Update: ‘Anita, it’s all your fault’: Pastor’s message to wife before killing his daughter and himself

Updated 2:32 p.m.: HEBRON — Police said that the minister who killed his daughter and then shot himself Thursday at a home on Marshall Pond Road had been served with divorce papers earlier this week.

Daniel Randall, 56, shot his 27-year-old daughter, Claire Randall, multiple times with a shotgun in the bathroom of the family home before shooting himself in the head, according to State Police.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta said that Claire Randall died from multiple gunshot wounds, while Daniel Randall died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Randall left the Liberty Bay Recovery Center on Forest Avenue in Portland at 10 a.m. Thursday, bought a shotgun, drove to the family home on Marshall Pond and killed his daughter just before 2 p.m., according to State Police.

He had completed a 90-day recovery program two days prior to leaving the Liberty Bay Recovery Center.

Police said that Randall had been estranged from his family and did not have a key to the home. He broke into the house through a garage door.

State Police said that he had been served with divorce papers earlier this week.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said that Randall had spray-painted messages to his family in all five rooms of the house before shooting himself.

One neighbor told reporters that the words “vow breaker” were spray-painted on a wall, as well as other messages.

McCausland said that police are currently tracking where Randall bought the gun.

According to State Police, Claire Randall had recently moved from Rhode Island to stay with her mother, Anita, and her teenage brother at the Marshall Pond Home.

Her mother and brother were not home at the time of the shooting.

At about 2 p.m., Oxford County deputies arrived on the scene after a man was reported dead on the porch of the massive two-story house, State Police Sgt. Mark Holmquist said Thursday night. The body had been reported by a neighbor who had gone to the home to check on the occupants.

According to Hebron tax records, the home is co-owned by Randall and his wife, Anita K. Randall.

McCausland said that the family had moved to Maine from Rhode Island earlier this year.

According to tax records in Bristol, Rhode Island, the couple also jointly owned a five-bedroom home on Lisa Lane. The Providence Journal reports that the home was sold in August.

Daniel Randall was an affiliate pastor with Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, from 2009 to 2012 and grew up in Sheldon, Iowa. 

He attended the University of Northern Iowa, where he met his first wife, Greta. After he graduated from Yale University Divinity School and was ordained, Randall served as an associate minister in Zion’s Reformed Church in Greenville, Pennsylvania, according to a newsletter from the First Parish Congregational Church United Church of Christ in Saco, where he served later in his career.

According to that newsletter, Randall began his ministry in Windsor, Wisconsin, with Greta and their two daughters, Claire and Molly. He moved to the Saco church in February 1993 and served there until July 1994, leaving after his wife died.

According to the Saco church’s newsletter, “Greta Randall died after suffering injuries in a fall at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth on July 3.” She was six months pregnant at the time, and the child — Lucas Barron Randall — died a day later.

After a two-month leave, Rev. Randall moved with his daughters to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he met and married Anita Kimball.

A year later, the family moved to New Hampshire, where he served as minister at the Lee Church, UCC for seven years. The couple had a son in 2001.

According to the Saco newsletter, Randall joined the U.S. Air Force reserves and was called to active duty as chaplain in 2002.

That same year, he was named pastor at the First Congregational Church in Bristol, Rhode Island, serving there until December 2014.

In a farewell speech to the congregation, Randall thanked the church community for sharing a “wonderful spiritual journey” with him, his wife Anita, and his children, Molly, Claire and Gabriel.

The two older children were confirmed in that church, according to Randall’s speech.

His resignation was effective January 2015.

He thanked the congregation, and noted some of its accomplishments under his leadership, including the creation of the East Bay Food Pantry.

His wife and daughter Claire were active in the church, including a music ministry event Claire organized in 2014, with proceeds to benefit the Community Spring Project, a nonprofit that offers affordable and accessible violin, viola, cello and bass lessons to local children and adults.

Anita Randall is a graduate of Oxford Hills High School and grew up in Waterford.

McCausland said that detectives and evidence technicians were at the scene late into Thursday night, and will continue their work throughout Friday.

Executive Editor Judith Meyer contributed to this report.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: