A good parent will do whatever they can to help their child. Sometimes that means making the tough decisions that your child won’t like but is truly what they need the most.
When a mother and father from Ohio realized their daughter was getting involved with the wrong crowd and getting into trouble, they tried to turn her into the police and even asked them to arrest her to help get her back on the right path. Unfortunately, help arrived too late and now those parents are begging for justice to be served for their daughter.
A Happy Childhood
According to Ohio parents Joni Jackson and John Guthrie, their daughter, Samantha Guthrie, had an ordinary childhood. Though they are now divorced, the couple explained they worked hard to raise Samantha and their three other children to be good people.
A Good Kid
According to the divorced parents, Samantha had been incredibly kind all of her life. She went out of her way to help people and wanted to help anyone she could. “It didn’t matter if you were wearing a suit or a plastic bag,” Jackson told the Akron Beacon Journal about her daughter.
A Proud Parent
Jackson explained that her kids always gave her reason to be proud. On one occasion, Samantha and her brother, John Guthrie II, went out the night John got his driver’s license. Instead of going to the mall or getting into trouble, the pair went and handed food that they had taken from their pantry out to people in need.
A Promising Future
“That’s the way they were raised, to help others,” Jackson said about the good deed. When Samantha was in high school, she was on the basketball team, acted in several school plays, and was even on the wrestling team for two years. At the time, Jackson and Guthrie thought Samantha was on track to go to college. The teenager had expressed interest in studying nursing. In particular, she was interested in studying neonatal nursing.
The Part-Time Job
However, at some point, all of those dreams and plans for the future got derailed. According to the couple, it all started when Samantha got a job working part-time at a fast-food restaurant. They thought the job would help teach the teenager about hard work and the value of money.
A Bad Influence
Unfortunately, the job exposed Samantha to a group of older teenagers who she quickly became friends with. According to Jackson and Guthrie, their daughter’s new group of friends became a very bad influence on her and introduced her to drugs around the age of 16.
Trouble With The Law
In the months that followed, Samantha was arrested as a juvenile for drugs four times. According to the teenager’s parents, they didn’t try to fight the arrests. Instead, they wanted her to be charged in the hopes that the law would set Samantha straight.
Desperate For Help
Samantha had completely stopped listening to her parents, so they hoped that the courts would put her in an inpatient drug treatment center. Her parents also suspected she was using meth. Because of how addictive the substance is, the parents knew Samantha needed more help than they could give her.
In And Out Of Jail
If it was ordered by a court, the parents believed Samantha would have no choice but to comply with their rules and get better. Unfortunately, that never happened. “And they just kept releasing her from jail. I tried to get her arrested,” Jackson told News 5 Cleveland.
The Court’s Decision
“They wouldn’t take her to jail,” Jackson explained. “They’d just write her a ticket and said, ‘Oh, bring her to court.'” Instead, Samantha was ordered into a four-month outpatient program. Jackson and Guthrie knew that an inpatient program would be better, but they still had hope that any intervention could help.
Signs Of Progress
In the beginning, Samantha seemed to be responding well to the outpatient program and her parents were thrilled that she was actually making progress. The teenager was passing her drug tests and actually enjoyed going to her appointments. Sadly, that didn’t last long.
A Legal Adult
When Samantha turned 18, she was technically an adult under Ohio law, which meant that the juvenile courts lost jurisdiction over her. To make matters worse, her parents lost all legal power to intervene. Shortly after her eighteenth birthday, Samantha stopped attending her outpatient program and moved out of her father’s house.
Life On The Streets
According to Jackson and Guthrie, Samantha started losing weight and she continued getting in trouble with the police over drugs. After she moved out of her father’s house, she began living on the streets even though friends and family members offered to let her stay with them.
At some point, Samantha ended up staying at an abandoned house in Akron, Ohio, where drug addicts and dealers would often meet and stay. According to her parents, that rundown house was the last place Samantha was ever seen alive on November 4, 2018.
The Phone Call
That day Guthrie received a call from someone who knew Samantha. They claimed she was being beaten and robbed at the abandoned house. Guthrie immediately went to the police for help. Officers went to the address as soon as they could, but without a warrant, they were forced to leave when no one answered the door.
The Search Begins
A few hours later, Guthrie received another call from the person who claimed Samantha was dead. They explained she had been shot in the house and that her body was shoved into a trunk of a car. Over the next few weeks, Jackson, Guthrie, and the police looked everywhere for the 18-year-old.
Identifying The Suspects
They weren’t sure if she was actually dead and hoped to save her if she were still alive. If not, the family needed to have her body for closure. During the search, police managed to arrest several people who had been in the abandoned home the day Samantha was allegedly killed.
A Disturbing Discovery
Several weeks later, Samantha’s body was found dumped in a wooded area in New Franklin, which is about nine miles south of Akron. According to police, the teen had been shot in the head and the gunshot wound was determined as the cause of death.
Hoping For Justice
Two of the suspects, 39-year-old Danny Hamby and 31-year-old Toni Kenney, were already in custody for Samantha’s disappearance. When they had enough evidence, police charged the two with her murder. Two others have also been arrested and charged in relation to the crime. While Samantha’s parents now hoping to get justice for their daughter, they can’t help but question why Hamby, who was a registered sex offender and had been in prison 11 times since 1998, was still on the streets.
A Broken System
“The system needs changing. Everyone’s worried about everyone’s human rights and how people feel,” Jackson said. “How does Samantha feel?” Jackson and Guthrie are now hoping her killers will get the death penalty to pay for taking their daughter’s life. “People need to start putting harsher sentences on criminals,” Jackson said. “I believe the justice system failed Samantha,” Guthrie told News 5 Cleveland. “Everyone says children are our future and they took my future and they need to pay for it. I loved my daughter very dearly. I’ll never get to walk her down the aisle or anything.”