A woman shot to death in Trenton, Mo., on Sunday had told a neighbor she was “scared” of her former boyfriend.
Rebecca Taul, 53, recently got a bulldog for companionship and protection.
Firefighters found Taul and the dog dead inside the burning home Sunday. Both had been shot, authorities later learned.
Taul’s former boyfriend, David M. Call, 50, of Kansas City, North, died Monday, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after authorities surrounded a house where he had taken refuge in Gentry County in northwest Missouri.
Taul recently had moved into the Trenton home.
“I asked if her boyfriend was going to be there with her, and she said, ‘No, because I’m scared of him and I don’t want him anywhere near me,’” said neighbor Mary Kinser, who had seen Call at the home several times.
Taul had asked Kinser to help her train a bulldog that she recently had acquired.
According to court documents, Taul had ended a relationship with Call. He appeared at her home in the 600 block of Grundy Street sometime after 6 p.m. Sunday.
Later that evening, a fire was reported at the home. After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters found Taul and the bulldog in the front room. Investigators recovered several spent .380-caliber shell casings on the floor.
Authorities with the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s office determined that the fire had been set. Autopsy results indicated that Taul had been shot several times and her dog had been shot once.
Call had been distraught over the breakup with Taul, according to court documents.
Investigators spoke with a person who said that Call told her what he had done and that “he was standing over a dead body and that he had ignited a fire so that no one would know what had occurred in the residence.”
Friends of Call told investigators that he always carried a .380-caliber handgun.
Kinser said she saw Call approach Taul’s home late Sunday afternoon. While she had seen Call there before, his presence Sunday unnerved her.
“It just didn’t feel right,” she said. “Call it a vibration I had, but I just really felt uncomfortable. I know she had told me she was afraid of him, but there was nothing legally I could do about it. So I just stayed inside my house.”
She did not hear any gunshots, Kinser said. She smelled smoke about 9 p.m.
“I live in an old house and I was worried that maybe it was the wiring,” she said. “I walked outside checking and I saw Rebecca’s house on fire and then the fire department was just pulling up.”
On Monday, as officers closed in, Call barricaded himself in a home east of McFall, Mo. He fired several shots at officers before a standoff began. About four hours later, officers entered the home and found him dead.
Call had been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, second-degree arson and abandonment of a corpse in the Trenton home fire.
In the 1990s, he had worked as a park ranger in Clay County.
Kinser said it was providential that she noticed Call going up to Taul’s home Sunday.
“God made sure that if I couldn’t save her life, I could at least ID who did this,” she said.