Man charged with murder of missing Dalhousie student
Published Thursday, August 20, 2015 9:20AM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, August 20, 2015 6:51PM ADT
A Dalhousie University student who was just days away from starting medical school has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of another student at the school.
Taylor Samson, 22, was last seen at his residence in the 6000 block of South Street in Halifax at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
His friends said he was going for a walk when he left home, but he never came back, and he had left his car, keys and wallet at home.
Samson was reported missing to police around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
The investigation led police to arrest a man outside an address on Leaman Drive in Dartmouth around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“Investigators began to determine there may very well be some criminality related to this missing person,” said Tom Townsend, acting inspector for the Halifax Regional Police.
“It was very uncharacteristic of him not to be in contact with his family, not to be in contact with his friends.”
Investigators searched an apartment in the 1200 block of Henry Street, located a block away from Dalhousie University, on Wednesday.
According to court documents, the man accused in Samson’s death lives at the address.
“Last night police knock on the door at midnight to search the basement, then I know somebody is missing,” said Mao Tian, who owns a convenience store below the apartment.
Police believe Samson was murdered at the Henry Street address, although his body has not been found. Now that an arrest has been made, they say finding Samson’s body remains top priority.
“That obviously is the most important goal of the investigation right now, not just for the investigation itself, but for closure for the Samson family,” said Townsend.
William Michael Sandeson, 22, is facing a charge of first-degree murder in Samson’s death. Sandeson's lawyer appeared on his behalf in Halifax provincial court on Thursday.
Sandeson was remanded into custody and is due back in court on Sept. 2.
Police say the incident wasn’t random as Samson and Sandeson knew each other, but they won’t discuss a possible motive at this time.
Dalhousie University released a statement Thursday, confirming that Samson and Sandeson were students at the school and that they both lived off campus.
Samson was a third-year physics student while Sandeson was accepted to first-year medical school and would have started classes on Monday.
Sandeson also has a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from Dalhousie University and is a varsity athlete on the roster for the Tigers men’s track and field team.
“Dalhousie is devastated by this news,” said Dalhousie spokesperson Janet Bryson in a statement. “Our thoughts are with Taylor’s family and friends and the loss they have suffered.”
Samson’s fraternity, Sigma Chi, is also grieving the loss.
“The university has been very helpful in providing psychological services and support and the fellows have been very appreciative of that and are taking advantage of it,” said fraternity advisor Alan Williams.
Support and counselling is available for all Dalhousie students. Students can contact Dalhousie Counselling and Psychological Services at 902-494-2081.
Meanwhile, investigators are asking anyone with information about the case to contact them.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelly Linehan