Samantha Rebus is the daughter of John Rebus and Rhona Phillips. Born in 1977, she grew up in John Rebus's flat in Edinburgh while her mother taught and her father worked for the police. However, the pressures of police work caused her parents to divorce when she was young, and she moved to Kirkliston with her mother and lived there. Since then her mother taught her to act like a proper woman and she became much more grown up. She often frequented the Main Lending Library with her mother due to her mother's work as an english teacher. There she became familiar with Ian Knott, a worker in the children's section. She still met with her father to catch up occasionally.

In late May 1988 Ian Knott, whose real name was Gordon Reeve, broke into Samantha's house, knocked out her mother and kidnapped her. She was taken back to his house and kept in a room with photographs of soldiers and his previous victims (all girls of a similar age) pinned to the walls. All his previous victim's initials spelt out Samantha's name, as she was the final way of getting to her father who had abandoned Reeve in a training programme for the SAS. Luckily her father tracked Reeve down as he was out working in the library, and officers raided the house and rescued Samantha.

Soon after her kidnap Samantha was taken to live in London with her mother.