College Student Found Dead After Mistaking Car For Uber

Samantha Josephson

At 2 AM on Friday, Samantha Josephson decided to book an Uber ride home after being separated from roommates during a night out in Columbia, South Carolina. However, she mistakenly rode a different car that eventually led to her death, police said Saturday.

Josephson was a 21-year old student from the University of South Carolina. She was found about 14 hours later by turkey hunters in a field 90 miles from Columbia, Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook said during a news conference.

The college senior hopped into a black Chevy Impala, thinking it was her ride, “Skip” Holbrook said.

“What we know now is that she had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come,” Holbrook said, citing surveillance footage. “We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride,” Holbrook said he spoke with Josephson’s family prior to the press conference.

On Friday afternoon, Josephson’s roommates grew concern when she didn’t come home after their night out. They went to the school and asked people if anyone has seen their roommate along with Josephson’s picture. A few hours later, they filed a police report about a missing person.

Josephson’s roommates also approached a store named Natural Vibrations, that is owned by Iley Wildes, which sits near the bar they were at the night previous. They wanted to see the store’s surveillance video from that night. “They seemed very concerned and distraught,” Wildes said.

The surveillance video of Josephson outside a bar shows her standing in a curb by herself. She then approaches the black Chevy Impala that pulls up on the parking spot and casually steps inside as the car slowed down for a stop.

The next morning, turkey hunters found Josephson’s body at around 4 PM about 40 feet off a dirt road in Clarendon County, approximately 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Columbia.

Her body was found with multiple stab wounds to her head, neck, face, upper body, leg, and foot.

The brief statement Monday from Clarendon County Coroner Bucky Mock did not specify what kind of weapon was used to kill the 21-year-old Josephson.

The alleged killer was then identified through the matching description of the vehicle.

Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, has been arrested on charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with Josephson’s death, Holbrook said. He is being held in jail in Columbia.

Columbia police officers spotted the Impala and stopped the vehicle. When asked to get out of the car, Rowland ran but was quickly captured, Holbrook said.

Upon search of Rowland’s vehicle, blood was scattered here and there along with Josephson’s phone hidden in the compartment. There were also various cleaning supplies such as bleach, germicidal wipes, and a window cleaner. Specifically, there were still traces of blood found on the car’s passenger side and trunk.

Moreover, police said that the car’s child safety locks were activated making it difficult for anyone to open the doors from the inside.

Rowland, according to the police, used to live in Clarendon County and knew the area where Josephson’s body was found

There are no further information regarding how Josephson was murdered as “our investigators and agents have a lot more work to do,” Holbrook said.

Rowland also faces two misdemeanor charges for failing to stop on police command and for simple possession of marijuana, Columbia Police Department Public Information Officer Jennifer Timmons said.

Seymour Josephson, Samantha Josephson’s father from New Jersey, confirmed his daughter’s death Saturday on Facebook.

“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 for gotten. 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,” his Facebook post says.

Josephson was a political science student at USC and had been admitted to Drexel University law school in Philadelphia, which she was planning to attend in the fall.

Samantha’s funeral will be held in her home state of New Jersey on Wednesday, April 3rd.

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