More than three years have passed since the family of Sammy McMellon Jr. received the news of his death. They still seek answers as to why the patriarch of their family life has his life cut short and body left in a Ferris landfill.
Workers at the Skyline Landfill in Ferris found Sammy on April 17, 2015. The death was ruled as accidental by the Dallas County Medical Examiner, but Ferris Police investigators feel it is far too suspicious and are treating it as a homicide.
Sammy made his home on Highway 80 between Las Vegas Trail and Interstate Highway 30 in Fort Worth.
Sammy's daughter, Angela McMellon, stated it has been difficult not knowing what happened to her father. She stated Sammy was in an out of housing over the years and life became difficult for him.
"I think that life just hit him hard. He and his three brothers were really close to each other. So when (Ronald) passed away it kind of hit him hard," Angela said. "That is where the drinking and stuff came in, and life just got tough on him."
Angela stated her father was always a happy guy who cared about people. Her understanding of the relationship Sammy had with the community makes the loss even more difficult for Angela to comprehend.
Driving in the old neighborhood is not easy for Angela, either, as memories of her father often flood back.
"It is very hurtful, and that connection is still there, and it pulls at me," Angela said. "What is crazy is that I would see somebody that is the same height as my father, and walk the same way. They won't be facing me, but they will have their back turned away from me. Then I remember it is not my dad."
Sammy's common-law wife, Patricia Johnson, stated the news of his death was not easy to hear.
"They had him since that Thursday, and we didn't find out about him until that Saturday evening," Johnson said. "(Angela) called me on the phone saying 'they found my daddy dead.' I heard it on the TV, but it didn't click because they didn't show any picture or say a name."
Johnson stated even though they were separated, the couple still had a good friendship. She doesn't understand why this would happen to Sammy and feels someone knows what happened.
"Everybody loved him. We don't understand what happened. We still haven't got any type of answer," Johnson said. "Since we had the wake and funeral we didn't hear any more."
Johnson stated the last sighting of Sammy was by a friend who saw him get into a white dually pickup truck with two white males.
"Right now we don't have closure," Johnson said. "It has been three years."
Detective Walter Weiss stated Sammy had an apartment at times but regularly lived on the street.
"When he had his apartment, he would feel sorry for the street people and would have them sleep in there. He was not always homeless," Weiss said. "He would get an apartment, and then he would lose it — usually it was for breaking the rules. The apartment people liked him because he was kind to other people."
Weiss stated Sammy was well liked by people in the area who got to know him from the odd jobs he did. It is unknown how he got into the dumpster.
"We began putting Sammy's last days together to see what happened to him by going over and talking with people, going places Sammy went and riding the dumpster routes with the trucks," Weiss said. "What we found on Sammy's last day was that he had been drinking heavily and just doing a lot of rough stuff."
Weiss stated Sammy showed up to a store where he had done work but was told to leave because he was acting too belligerent. His shoes were found by the store owner near a dumpster in the area. It couldn't be determined if that was the dumpster he was in at the time. Police also spoke with a friend of Sammy's, Gary Hunt, who told Ferris Police that they never gone into dumpsters and didn't seek shelter in them.
Weiss explained some of the trash from South Fort Worth does make it to Ferris due to it being moved into other trucks at a transfer station. He added the injuries inflicted on the body were due to time spent in the truck.
Angela encourages people to come forward if they have any information about the case to share it with police.
"Everybody has there issues and problems but despite all of that he was still a good person," Angela said. "He had a good heart and would not hurt a fly. He was a loving person that deserves justice."
People with information about the case can contact the Ferris Police Department at 972-544-2225. The department is located at 111 Ewing Street in Ferris. If you have information, but would like to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers of Ellis County at 972-937-7297.