A murder-suicide in Hebron last week has prompted Maine State Police to re-examine old investigative records in the death of the shooter’s first wife.

The woman, Greta Randall, suffered fatal injuries in 1993 when she fell at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth. The death was ruled an accident. According to press accounts at the time, she fell while picnicking with her husband, Daniel Randall, and their two daughters, Claire and Molly, at the park over the July Fourth weekend.

Investigators are looking back on her death after determining that Daniel Randall, a pastor, shot and killed Claire Randall, 27, inside their Oxford County home last Thursday before turning a shotgun on himself.

State police do not intend to reopen Greta Randall’s case at this time but will review the investigative records, said spokesman Stephen McCausland.

“(His) first wife died, and the same person committed a homicide 23 years later,” McCausland said. “We always look into the background of someone who is a murderer in a murder case.”

The Portland Press Herald filed a request Monday for the investigative records in Greta Randall’s death. Because the records are now part of an active homicide investigation, the case, which is still considered closed, is not available for public viewing.

An Associated Press report in 1993 said a park ranger administered CPR to Greta Randall until police arrived. She was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she later died.

According to the story, police believed wet, slippery rocks contributed to her fall.

Cape Elizabeth Town Manager Mike McGovern said he recalled Greta Randall’s death as a bizarre accident.

“She only fell like 2 feet,” McGovern said. “It was a freaky thing at the time. She tripped and her head hit a rock a certain way, and hemorrhaged.”

She was pregnant, and the baby, named Lucas Barron Randall, was born three months premature and died the next day.

Greta Randall’s obituary said she was 32 at the time of her death, and that she had graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in music. She taught music in several schools, and was a voice and piano teacher during her family’s time in Saco, where she also was a member of the faculty at River Tree Arts in Kennebunkport and an avid runner. She and Daniel Randall married in 1982.

Daniel Randall, who was pastor at First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Saco at the time, took a two-month leave of absence after his wife’s death and then left the church in early 1994. He moved to Arizona and met Anita Randall, who became his second wife, before returning to the Northeast and taking a position at Lee Congregational Church in Lee, New Hampshire, according to the Saco church history.

Anita Randall declined to comment when contacted Wednesday.

Daniel Randall was estranged from his family when he was served divorce papers by Anita Randall last week. Police say he left Liberty Bay Recovery Center on Forest Avenue in Portland at 10 a.m. Thursday, having just completed a 90-day recovery program for alcohol treatment. He then bought a shotgun, drove to the house in Hebron and broke in through the garage door because he did not have a key. He killed his daughter at 2 p.m. and spray-painted messages in five rooms of the house before killing himself, state police said.

Anita Randall was not home at the time, but had called a neighbor to ask if he would check on Claire Randall because she hadn’t answered her cellphone. He found the messages sprayed on the walls and called police.

Claire Randall was found dead in the bathroom with multiple gunshot wounds. Daniel Randall, 56, lay on the porch, dead from a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head, investigators said. The state medical examiner confirmed that gunshot wounds were the cause of death for both.

McCausland said investigators have identified the gun shop where Randall bought the shotgun he used to kill Claire Randall and himself, but declined to identify it. He said the store owners are cooperating with the investigation.

McCausland said the gun purchase appears to have been legal and in compliance with all laws.


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: