Six years later, Rickem Samuels’ murder remains unsolved

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 1:00 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Rickem Samuels’s mother, Ericka Davis, remembers her son as a good kid. Smart, respectful, and hardworking.

All of that was taken away from her when he disappeared.

“Rickem had a heart of gold,” Ericka Davis said. “I can’t even remember a time in Rickem’s life when he was ever disrespectful or ever talked back to me. He just wasn’t that type of person”.

Never disrespectful, she said, but he was determined. Originally from the Brewton area, Rickem’s mother said they relocated to the Capital City when he was a teenager. She wanted her sons to have better opportunities and Rickem wanted to wrestle.

“They didn’t have a lot of wrestling teams down there in Brewton and no jobs down there. So, I decided let’s move to Montgomery, better jobs, better opportunities,” she said. “He ended up at Carver High School where he had a wrestling coach, his teammates, he loved it. Wrestling was his passion”.

Rickem graduated from Carver and went on to work in the Montgomery area. Like everything in his life, he was loyal to his job and determined to succeed.

“He graduated from Carver and eventually when on to work at Hyundai Glovis and he was dedicated to them,” Davis said. “He didn’t believe in missing work. He was always there. We go to work basically all week and he would be off on Saturdays. Then Sunday, they’d start back up again”.

Davis believes her son met his murderer on the job. On April 2, 2016. Samuels disappeared. Davis was on the road, heading back home from a wedding, when she got a bad feeling.

“I got a bad headache, and I remember thinking, I got to get home. As I was coming down I-18, I began to call Rickem because I hadn’t heard from him. That’s when his phone started going to voicemail,” Davis said.

Davis, Rickem’s brother, and other family members kept calling his phone. Eventually, Ericka filed a missing person report with the Montgomery Police Department. She also started doing her own detective work, including calling Verizon Wireless and pulling text messages and phone calls from Rickem’s cell. She also organized a search party and one person, in particular, reached out to help, Rickem’s coworker Nannette Thomas.

“She was telling me that she was going to get to the bottom of this and that she was going to start asking questions. And I believe she began asking questions…and that’s why she disappeared,” Davis said.

Nannette Thomas came to Ericka’s house to help find Rickem, but before she could help, Nannette also disappeared. Montgomery police say that Samuels’ case and Nannette Thomas’ case are not connected. But Davis doesn’t believe it.

“They were on the same line, and that was his team leader. I truly feel like they’re connected because I know what she told me before leaving my home, looking for my son, that she was going to ask questions. I think she came in contact with the wrong person,” Davis said.

While Nanette Thomas’ family was just starting her missing person investigation, Davis was going full-speed ahead and following a new lead in her son’s case. Surveillance video from the Walmart on Eastern Boulevard showed a video of Rickem in a black four-door Nissan Versa on April 2, 2016, around 1:30 p.m.

Cell phone records would eventually lead them to his body. In June 2016, bone and debris were found in a wooded area off Hopper Street. Davis said she fought to track down that video and her son’s body, and she will continue to fight for justice.

“I believe he knew the people or person who did this, and we are seeking justice, we want an arrest, and I will not stop,” Davis said.

The investigation is now in the hands of the Montgomery District Attorney’s Cold Case Task Force. Investigators are requesting information from anyone that may have information to help solve this case.

Central Alabama CrimeStoppers is offering a $5,000 reward offered for any information that leads to an arrest(s) involved in the 2016 Murder investigation of Samuels.

If you have any information regarding this investigation, please call Central Alabama CrimeStoppers using the 24-hour tip line at 334-215-STOP (7867).

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