he has no doubt in his mind that Falls may have been stashing bodies in the the Arizona desert. David claims that he and Falls maintained a somewhat friendly co-worker relationship, at times grabbing lunch together, but Falls’ behavior had never sat right with him and he and other Hoover Dam employees would joke that Falls was probably killing hookers. Little did Falls’ co-workers realize that their joke rang all too true.
Falls was limited to only working the Arizona side of the Dam check-point. According to David this was due to Falls’ poor dental hygiene and unfriendly demeanor with the general public. When I asked David if Falls had ever talked with him about weekend plans or any other sort of small talk that goes on between co-workers, David said that all Falls would ever discuss were weapons, military, police, and survivalist topics. David recalled that Falls was particularly interested in “going off the grid” and was known to collect weapons. One day, before the start of the weekend, a fellow Dam employee asked Falls what he was going to do that evening. Falls responded with “urban night ops”. Though David and the other employees involved in the conversation laughed off Falls’ bizarre answer to the question, in hindsight he believes that Falls probably wasn’t joking in light of recent revelations.
Falls would eventually be dismissed from his position as a Hoover Dam traffic control guard after a woman claimed he had sexually harassed her. Few of his former co-workers would know of Falls’ whereabouts until the news of him being fatally shot in West Virginia broke. David and his former co-workers were just as shocked and disturbed by the news as the rest of us, though none of them were particularly surprised to hear that Falls may have been a serial killer.
David directed me to a post he had made about the incident on his Facebook wall. He and other former Hoover Dam employees exchanged stories about Falls and some of what you’re about to read is downright disturbing. These screen captures of the post have only been altered in order to protect the identities of Falls’ former co-workers.
While this information doesn’t necessarily help investigators in cracking any of the unsolved murders or disappearances believed to be linked to the case, it does give us a few more pieces to the puzzle that was Neal Falls and what may have drove him to travel across the country in order to kill women he met online.
One final chilling piece of information that David shared with the group is that while working at the Hoover Dam, Falls had been in contact with a woman in the Philippians and believes there is a good chance he may have gone to visit her there. If what David has speculated is true, then we may have a man who not only could have committed murders across the United States, but foreign countries as well.
The story of Neal Falls and all of the unsolved cases he may be connected to are far from over and it is my belief that we may never know the full scope of Falls’ crimes. I will remain diligent in my own efforts to help provide any information I can in order to assist the families of the victims who are still unaccounted for in finding closure or to track down their missing loves ones. Until then we can only wait and see what new details emerge on this man who went to great lengths to hunt down prostitutes and murder them for his own sadistic pleasure.