Twenty-one-year-old University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson spent a night out with friends on Thursday, like most other college students her age. And like so many other college students do after a night out at the bar, she called an Uber to take her home around 2 a.m. on Friday.
Her body was found Saturday, dumped in a rural wooded area miles from the bar she had left less than two days earlier. Police say the car she got into was not her Uber.
It was that of 25-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland, who is now facing murder and kidnapping charges in her death, Columbia police said late Saturday. Police believe Josephson got into Rowland’s Chevrolet Black Impala after mistaking it for the Uber she had been waiting for. They say an Uber driver did arrive for her, but by then she was nowhere to be found.
Josephson is said to have left the bar alone and was reported missing by friends after she didn’t return home or call anyone back.
“When she didn’t show up at her downtown residence and didn’t answer repeated phone calls, her friends became concerned and notified (police),” police said in a statement.
Josephson’s blood and cellphone were later found in Rowland’s car, according to police, who also said the child safety locks in the back of the vehicle were activated to prevent an escape.
Friends said Josephson was set to attend Drexel University Law School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Her father, Seymour Josephson, announced his daughter’s death in a heart-wrenching Facebook post.
“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,” Josephson wrote. “It is extremely hard to write this and post it but I love her with all my heart. I could continue to write about her but it kills me. I sit here and cry while looking at the picture and write this.”
Josephson is the third University of South Carolina student to die in the past week.
One student reportedly committed suicide on Monday, and USC baseball player Parker Neff passed away on Friday after collapsing on the field.
“It has been a difficult week for our extended Carolina family,” USC president Harris Pastides said in a statement.
“The loss of a student is never easy but this has been a particularly painful few days as we have experienced loss on several of our campuses,” Pastides said. “As a family, let’s continue to pray for all the families experiencing heartache and grief this week.”
Police have not yet announced a motive in the case.