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It's been more than 30 years since his killing, but the case has yet to be solved

Police say 26-year-old Scott Sampson was killed outside a variety store on Pine Street in Portland in the middle of the night on Nov. 13, 1990.

PORTLAND, Maine — Someone knows who killed Scott Sampson, but no one is talking.

On the night of Nov. 13, 1990, Portland police responded to 64 Pine St. in the city's West End for a report of a person laid out on the ground. Bystanders thought the person was intoxicated. When first responders arrived at the scene and checked for a pulse, they could not find one.

Sampson was dead.

One of his two sons, Shawn, was just 5 years old when it happened.

"I can't even recall when my mother or anybody sat me down and said, Hey, like your father's gone, you know? It's like I almost blocked that part out," Sampson said. "At that age, you shouldn't have to bury your parents. It affects you. You carry that for the rest of your life."

Every year around Nov. 13, Shawn and his family make a renewed plea to the media and Portland Police to cover the case and keep Scott's name in the news, hoping that someone will finally be brave enough to share what they know.

"You murdered somebody, and they had kids. And now those kids have kids, and you're not going to do anything. You're not going to say anything?" Sampson said.

"It's a torment. It tears your heart apart," Sandra Hill, Scott's sister, said. "My mother's dying wish was to find out who killed her son."

Portland police have not released any details about how Sampson died, only that investigators determined it was a homicide.

"It's important. Although it is [more than] 30 years old, this is a very active investigation for us, as with many of our cold case homicides," interim police Chief Heath Gorham said. "It's something that detectives are actively working and hoping to bring to a resolution."

Scott's family has investigated the case on their own, saving the homicide report and medical examiner's reports.

Here is how they recall the events of that night.

Shawn and Sandra say Scott, who was 26 at the time, was staying with a woman in Portland at her apartment. Around midnight, he decided he wanted to go home to his mother's house in Springvale, and went to 64 Pine St., then the location of Pine Street Variety, to call his mother and ask for a ride home.

"He ate a hot dog. He conversed with the clerk at the store. Apparently when he went outside, from what the clerk said, he looked like he knew the individual he was talking to," Shawn said.

Police would not shed any light on what they know about that person, citing the active investigation.

Police have not made any arrests. Gorham said they have interviewed some people of interest, but would not say how many, nor how many total people of interest they have in this case. Chief Gorham said they are still looking to speak with some others.

"We hold back certain facts of an investigation to ensure that witnesses or potential people of interest who are being interviewed don't have all the information that we have and it's key for our investigations," Gorham said. "It's important because as the information filters out, somebody may know something that only a person who was related to or involved with a crime may know."

Sampson's family shared portions of the medical examiner's report that say Scott had a stab wound. Portland police, however, would not discuss the details of how Scott was killed.

After 32 years, Scott's son, Shawn worries that police are not sharing enough information to get someone to come forward.

"No witnesses, no cameras, no DNA, no fingerprints, no murder weapon. What do you go with?" Sampson said.

"We have hope in every single one of our open homicides, and we will continue to work them until we have exhausted all of our options," Interim Chief Gorham said. "I have the utmost sympathy for all of the families who have a loved one who was killed and that we've not been able to bring resolution to it. And that's why we've dedicated such resources to it. I can't imagine living with that every day and what that must feel like, knowing that a person is out there who took one of your loved ones away and that they've not been brought to justice."

"Most people can't keep a secret for 15 minutes, let alone [32] years, you know? So somebody somewhere knows what happened," Sampson said.

If anyone has any information that could assist police in this case, Portland Police asks you to call them at (207) 874-8575.

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