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 sdolan@pressherald.com
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

Additional Photos Below

"It's very peaceful," Schmutte said. "It was a shock to everyone."

Schmutte said police interviewed her, as they did the other tenants, but she heard nothing the night Samantha Folsom died.

Folsom's next-door neighbor, Crystal Murphy, said the apartments at Place Ste. Marie are so close together that everyone knows each other's business. The front door of the apartment where Murphy lives with her three young boys is only about 10 feet from Folsom's.

"Her boy was the same age as my middle boy," Murphy said. "She'd let him out to play, and I'd let my boys out to play."

Murphy said she first learned about Folsom's death when her eldest son, then a first-grader, came home from school and told her that "police were everywhere."

Police questioned Murphy, who said officers showed her a photo of a man and asked if she had seen him.

"They didn't give me a name," Murphy said. She was not shown any other photos.

Murphy said she remembers the man in the picture: He was well-dressed, wearing a button-down shirt and tie. He also wore an identification badge around his neck, she said.

"He is a man who must obviously be in some position of authority," Murphy said. She described the man in the photo as dark-skinned and appearing to be in his late 20s or 30s.

Murphy said she knew Folsom had been away for some time in the months before she died. Folsom had gone into rehab -- to become fit again to be a mother to her son, she said -- and then kept to herself when she returned.

"It's extremely unfortunate," Murphy said. "It's definitely not something she deserved."

On the day his estranged wife died, Jesse Folsom was in jail. After he and Samantha separated, he started getting in trouble with the law, mostly motor vehicle offenses in the beginning. But Samantha started dating another man after they separated. Jesse Folsom assaulted that man and was serving time in jail for that attack at the time of her death.

He was told of her death on Nov. 9, the day she was found, at exactly 10:38 p.m., he said. The news hit him hard.

"I've never felt something like that in my life," he said.

Since 2010, Jesse Folsom said, he has stayed clean and drug-free.

POLICE: 'WE HAVE SOME LEADS'

Neither Lewiston police nor Maine State Police will say much about the hunt for Samantha Folsom's killer.

Lewiston Police Lt. Detective Michael McGonagle said the investigation into her death is open and active.

"We're still investigating it. We're working with the Maine State Police detectives," McGonagle said. "We have some leads."

He deferred further comment to the state police. Steve McCausland, the Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman, declined to say anything about the investigation other than to confirm that the case had been considered a homicide long before that was announced.

"We had never publicly announced that until recently," McCausland said, adding that it was designated a homicide at the beginning of the year.

The public acknowledgment coincided with the first anniversary of Folsom's death, but police aren't releasing any other information.

"We've said very little about the case and continue to do so," McCausland said.

He would not say whether police have identified any suspects or a motive. He also declined to say how Folsom died.

"The Medical Examiner's Office is not releasing any information on this case at the request of the Attorney General's Office," McCausland said.

Folsom's parents said it is frustrating to wait and not learn anything new about how their daughter died or who is responsible for her death.

Jon Turner said he hopes his daughter's killer is found and brought to justice, but he and Joline take solace in other things.

"We just keep our faith in God that he'll take care of it on his end," he said. "Sammy's in a better place. At least we know where she is." 

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at

sdolan@mainetoday.com

 

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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.

Family photo

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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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