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Joe Sampson was a full-blooded Yakima Indian living in Washington state. He was a police officer who liaised between the Tribal Police and the local law enforcement agency that employed him. He was a close friend of Bonnie Tracy, with hints of possible romantic involvement between the two.

The Bony Case[]

Joe was investigating the string of armed robberies committed by Bony when he met Dick Tracy. Tracy was in Washington state visiting his daughter, and he agreed to help Joe with his inquiries despite being outside of his jurisdiction.

Bony stole an original Les Paul guitar during a pawn shop robbery, which led Tracy and Sampson to believe that their suspect was a musician. Using a police artist's sketch compiled from eyewitness descriptions, they consulted several local music promoters, including Mrs. Topp. They learned where Bony lived and planned to apprehend him.

Bony had been informed that the police were investigating him, and he fled with his girlfriend Claudine. Sampson and Tracy searched Bony's abandoned trailer park home and discovered the remains of the Les Paul guitar, which Bony had smashed in a fit of anger. Convinced that Bony was the man they were seeking, they increased their efforts.

Bony and Claudine had made their way onto the Yakima Indian Reservation, where they encountered Vitamin Flintheart and Tess Tracy, who was eight months pregnant. Bony held the pair at gunpoint, trying to determine his next move. As time passed with Tess missing, Tracy became increasingly worried, but Sampson remained calm and used his connections with the Reservation Police to try to find the missing pair.

Joe and Tracy were patrolling a wooded area of the reservation when they heard gun shots. It turned out to be Vitamin, who had subdued Bony and was using the gun to attract attention. Tess had gone into labor, and Claudine assisted in the birth of the Tracys' second child, a boy.

Dick and Tess were grateful to Joe for his aid in finding her, and named their new son Joseph, partially after Sampson.

Bonnie Tracy later returned to her home in the City. She stated that her relationship with Joe Sampson had ended.

The Return of Joe Sampson[]


Joe Sampson, drawn by Joe Staton

Several years later, Joe arrived Dick Tracy's city to pursue a serial killer. He met with Tracy at police headquarters and discussed the case. Tracy and Joe then worked together to track down Barnabas Tar (aka The Professor, aka The Teacher's Pet).

At the conclusion of the Tar case, Joe revealed that he had been offered the position of Deputy Sheriff in the local Sheriff's department.