After 44 Years, Mounties Identify 'Septic Tank Sam'

Mutilated body was found on farm in 1977
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2021 6:15 PM CDT
After 44 Years, Cops Have Identified 'Septic Tank Sam'
The RCMP released this photo reconstruction in 1988.   (RCMP)

For 44 years, it has been one of Canada's most gruesome cold cases: The decomposing body of a man was found in a septic tank on a rural property in Alberta in April 1977. The victim—nicknamed "Septic Tank Sam by investigators—had been beaten, burned with a blowtorch or cigarettes, sexually mutilated so badly that it took investigators weeks to confirm the victim was a man, and shot before being dumped headfirst in the tank. The daughter of farmer Charlie McLeod says he made the horrifying find on his property near Tofield, southeast of Edmonton, when he was looking for a pump in the tank and found a shoe attached to a leg. Sources tell the CBC that the Mounties have finally identified the victim using genetic genealogy and plan to release his name Wednesday.

The crime has long haunted the rural community of around 1,800, the Globe and Mail reported on the 30th anniversary of the grim find. Locals, including McLeod's daughter, believe the killer or killers must have been familiar with the area, though the victim, believed to be a Caucasian man around 28 years old, was likely a transient. Retired Sgt. Ed Lammerts, who was in charge of the RCMP detachment at the time, said in 2007 that "if only we could just get the victim's name, we could maybe figure this out." But now, he says that even if the killer is still alive, he would be unlikely to face justice. "You going to send an 82-year-old guy to jail now?" he tells the CBC. "What do you do with an 82-year-old man that killed somebody 50 years ago?"

(More Canada stories.)

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