Heather Saul is smoking cigarettes on her sofa with her white wire-haired dog Fancy in the West Virginia heat, texting on the phone the police took from her on that day last July when she was almost killed.
She gets a message from Lt. Steve Cooper, Charleston Police Department, asking if it’s OK if some women from his church come over and check on her. Cooper worked the case, investigating the man who came to kill her, Neal Falls.
When police searched Falls’ car, they found a King James compact reference Bible, a road atlas, a Crown Royal bag containing 10 white dice, and a half-dozen empty Subway sandwich bags. According to Cooper, Falls had “several axes, a shovel, a bulletproof vest, numerous handcuff keys, a container of bleach, a large cache of trash bags, other cutting instruments — knives and box cutters. A sledge hammer.” There was a duffel bag, and in it, five identical sets of clothes: black T-shirts, black cargo pants. A machete, packing tape, and a black blanket. There was a Rubbermaid tub: one so big officers noted a woman could fit inside it.
On the driver’s side floor was the most significant piece of information Neal Falls left behind. Printed on the reverse side of a Kanawha County Public Library computer pass, in careful grade-school pencil lettering, were the telephone numbers, first names — Alyssa, Armani, Trinity, Sara, Alley, and Sylvia — and ages of six women. Because of Heather, they survived.
“An Escort Killed Her Client In Self-Defense — Then Came The Aftermath,” Melissa Gira Grant for BuzzFeed (March 30, 2016)