Police believe Dal student may have been murdered over drug deal
Court documents indicate police believe a missing Dalhousie University student was murdered while making a drug deal in Halifax.
According to the Information to Obtain a Search Warrant, 22-year-old Taylor Samson went to sell marijuana to a new client the night he disappeared.
Samson left his home in the 6000 block of South Street around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He was reported missing around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
The documents state that one of Samson’s friends told police he seemed nervous about the meeting because he was selling four pounds of marijuana – a higher amount than usual.
Samson reportedly had asked many of his friends to go with him that night, but no one could go, so he went alone.
The documents also indicate that Samson’s mother confirmed to police that her son sold marijuana for extra cash while in school.
Dalhousie University student charged in Samson’s death
A 22-year-old Dalhousie University student has been charged in Samson’s death.
Police arrested William Michael Sandeson 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. Police believe Samson was murdered at the apartment, although his body has not been found.
According to court documents, Sandeson lives at the address.
Sandeson has been charged with 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.
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.
Friend of the accused hopes to start conversation about drug culture
“I knew him as a very different person than you would see from that shot of him holding his t-shirt over his face,” she says.
We’re protecting her identity because she fears for her safety.
She says she has known William Sandeson for more than a year.
“Will did not get into Dalhousie medical school on his first application,” she adds.
Just two years ago, Sandeson represented Nova Scotia at the Canada Games.
But his friend says when he didn’t get into Dal; Sandeson first went to a very pricey med school in the Caribbean.
“I do know that he had concerns about debts that were quite high.”
Sandeson’s friend wants to raise a larger conversation about what she calls the drug culture near campus, and near a daycare.
“There’s a street knowledge that marijuana is available from that frat house.”
She adds, “Next time this happens will it be in the middle of the day? Will there be a weapon? Is someone going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught in the cross fire? We have to draw a line somewhere and say that this is illegal and inappropriate and unsafe.”
She says she respects that people are grieving the loss of Taylor Samson.
“We can mourn the destruction of those two lives, we can also hold people accountable," she says.
Meanwhile, police won’t say whether they intend to lay more charges, and that finding Samson’s body remains a 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 Tom Townsend, acting inspector for the Halifax Regional Police.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact them.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelly Linehan & Kayla Hounsell