After Ex-Pastor's Murder-Suicide, Police Review His First Wife's Death in Cliff Fall
Greta Randall, whose husband Daniel killed their daughter and himself last week, died in fall off cliff
Maine State Police are taking a new look at the 1993 death of a woman whose husband, a former Congregational minister, shot his adult daughter last week before turning the gun on himself in an apparent murder-suicide, PEOPLE confirms.
Daniel Randall’s first wife, Greta, died after falling from a cliff at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, on July 3, 1993, Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland tells PEOPLE.
The agency has now asked Cape Elizabeth police and the medical examiner’s office to produce records of that earlier investigation.
“State Police have no plans to reopen that death investigation at this time, but are reviewing the investigative reports,” McCausland said in an email.
Police say Daniel, 56, killed his 27-year-old daughter, Claire Randall, in a bathroom at the family’s home in Hebron, Maine, on Thursday — the same day he checked out of an alcohol rehab facility after a 90-day stay.
Daniel learned earlier in the week that his wife, Anita, had filed for divorce.
Police say Daniel purchased a shotgun at a Maine gun shop hours before traveling to his home, and he spray-painted messages on the walls of five rooms at the residence before killing himself.
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Claire, a Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter recalled as “brilliant, talented, passionate and caring,” had been visiting Maine for the past few weeks to help Anita, Claire’s friend and co-worker Michelle Paul said in an email to PEOPLE.
Greta Randall is believed to be Claire’s biological mother, according to the police spokesman. “It is my assumption she was, but I have not followed the family tree to that extent,” McCausland says.
The review of Greta’s death 23 years ago is “standard procedure” when delving into a suspected murderer’s background and does not represent any red flags about that earlier death, McCausland says.
“We always look at a murderer’s background,” he says. “In this case that led us to the 1993 death of his first wife, along with interviews with family, friends and folks that he has been associated with over the years. That’s all part of a homicide investigation.”
“It’s a homicide regardless of whether he killed himself or not,” McCausland says. “We try to learn as much as we can, particularly when we know who committed the homicide.”
Asked if Daniel Randall had previously threatened Claire, McCausland says: “We would look into that, but about the only way we would know that is obviously through her stepmother, Anita, and her sister.”
He adds, “They have spoken with is, and continue to cooperate with us.” (Claire’s family could not be reached.)
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Claire had planned to return home last weekend to New York, where she worked as an education and training manager at Patron Technology, a customer relations firm that provides tech support for arts and nonprofit organizations. She also was a program associate for Resonant Motion, an organization focused on building connections between music and social causes.
“Claire’s professional passions lie in social services and education, specifically in relation to domestic violence prevention and substance abuse treatment programs,” states her bio on the Resonant Motion website.
A group of her friends described her in a joint written statement as a young woman who “was strong, brave, thoughtful, witty, had a quiet confidence and made everyone feel loved and valued at all times.”
Paul told PEOPLE, “It’s unthinkable that she’s gone.”