After a 90-day stint for alcohol abuse, Daniel Randall left a Portland, Maine, rehabilitation center on December 8th and drove towards his wife’s home in Hebron, one hour away…stopping to buy a shotgun on the way.
But alcohol abuse wasn’t Randall’s only problem: His wife, Anita Smith, had filed for divorce during Randall’s last week of rehab.Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube
Now family and friends are concerned that the former Air Force and Roger Williams University chaplain might have gotten treatment for the wrong issue…he may have suffered from PTSD.
According to his neighbor, 71-year-old Carroll Daggett, Randall was “very pleasant” and “a take-charge, family-type person”, but that he also showed signs of stress or possibly PTSD — noting lack of eye contact in addition to starting sentences but then not completing them.
After buying the shotgun, Randall drove straight to his wife’s house — where his son and daughter were also living — and broke in through the garage.
His 27-year-old daughter, Claire, was the only one home at the time, and officials reported that she was shot multiple times.
The valedictorian of her high school, Claire was a beautiful singer, among other things. Here’s one of her moving performances:
When Anita kept trying — and failing — to reach Claire by phone, she called their neighbor Carroll Daggett to go check on her.
Daggett told the Portland Press Herald that he drove up to the house and saw leftover gruesome Halloween decorations from October– including what looked like a man’s body lying facedown on the enclosed porch, blood splatters in a window, and cracked glass.
It wasn’t until he walked into the kitchen that he realized something terrible had happened. He saw the words “Vow Breaker” spray painted on the kitchen counter top, along with “Anita it’s all your fault” on the adjacent room’s wall.
He then realized the body on the porch was not a decoration, and dialed 911… then left Anita a chilling voicemail:
“I told her, ‘Claire is not answering, and if you could come home, I suggest you come home.’”
Randall wrote messages on the walls on five separate rooms; Claire’s body was found in an upstairs bathroom.
Randall had previously lost a wife and baby on 1993’s Fourth of July weekend. His wife was six months pregnant at the time when she died from a slip and fall accident.
After leaving the church where he was working, he moved to Arizona. That’s when met Anita, and then joined the Air Force.
In addition to being a chaplain for the Air Force and a university, Randall served as a pastor for 12 years at First Congregational Church in Bristol, Rhode Island. But in 2014, he resigned — although his resignation letter never stated exactly why he was leaving. He wrote, in part:
“…My decision is so challenging at this time, but also is flavored with a hopeful and peaceful feeling.”
It’s unclear whether or not Randall was ever diagnosed or treated for PTSD or severe stress. But his neighbor’s opinion that he might have been suffering from one or the other may explain why he suddenly snapped after exiting rehab.
According to the Veterans Administration’s National Center for PTSD, one should seek help if they’re experiencing symptoms that last longer than three months, cause severe stress, and/or disrupt life at work or home.
One may also have difficulty concentrating, which could possibly explain what Daggett described — Randall starting but not finishing his sentences.
If you, or anyone you know might be suffering from PTSD, please inform a physician, or call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.