Murder suspect Samuel Haskell Jr. worked as a successful director and producer in Hollywood before being arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife.
Haskell Jr., 35, – the son of a top Hollywood producer and a former Miss Mississippi – was arrested Wednesday at a mall in Topanga, California, after police found a woman’s torso near his home.
His wife Mei Haskell, 37, is missing and detectives are trying to find out if the torso is hers. Her parents are also missing.
Haskell Jr. has been going by the stage name Samuel Bassinger since at least 2013.
According to his Twitter account, he has worked as an editor for stars such as rappers Tyga and Machine Gun Kelly in 2021.
Neighbors of Sam Haskell Jr., 35, claim he “seemed strange” when they responded to his arrest after a woman’s torso was found in a dumpster near his California home.
Haskell Jr worked as a videographer and producer in Los Angeles, according to his IMDB page and social media accounts
Mei Haskell (left), her mother YanXiang Wang, 64, and her father Gaoshan Li, 72, are all missing
The creative also directed photo shoots with actresses Olivia Holt and Brenda Song.
On his website he wrote: ‘I want to create visuals that push boundaries by bringing millennial artists together.’
Haskell Jr had numerous social media accounts under the names Sam Haskell Jr, Samuel Bassinger and tragizstreetz.
He shared videos on TikTok and Instagram complaining about life in Hollywood and ridiculing celebrity gossip.
In one clip he says, “Shout out to LinkedIn for making it so much more streamlined that I’m repeatedly told ‘no’.”
In another, he tells his followers: “My resume says unhappy, bitter, resentful.”
Haskell Jr. directed a project for Machine Gun Kelly in 2021, seen above
Haskell Jr had numerous social media accounts under the names Sam Haskell Jr, Samuel Bassinger and tragizstreetz
Haskell Jr was reportedly working on his directorial and writing debut titled Harvard Law, starring Mickey Koga, Alex Kawaguchi and Kaile Goh.
Mei’s parents Gaoshan Li, 72, and YanXiang Wang, 64, who lived with the couple and their three children in Tarzana. Police are now looking for them and their missing SUV: a white VW Tiguan. A white 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is also missing.
On Tuesday evening, construction workers called police after seeing a body in black bags near Henkell’s home, but by the time police arrived the body was gone.
LAPD Detective Efren Gutierrez told NBC4t, “When officers responded, nothing was found… There was no evidence that allowed officers to enter the home… The bags described were no longer outside.”
However, a homeless man then came across the human torso in a dumpster in Encino, about five miles from Henkell’s home. The contents of the torso matched the description given by the construction workers.
Henkell Jr. was arrested Wednesday after witness statements from the construction workers and video evidence from the scene of the torso discovery led police to his home.
Haskell Jr is the son of former Hollywood top agent Samuel Haskell Sr and former Miss Mississippi Mary Donnelly-Haskell. They are seen with Dolly Parton, Haskell Sr.’s co-worker
The bag was found in a duffel bag and thrown into a dumpster (photo) behind Ventura Boulevard and Rubio Avenue, near a family restaurant, hair salon and two banks.
Haskell Jr. posted this photo of his wife Mei in January 2014
Police discovered blood and evidence consistent with murder and mayhem inside the home, according to officials.
“Here at the house, when the officers entered, it was discovered that a crime had occurred, including some blood evidence and other items that I’m not going to provide at this time,” Gutierrez said.
Haskell Jr.’s arrest has rocked their Tarzana neighborhood, where the family lived in a $2.5 million, six-bedroom house.
One neighbor told ABC 7 News that she knew Mei Haskell, but her husband seemed strange.
“The man, something seemed so strange,” the woman said. ‘Something seemed so strange. I thought maybe he was sick, or something was wrong. All I said was, I kept telling my family, there’s something wrong with him.’
The Los Angeles Times reported that Haskell Jr. was arrested in 2008 for assault with a deadly weapon and in 2010 was sentenced to three years’ probation.
The couple’s three children, ages 6, 8 and 12 – Samuel Bond Haskell V, James Donnelly Haskell and William Kirkpatrick Haskell II – were found safe at school and are now with family.
Haskell Jr.’s father, Samuel Haskell Sr., was a high-profile agent at William Morris, whose clients included Dolly Parton, George Clooney, Whoopi Goldberg and King Charles’ brother, Prince Edward.
He retired from William Morris in 2005 and published a memoir in 2009 titled “Promises I Made My Mother,” which his publishers described as a “deeply personal and spiritually enriching story about living a principled life in unscrupulous times.”
In 2012, the multiple Emmy winner founded Magnolia Hill Productions with Dolly Parton, and produces many of her television specials.
Haskell Sr. was CEO of the Miss America organization from 2015 to 2017, but resigned after it emerged he had criticized some contestants in private emails, ridiculing one for gaining weight and describing the other as promiscuous.
He was also chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards, and public records show that Haskell Jr. was once employed by the foundation.