Samantha Josephson, the 21-year-old University of South Carolina student who went missing early Friday morning, was reportedly murdered by a 24-year-old man after Josephson mistook his car for an Uber ride, according to reports.
Josephson, a political science major who was planning to attend Drexel University’s law school in Philadelphia next fall, went out to the Bird Dog bar in Columbia’s Harden Street for a few drinks with her friends. She reportedly left the bar alone at around 2 a.m. after booking an Uber ride. When suspect Nathaniel Rowland turned up in his dark Chevrolet Impala, Josephson is believed to have mistaken it for her ride.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said the CCTV footage showed Josephson getting in the car, according to CBS News.
“We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride. She opened the door and got into it and departed with the suspect driving,” Holbrook said.
When Josephson didn’t show up at her downtown residence and stopped responding to calls, her friends got worried. Then, on Friday afternoon, two turkey hunters found her body off a dirt road in rural Clarendon County, which is about 65 miles southeast of Columbia.
Early on Saturday morning, the suspect, still driving an Impala, was apprehended at a traffic stop in Columbia’s Five Points area. Rowland reportedly took off but officers were able to chase him down. On searching his car, a lot of blood was found on the passenger seat and the trunk of the Impala.
Murdered student Samantha Josephson apparently got into suspect's car thinking it was Uber ride https://t.co/XHygMob5hU
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) March 31, 2019
Nathaniel Rowland has been charged with murder and kidnapping. Media reports have suggested the South Carolina student suffered a brutal demise, but cops have refused to divulge more details about the matter. Police chief Holbrook said law enforcement was doing all it could during a very difficult time for Josephson’s family.
“I met with the family… their hearts are broken,” Holbrook said. “There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family and explain how a loved one was murdered […] they have a lot of support here, but it was gut-wrenching […] words can’t describe what they are going through.”
Samantha’s father, Seymour Josephson, wrote a post on Facebook remembering his daughter.
“It is with tremendous sadness and of a broken heart that I post this! I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of life. Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be forgotten,” Seymour Josephson wrote, according to WIS10 TV.