“Septic tank Sam” refers to a john doe found within a septic tank close to Tofield Alberta in 1977, guessed to be between the ages of 26-40 and 5ft 6.
It was April 13th, 1977, Mr and Mrs McLeod were out attempting to find a pump for their new septic tank. They decided to attempt to look for it within another older septic tank that they had on the property. Firstly, when they open the tank, they see a wool sock, then a brown shoe which was strange. However, then a leg was seen which was attached to the shoe.
The water had to be removed by hand; they were noted as using “ice cream containers” to remove the water, which took about an hour. Once the water was removed, the body was also removed. The term for the john doe would be “septic tank Sam”…. For the rest of this article, he will be known as Sam.
An autopsy was completed, which showed Sam’s suffering, his bones and teeth suggest him having an illness from the age of five. Sam had been tortured; he had been beaten, tied up, burned, sexually assaulted. The sexual assault was so severe that the coroners could not tell the gender of the individual straight away. His cause of death was from two gunshot wounds to the head and chest.
He had been covered in “quicklime” which may mean the killer may have had a way to obtain the chemical compound easily. The killer, however, may not have understood the correct way to use the chemical, Quicklime is used to dry out the body, it can be used to decompose the body however other chemicals do this a lot better.
Within this situation, the body was in a location of water. In this case an exothermic reaction, but the killer may not have used enough concerning the tank. Causing the body to be preserved rather than decomposed. Sam was wearing a grey t-shirt, a blue work shirt, brown shoes and blue jeans.
Due to a lack of evidence in the septic tank, Sam was most likely murdered elsewhere. Sam’s murderers are believed to have known him, due to how he had been killed. It is also suspected Sam’s murderer or murderers were locals, this was due to the dumping site. It was said that Sam had been in the tank from anywhere from four months to a year.
It was theorised that Sam may have been travelling through the area and was not a resident; this was due to nobody claiming dental work or identifying Sam as a whole. Forensic experts examined his skull and sculpted a clay model of his face, in addition to the clay sculpture, several composite sketches were drawn up and shared throughout the country.
Despite best efforts Sam was not identified, in 1979 he was exhumed to reconstruct the skull and bones. This was completed by Dr Clyde Snow, which indicated Sam was likely from aboriginal heritage and around 35 years of age. This also led people to believe he was a migrant worker. No evidence was found to suggest that he was murdered on the property itself. The investigation is still ongoing, with the collection of DNAs.
The residents of tofield at the time where horrified, farmers checked their septic tanks for bodies. Some theories were brought forward; however, none have been proved.
Theory number one.
Although no backing individuals from toefield, started to speculate that Sam was, in fact, a predator. However, if this were the reason people from the small town would have maybe spoken up regarding this event. Although if the residents from the town were too scared, this might not have happened.
Theory number two.
theory number two was related to sexual orientation and or infidelity, stating that the crime occurred due to an evil vendetta due to sexuality or the possibility of cheating. which may be why no leads have been found, due to the personal nature of the killing. no one may have known due to the possibility of only two people knowing about it, one of which is now dead.
Theory number three.
One theory states he could have been one of three missing men, Edward Arcand, chenel Dube, Etnest Pfaff.
Edward joseph arcand, was last seen leaving Coleman in 1969. His ford falcon was found in June or July of 1975. However, he was ruled out as being Sam, due to the fact Edward was missing 6 or more teeth and Sam’s teeth where mostly intact. Edward is still missing, if you have any information contact: RCMP- Crowsnest Pass Detachment (403-562-2866).
Chenel Dube, was last seen Montreal, Quebec on August 10, 1970. His vehicle a red 1964 Ford Econoline was found 3 days later in the parking lot of a restaurant in Ville St-Laurent. This person has not yet been ruled out and may be Sam. If you have any information, contact: Service de police de la Ville de Montréal: (514-393-1133).
Ernest Robert Pfaff went missing from Chatham, Ontario in 1973. Ernest left home at approximately 8 pm on December 31, 1973, to purchase a loaf of bread. He was driving a 1972 Ford Maverick, light blue in colour. This person has not yet been ruled out and may be Sam.
If you have any information regarding this case, contact Tofield RMP: (780)662-3353
Reference Case: 2012502446