Samantha Josephson, a senior at the University of South Carolina, died over the weekend. The 21-year-old is suspected to have been murdered.
Samantha was reported missing last Friday afternoon. Her friends were worried after they were separated from her the previous night.
Samantha’s body was later discovered in a wooded area by hunters. Using surveillance footage of the car the student got into, police were able to track down the suspect.
Police stopped suspect Nathaniel Rowland for having a vehicle matching the one Samantha had gotten into the night of her disappearance. When asked to step out of the vehicle, Rowland took off running.
He was captured after a short pursuit.
The missing student’s story left people wondering what could have happened.
Officials have now confirmed the body of Samantha Josephson was found in Clarendon County. I spoke with people who live in the area. They say it's a quite neighborhood on a dirt road. They knew something was wrong when SLED arrived in their community yesterday afternoon @WLTX pic.twitter.com/QAKXuB8xqj— Nic Jones (@NicJonesReports) March 30, 2019
Samantha Josephson is the THIRD USC student to be found dead THIS WEEK ALONE. WHAT in the FUCK is going on with USC and why isn’t it getting more coverage??? It’s not normal for Three students to be found dead in one week-— ebony e-girl 🧘🏾♀️ (@PeachyKeenTeen) March 30, 2019
Columbia Police Chief William Holbrook explained the case at a news conference, saying,
“We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride.”
News Conference On Samantha Josephson Investigation https://t.co/PvfVmd74X9— Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) March 30, 2019
Samantha had called for an Uber the night in question. When Rowland pulled up, she thought it was her ride and got in. The real Uber driver showed up later, but left when Samantha wasn’t there.
In Rowland’s car, police found the child locks were activated for the back seat, meaning Samantha couldn’t easily escape. They also found her blood and cell phone, in addition to cleaning chemicals like bleach and window cleaner.
It’s absolutely horrible.
Rest In Peace Samantha josephson. I’ve heard multiple stories in the last 24 hours of sketchy Uber situations in Columbia. They need to make a designated Uber pickup location in 5 points and have police presence there to make sure things like this never happen again.— Matt Anderson (@Manderson825) March 30, 2019
Always double check you are getting into the right Uber or Lyft. The murder of the USC student is heartbreaking & can happen to anyone! Police say the suspect had child proof locks activated in back seat preventing anyone from being able to escape. 💔 #SamanthaJosephson #scnews— Ashley Blackstone (@ashblackstone) March 30, 2019
my heart aches for samantha josephson and her family/friends. her death was so senseless and i can’t stop thinking about it— Madison (@madisonnn_el) April 1, 2019
Samantha’s father, Seymour Josephson, announced his daughter’s death on Facebook.
“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.”
Chief Holbrook had met with the family to explain what had happened to their daughter.
“Our hearts are broken — they’re broken. There is nothing harder than to stand in front of a family and explain how a loved one was murdered.”
In the wake of this story, people online have been calling for Uber to introduce new safety features to allow riders to verify their drivers. QR codes or passwords have been suggested, though the ride-sharing service has yet to comment.