November 24, 2012

Who killed Samantha? A year later, friends and family still don't know

Police have released few details about the single mother’s slaying in Lewiston, and only recently revealed her death had long ago been ruled a homicide.

By Scott Dolan
Staff Writer

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Samantha Folsom holds her kitten, Gadget, in this 2010 photo.

Family photo

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Folsom’s parents, Jon and Joline Turner, talk on Thanksgiving morning about the day last year when they found their daughter dead, and the toll it has taken. “It felt like someone had punched me,” Joline Turner said. Investigators ruled Folsom’s death a homicide early this year.

Scott Dolan/Staff Writer

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"She was really popular," her father said.

In school, Folsom always stuck up for kids who couldn't defend themselves. She always rooted for the underdog, her parents said.

She loved animals, too. In second grade, she brought home her first cat, Moo Moo. Now 20 years old, Moo Moo is still part of the family, sitting on the couch between Folsom's parents as they talked. Later, there were more cats, some of which live with her father now and others at her mother's apartment.

Folsom also loved music, especially the rap group Insane Clown Posse, but she even liked the disco music that her parents listened to.

"She was really funny," said Sam York, her best friend from high school, who now lives in Colorado. "She was a fun person to be around. She didn't want anyone to be sad."

After high school, York set her up on a blind date with Jesse Folsom, who was a year younger than she was, at the Schemengee's pool hall in Lewiston. Within weeks, they were a couple.

Jesse Folsom finished his high-school equivalency with help from the Turners and joined the Army. Samantha and Jesse married on Dec. 29, 2005, and moved to Fort Irwin in Barstow, Calif., where he was stationed.

"It was kind of a rush wedding," said Jesse Folsom, who now lives with his family in Buckfield. "We didn't have much money. I had just finished basic (training)."

When they moved to California, he said, they were excited to leave Maine. In photos from that time, Jesse is clean-cut, with a military bearing. Samantha smiles in every picture.

"We got out," he said. "We had our own life. We had a house."

They traveled frequently to Las Vegas. They walked along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. There were cookouts at the Army base.

But they also started using heroin, and Samantha got hooked.

"Sam was a good soul," her father said. "She really was a good girl, but she was addicted to a really bad drug."

Along with the bad came one of the best moments of Jesse Folsom's life: The young couple had a son, born in June 2008.

"That was one of the best times of our life," he said.

But it all fell apart when they moved back to Maine in 2009. Jesse Folsom wanted to return to his home and family, but Samantha wanted to stay in California. He left active duty in the Army but stayed in the Army Reserves, he said. They lived with the Turners in Greene for a while until their marriage failed and they separated, although they never followed through with a divorce.

"Drugs are a bad thing," Jesse Folsom said. "It's the one thing that really ruined us."

Initially, their son lived with Samantha Folsom as she moved into her apartment at Place Ste. Marie, but as she struggled with her addiction and rehab, the Turners took over the care of their grandson.

"She loved that little boy," Joline Turner said. "She loved him enough to give him up."


Place Ste. Marie at 64 Oxford St., the apartment complex where Samantha Folsom lived and died, has two identical buildings. Folsom lived in apartment S3E, one of nine apartments on the third floor.

Kitty Schmutte, a retiree, has lived in apartment S2C, directly below Folsom's apartment, for 13 years. She said she was shocked when she heard Folsom had been killed in the building.

"I heard nothing, no arguments, no fights, nothing," she said.

She said Folsom was always neighborly, and often the loudest noises in Place Ste. Marie were the sounds of children playing.

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Additional Photos

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The apartment complex where Samantha Folsom lived is called Place Ste. Marie, located at 64 Oxford St. in Lewiston.

Scott Dolan/Staff Writer

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Folsom’s next-door neighbor, Crystal Murphy, stands in the doorway of the apartment where Folsom was killed. She says everyone in the complex knows each other’s business.

Scott Dolan/Staff Writer

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Folsom holds her son in 2008. “That was one of the best times of our life,” Jesse Folsom said.

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Folsom photographed this image of her husband, Jesse Folsom, herself and their son at a time when they were all living together in California.

Family photo

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Samantha Folsom, center, appears with her parents, Jon and Joline Turner, in this 2002 photo.

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