It was on the morning of December 8, 2016 when former pastor and Roger Williams University chaplain Dan Randall had completed his 90-day alcohol abuse program at Liberty Bay Recovery Center.
Those who have completed these programs can tell you that these are typically days of celebration, but they are also days that take on a somber tone as they desperately try to pick up the pieces of their life and mend the broken relationships their addiction had left in its wake. For Pastor Dan Randall, his story wasn’t much different.
In January of 2015, Pastor Randall stepped down as pastor for The First Congregational Church in Bristol. In a letter to his congregation he writes:
“It is with Greatest of Love for you that I wrote to you at this time. My family; Anita, Molly, Claire and Gabe have shared a wonderful spiritual journey with you for 12 years. You are dear to us all. You are a community of faith that has been on a remarkable and historic path in the last 12 years along with me. This is why my decision is so challenging at this time, but also is flavored with a hopeful and peaceful feeling.”
After his resignation from the church, Pastor Randall and his family relocated to Maine. The Randall family’s new neighbors could see signs that the pastor was struggling. Neighbor Carroll Daggett told The Washington Post that Randall was “a family man,” but also described signs that something about the former pastor was a bit off. He says that Randall “seemed to show signs of stress, at times struggled to make eye contact and often stopped talking mid-sentence.”
It is still unclear what drove Randall’s family to exile him from the home and force him to submit to a 90-day rehab program, but what is known is that immediately upon completing his program, Pastor Randall drove to a local shop and purchased a gun before driving to his former home.
Randall didn’t have keys to the house, but he was able to break into the garage. Inside the home he found his adult daughter Claire in one of the bedrooms and shot her multiple times. Finding the rest of the house empty, the former pastor then stepped out on what was once his front porch and shot himself.
Anita Randall, who had served Randall with divorce papers earlier in the week, had been attempting to reach Claire all morning and had become concerned that she was not answering her calls. Anita called up Daggett and asked him to go check on things at the house.
Inside the home, Daggett had begun to uncover signs that something was not right. Blood had splattered the walls and the kitchen counter top was spray painted with the words “Vow Breaker,” while a wall read “Anita, it’s all your fault.” It wasn’t until he saw the lifeless bodies that he understood what had occurred. Daggett quickly dialed 911, before phoning Anita and telling her that she needed to get home right away.
Claire Randall is survived by her mother Anita and siblings Molly and Gabe, as well as her boyfriend . She was valedictorian of Mount Hope High School in Bristol, Long Island. From there she attended Wesleyan University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music. Though the 37-year-old resided in New York, she had been staying with her mother for a few weeks when she was murdered by her father. The accomplished singer-songwriter had hoped that her music would somehow “aid in the upheaval of hatred and ignorance and their corresponding social implications.” She also worked closely with social service agencies through an organization called New York Cares. Friends have since remembered Claire as “the glue that held her friends and family together.”
Autopsy reports on both of the bodies are scheduled to be completed by Friday, December 16th.