April 29, 2019 2:33 pm

Dark Poutine podcast recap: The story of Samantha Walsh

During their search for Samantha Walsh, the RCMP brought in divers to search under the ice of the Fleur de Lys harbour and used a helicopter with infrared sensors that can detect body heat.

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On this week’s episode of the Dark Poutine podcast, we hear the story of Samantha Walsh.

Story continues below

For 17 days starting on Feb. 6, 2000, nearly the entire population of the tiny town of Fleur de Lys, N.L., was out looking for 13-year-old Samantha Walsh. She had gone missing on a three-minute walk between her grandmother’s house and her own home. She was only wearing her pajama bottoms — not snow pants — in -25 C weather.

As soon as she was presumed missing, a search ensued that expanded to the surrounding streets, hillsides, nearby towns and throughout the far reaches of the province and beyond.

Initially, the RCMP treated Samantha’s disappearance as a missing persons case. They brought in divers to search under the ice of the Fleur de Lys harbour and used a helicopter with infrared sensors that can detect body heat. But there was no trace of the missing girl.

READ MORE: Dark Poutine podcast recap — The Halloween murder of Taylor Van Diest

As the days went on, rumours poured in, people were questioned and tips that raised false hope were eventually dashed when a 16-year-old boy, Michael John Victor Lewis, a supposed childhood friend and neighbour, confessed to her murder.

Lewis picked up Walsh on an ATV and drove her to a nearby cabin. He wanted sex and when she fended off his advances, he strangled her and buried her body in the snow. For almost three weeks, Lewis stayed silent about the murder and even helped with the search for Walsh before confessing and leading police to her.

READ MORE: Dark Poutine podcast recap — Colin Thatcher and the murder of JoAnn Wilson

Her body was found by RCMP just five kilometres from town behind the cabin near a small stream. It was an area that had been searched dozens of times.

Lewis was convicted of murder in the case. Samantha’s parents, George and Millie Walsh, often spoke publicly about their desire to prevent Lewis from getting parole. Despite the Walsh family’s campaign and after rejected appeals, day parole for Lewis was approved in the fall of 2011 and full parole in 2013.

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Sources:
Into the Night: The Story of Samantha Walsh by Gordon Walsh
Saltwater Joys as sung by 10-year-old Samantha Walsh
Article about Fleur De Lys
newfoundlandandlabrardor.com — Iceberg Viewing
“The Story of Samantha Walsh” — Telegram article
“Murder charge devastates remote hamlet” — Globe and Mail article

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