Samantha Edwards, Former Miss USA Contestant


Samantha Edwards, Miss North Dakota USA 2003 and a Miss USA 2003 pageant contestant, has died. She was 37.

The body of the beauty queen, a native of Fargo, ND, was found inside her house in Minneapolis Tuesday morning, police said, adding that the cause of her death remains under investigation.

A friend of Edwards, Miss Minnesota USA 2004 Jessica Dereschuk, started a GoFundMe page, with her sister Gwen's permission, to help cover funeral and other expenses, including money to help take care of the beauty queen's beloved dachshund, Peanut.

She said Edwards, who went by "Sami," was "one of the most vibrant, crazy, compassionate, loyal balls of energy you could ever come across in life."

"A conversation with her could either leave you full of adrenaline or utterly exhausted," she wrote. "She was a spitfire and with Sami you never knew what she'd throw your way—but you ALWAYS knew she would be there for you. She was awesome like that."

"I never got to meet Sami's family," she added. "Which is so crazy to me as I feel like I know them from all the stories and conversations we shared. She loved her mom and sister so deeply, those were her girls. When she would talk about her brother, she beamed with pride."

Dereschuk said Edwards left a "positive mark on this world and in my life."

"And I will continue to live life with passion and love because I know that is what you would want," she wrote. "I will see you again my beautiful friend......."

After competing in the Miss USA pageant, Edwards went on to attend the Aveda Institute, a cosmetology school in Minneapolis, and the University of North Dakota. In recent years, she worked as a freelance makeup artist. 

A tribute to Edwards was also posted on the Facebook page of the Miss USA pageant.

"We are saddened by the sudden loss of Samantha Edwards, Miss North Dakota USA 2003," the post read. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. She will forever be a part of this organization."

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