08/22/2015 11:08 EDT | Updated 08/21/2016 05:59 EDT

Taylor Samson Murder: Police Search For Body As William Michael Sandeson Charged

Halifax Regional Police
HALIFAX — Police made fresh appeals for information Friday after charging a varsity athlete and prospective medical student at Dalhousie University with first-degree murder in the death of a physics student.  

Halifax police spokeswoman Theresa Rath said police were going door-to-door Friday seeking information from possible witnesses in an area just a few blocks north of the campus.

William Michael Sandeson, 22, a middle-distance track athlete who studied kinesiology, remained in custody after he was charged Thursday in the death of Taylor Samson, who was reported missing on Sunday.

Samson, a six foot, five inch former resident of Amherst, N.S., had lived in the Sigma Chi fraternity house, according to information released on social media when he first went missing at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.

In the days after Samson disappeared, friends and family put up posters around the neighbourhood in Halifax's south end and on Facebook seeking information.

On Tuesday, the nature of the case shifted when police arrested Sandeson.

Samson's remains have not been found and Rath said police are placing "a particular emphasis" in finding them.

Investigators are eager to hear if any witnesses saw either of the two men in the areas of Henry and South streets, a city block where many students live in apartments and fraternity houses.

A court document the police used to obtain a search warrant in the case had been sealed Friday morning when it was requested by The Canadian Press.

The Crown also obtained a temporary publication ban in provincial court on Friday preventing the reporting of the identities of certain people named in the now-sealed document to protect the ongoing police investigation and "the interests of innocent third parties." 

The ban says the Crown also plans to make an application for a further publication ban in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. 

But three media outlets who obtained the document before it was sealed reported that investigators alleged that the 22-year-old Samson was involved in a drug deal before his death.

None of the allegations in the document have been proven in court.

Rath said police wouldn't confirm any of the information from the court document because the investigation was still continuing. 

The media outlets reported that the document says police had "reasonable grounds" to believe there was marijuana in Samson's apartment.

The media reports say a source told police Samson left on Saturday night with a black duffel bag that the source believed contained the drug.

The reports also say the document quotes a source as telling police Samson sold marijuana for extra cash while he was in school. 

The media reports cite the document as saying police believed Samson was the victim of a "drug rip," and note the young man seemed nervous because he was carrying more drugs than usual — about two kilograms in total. 

The media reports quote the document as saying "with Samson meeting a new 'client' close to his residence and not returning when expected, the investigation (has) developed to believe that Samson was the victim of a 'drug rip' and those who did so have taken him to obtain more money or information he may have related to the drug trade, his supplier and further location where drugs being held."

Dalhousie University spokeswoman Janet Bryson confirmed that Samson was studying physics and that Sandeson was within days of beginning his first year at Dalhousie's medical school.

In a statement, the university says it is "devastated" by Samson's death and has offered counselling to any students who might be affected.


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