By Moses Leos III
Kyle Police Department officer Dago Pates couldn’t hold back a tearful smile Thursday as he recalled his memories of Samantha Dean.
With each story told, Pates detailed the extraordinary person Dean was. From her positive demeanor and humble personality, to even her side job as a DJ and her future as a mother, Pates and other officers remembered a warm and caring person.
But amid the tragic circumstances of her death, Pates and the department chose to remember her the only way they knew how. To remember how caring she was, not only in her role as Victim Services Coordinator, but as a human being.
“This one’s going to hurt. I know it. It’s going to really hurt,” Pates said. “But we’re going to try to honor her and to be more like Sam, because of the way she was. That may be my new motto: ‘Like Sam.’”
Dean had worked as Kyle’s Victim Services Coordinator for the past two years. The position, which was grant funded, assisted those who had been victimized by crimes. Those crimes ranged from assault to sexual assault to theft.
Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett said Dean assisted victims through the entire process, from court to filling out referals and finding state funding for victims.
It was her demeanor that made a tremendous impact. Barnett said many victims and their families embraced Dean based on her personality. He said she made sure victims were not forgotten by the department.
“Her poise and her friendliness and quick smile; what a difference it made in a room,” Barnett said. “How quickly victims and their family members took to her. And they could feel that compassion.”
But as the investigation continues surrounding her death, Kyle Police and the community continue to mourn the lives of Dean and her unborn child.
The healing process began on Saturday as Kyle Police, aided by area law enforcement agencies, escorted Dean’s body from Lockhart to San Antonio.
Dozens of Kyle residents and supporters gathered at the Kyle Parkway bridge to view the procession passing through Kyle, while others lined IH-35. Many donned pink, red, and white to pay homage to Dean.
And as the motorcade sped by, those on the bridge greeted the procession with cheers and claps. Tears and embraces soon followed as the escort left for San Marcos.
Rachel Plant, wife of officer James Plant, organized the gathering on the bridge. She also asked the supporters to clap their hands to support Dean.
Plant said the turnout was great, and that the clapping was “beautiful,” as it honored Dean.
Barnett, who rode in the lead vehicle on Saturday, witnessed salutes, balloon releases, and claps and cheers during the trek.
He thanked the outpouring of support from the community. He also thanked the agencies that helped with Saturday’s events. That includes the Buda, Kyle, San Marcos and New Braunfels Fire and Police Departments, which manned bridges to help make them safe for supporters.
“Their presence and their display meant a lot to the Kyle Police Departement and the Dean family,” Barnett said.
Pates and the department continue to remember Dean. From her ability to never show frustration, to the department’s belief that her child would have been in “absolutely great hands,”
It’s the sole reason why Pates donned his best uniform during a media conference Thursday – for Sam.
“We know Sam, because it’s one department,” Pates said. “We know her, we know how she is, we know how she was, and how great of a mother she was going to be.”
Visitation and funeral service for Samantha Elizabeth Dean
The family will receive friends from 5 – 9 p.m. Feb. 12 at Porter Loring North Chapel, located at 2102 N. Loop 1604 East, San Antonio.
Funeral Service will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 13 at Community Bible Church, located at 2477 N. Loop 1604 East, San Antonio. Interment to follow.