As UT students came back to campus this semester, they found fresh coats of paint on Rescom and Plant Hall, a new dorm offering more dining options and even increased bandwidth for internet access.
But for friends of Samy MacQuilliam, all of these improvements and additions couldn’t make up for one thing that was noticeably missing on campus: her.
As Nicole Bissett, who was set to be MacQuilliam’s fall roommate, told reporters this summer, “It’s going to be hard to go back and for her not to be there.”
While MacQuilliams won’t be on campus, her friends say her memories will abound.
For those who didn’t have an opportunity to know Samy MacQuilliam, her friends say her character is illustrated by how she handled a stray puppy who trotted up to the home she shared with Matthew R. Dieterle, the man who within six months would be charged with her murder.
She cared about the puppy so much that, even after her death, her former roommate Jason Eggert felt compelled to leave her a Facebook message promising the dog would be well looked after.
“I went back to the house today to start moving everything out. We packed all your clothes up, and I got Pretty Girl. She’s ok, and I’m gunna keep her. She’s got an appointment to see the vet on Monday . . . She’s gunna be taken care of.”
Her heart shower in other places, as well.
A coworker said MacQuilliam’s passion for children was evident at the Maryland preschool where they worked.
“She loved those kids so much, and she was so good at what she did,” Erica Care said. “I admired her from a lot of perspectives. She was always willing to do anything and everything for anyone.” MacQuilliam’s cousin said it was while working at the Maryland daycare center that MacQuilliam decided to become a pediatric nurse.
Over the summer, MacQuilliam’s cousin started a Facebook Group in her honor.
“Sam was an amazing and talented person. We were cousins, but we were very close, like best friends. She was my idol and even though we were only 5 months apart, I looked up to her as my role model, and she was the first person I would ask when I needed advice,” said Maxwell. “She was a gorgeous and lively young women and will be missed by many.”
The murder permanently ended what friends said had been a turbulent on-again, off-again relationship that had lasted through the Dieterle’s June arrest and unreported domestic abuse. On Saturday, details emerged about the final minutes of the nursing student’s young life.
Dieterle’s bloody palm print was found in the bathroom near his girlfriend’s body, police said. Wearing jeans and a bra, MacQuilliam had suffered “blunt and sharp trauma” to her head and upper body, including numerous stab wounds, the medical examiner reported.
A judge denied bond Sunday for the 23-year-old Dieterle, who was charged with first-degree murder.
Bissett told ABC News that Dieterle was “infatuated” and “a psycho.”
“He was very possessive of her,” she said, adding that she thought Dieterle would rather see her dead than with another man.
Since turning 18, Dieterle has faced numerous criminal charges in Maryland and Pinellas County.
Despite all of this, Dieterle has served little more than a year in prison and three years of probation.
Pooja Patel, Samantha MacQuilliam’s classmate, is incensed by the situation.
“It makes me unbelievably angry that there’s people in jail who didn’t deserve to be in there, and there’s psycho killers, sexual harassers, and idiots like Dieterle out on the loose because our system can’t get their mind to think straight,” Patel wrote in an email interview.