Septic Tank Sam

Septic Tank Sam

Nicknamed Septic Tank Sam by investigators back in April of 1977 – who was the unfortunate soul that was found in the septic tank of a farmhouse just outside of Tofield?

The Tank

The farm in question was located about 42 miles southeast of Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. It was owned by a certain Mr. and Mrs. McLeod, but they had opted to leave it abandoned for some time.

They returned to the farm in April of 1977 to carry out some simple work on the location – to make sure the property didn’t run into complete disrepair.

As they were searching through the farm’s septic tank for the device’s pump, they stumbled across the dead body of ‘Sam’.

the dead body of 'Sam'.

Investigators were called to the scene and they immediately determined that the victim had been tortured to death. The body was decomposed to the point where they initially struggled to identify the gender of the victim.

They eventually came to the conclusion that the body was male and it belonged to man that was approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, and somewhere between 150-180 pounds.

He was discovered wearing a white t-shirt and a Levi shirt, a pair of jeans and Clark’s Wallabee shoes.

He had died when he was in his late twenties.


Nothing else was found in the septic tank – nothing to help the investigators with the identity of the body.

The victim had been disposed of in a septic tank – so foul play was an obvious conclusion. On top of this, his clothes and skin showed signs of burning – probably from a butane blowtorch used as a torture method.

the septic tank of a farmhouse just outside of Tofield

His hands had been tied together before his ordeal and his genital area had been badly mutilated – when his torture finished he was shot through the head and chest, before being ditched in the septic tank.

The man/men behind his murder attempted to cover up their tracks by adding a concoction of quicklime to the tank contents. This quicklime actually ended up working the opposite way – it managed to slow down the decomposition process due to the low level of water settling in the tank.

The Mystery of Septic Tank Sam

The hard work of the investigators on the case never really paid off – they could not find out the true identity of Septic Tank Sam.

Numerous artist’s impressions were put together and records were sent out to hundreds of dentists – no leads returned.

Recent theories suggest that the man could well have been a transient or a casual worker who was just passing through the area. There is also the possibility that the murder of Sam took place elsewhere, and the killer moved the body miles away to put the police off his scent.

The investigators at the time also believed that the killer had sufficient local knowledge of the area. The farm was well known, so everyone in the surrounding towns and villages would have been aware that is was near enough abandoned…

A perfect place to hide a body…

Forensic results eventually showed that Sam had been inside the tank somewhere between four months and a year.

Some people think he may have been mixed up with the mob, others believe he was a pedophile that had been caught in the act…leading to the sadistic mutilation.

What do you think?

What are your theories on Septic Tank Sam?

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here today, please leave them in the comment section below.

4 comments on “Septic Tank Sam

  1. Are your articles so boring that no one leaves a comment, or is there something wrong with the system which lets people write comments but never displays them? I suspect it’s the latter. Happy New Year anyway, Chris!

    1. Happy New Year Fred!

      No I’ve been off for a few days – taking a timeout to recharge the batteries! All the comments should be moderated and coming through now 🙂

  2. If the case is still open, I wonder if they’ve tried to do more modern in-depth testing on the evidence, like DNA testing, etc. From what I’ve heard that’s one of the things police try do to when investigating old cases, use modern methods to investigate that they didn’t have access to in 1977.

    1. Hi Angel,

      I actually came across a report linked to this article earlier today – it involved possible DNA testing. Gonna keep an eye on it and maybe cover it here in an article…

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