The body of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student reported missing Friday, was found deceased in a rural field later that afternoon. Since then, authorities arrested a man they say killed her after she got into his car, likely thinking he was her Uber driver.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Columbia Police held a press conference on Saturday and announced the arrest of Nathaniel David Rowland, 24. According to police, Rowland’s car was spotted on security footage in the parking lot of an area in Little Points in Columbia, where Josephson and a group of friends were congregating after a night out at the Bird Dog bar.
Security footage showed Josephson getting into a black Chevrolet Impala that pulled up to the Bird Dog bar parking lot on Friday at around 2 a.m. Josephson was waiting on an Uber rider, according to police, and probably mistook the Impala driver as the Uber driver. The bartender at Bird Dog reportedly told police that the real Uber driver canceled the ride after Josephson failed to show up for pick-up.
“She had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride. She was waiting for that Uber ride to come, we believe. She simply mistakenly got into this car thinking it was an Uber ride,” Columbia Police Department Chief Skip Holbrook said during the news conference, according to NBC 10.
The following day, friends became worried after Josephson failed to return calls and texts. They contacted police at around 1:30 p.m. Friday, sparking a massive hunt for the college student.
At around 4:30 p.m. Friday, turkey hunters stumbled across the victim’s body in Clarendon County, around 70 miles from the bar she disappeared from. She was lying around 40 feet off of a dirt road in a secluded, rural area.
The investigation regarding USC student Samantha Josephson is now a homicide case. Her body was found by hunters in rural Clarendon Co. late yesterday afternoon. Suspect Nathaniel Rowland has been charged w/ Murder & Kidnapping by SLED. Agents have been an integral part in case. pic.twitter.com/2tj8TVRAex
— Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) March 30, 2019
On Saturday, officers spotted a black Chevy Impala that matched the vehicle seen on security footage. Police pulled the driver over a few blocks from Five Points in Columbia. The driver, identified as Rowland, got out of the car and tried to flee by foot before officers captured him.
Inside the car, officers found blood, bleach, wipes, and Josephson’s cellphone. They noted the car had the child safety locks activated, meaning Josephson wouldn’t have been able to get out.
Rowland was arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder. He was also charged with drug possession and failure to stop on police command.
Josephson, a political science major at USC, had plans to become a lawyer.
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…
“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’s father, Seymour, wrote on Facebook. “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.”
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Featured Photo: Samantha Josephson/Columbia Police Department]