The parents of a South Carolina man accused of kidnapping and killing University of South Carolina college student Samantha Josephson, claim that their son is “a good kid” who isn’t capable of such horrendous crimes.
“He’s a good kid,” Henry Rowland, father of suspected killer, Nathaniel Rowland, told FOX 57. “Ain’t no way in the world he could do this.”
Rowland, 24, allegedly raped and killed 21-year-old Josephson on March 29, after she got into his black Chevy Impala at around 2:30 a.m., likely mistaking his car for an Uber she was waiting on. Her friends reported her missing on Friday afternoon they failed to hear from her.
The following day, turkey hunters stumbled across the the college student’s body in Clarendon County, around 70 miles from the Bird Dog bar in Columbia, where 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 March 31, officers spotted a black Chevy Impala that matched the vehicle Josephson was seen leaving the bar in. 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.
Henry Rowland said that if there was any chance his son did commit the crimes he’s accused of, that he should face the consequences. However, he doesn’t think his son had any part of the crime.
“If he did it, I’ll be the first one to put him behind bars, lock him up, and throw away the key. My heart goes out to the family that lost their child. I feel so bad, but my son didn’t do it.”
Rowland apparently told his parents he was innocent, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.
“He has one of the biggest hearts that anyone can have,” the suspect’s mother, Loretta Rowland, said. “If you ask him for something, he will give if he can…He was raised up as a good young boy.”
Henry Rowland said his son was a party during the time that the incident occurred, but police have yet to confirm if the suspect had any alibis. The man also said his son told him he passed out at the party and woke up to find his keys missing. The suspect reportedly said he then walked outside and saw his car, opened the car up and noticed the keys in the ignition and blood all over the seats.
Josephson’s family disagrees.
On Tuesday, a day before Josephson was laid to rest, her father, Seymour Josephson, called the suspect a “monster,” according to New Jersey 101.5.
“I use that word because that’s what he did,” Seymour Josephson said. “It was a strong word. It eats up inside me. But I want it out there because he was a monster. I don’t want anyone else to go through it as a parent.”
Last week, Rowland waived his right to appear at a bond hearing, sparking the victim’s mother, Marci Josephson, to issue a statement about him during the hearing, nj.com reports.
“There are no words to describe the immense pain, his actions have caused our family and friends. He’s taken away a piece of our heart, soul and life. Shame on him. We thought he would be here to see his evil face. I cannot fathom how someone could randomly select a person, a beautiful girl and steal her life away. His actions were senseless, vile and unacceptable.
It sickens us to think that his face was the last thing that my baby girl saw on this earth. Does he even know her name? My daughter Samantha Josephson, more affectionately known to her family as sweet pea. Let me tell you about my daughter. Samantha was bubbly, loving, kind and full of life.
She had a plan. She worked hard, was graduating from college in May and starting law school in September. Unlike him, Samantha valued human life and could never harm another soul.
Unlike him, Samantha had love within her heart and purpose in her life, the life he brutally ended. He took away our daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin and a friend to so many. His selfish, unspeakable and violent actions have created a hole in the universe. A hole in our universe and we see the unimaginable ripple, affect her world.
I implore the court to deny bail, or the posting of a bond. He should never be given the right to walk free again for what he did to my daughter, or given the opportunity to hurt anyone else. Samantha Josephson. My daughter’s name is Samantha Josephson. Don’t ever forget her name. Samantha Josephson. Shame on him.”
Rowland remains behind bars without bail facing felony murder and kidnapping charges.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Featured Photo: Samantha Josephson/Columbia Police Department]