- Columbia Police Department
- Police said a University of South Carolina student went missing after she got into a car she mistakenly believed was the Uber she ordered after a night out in the college town.
- Samantha Josephson, 21, was last seen around 2 a.m. alone outside of a Columbia, South Carolina bar near campus when she got into a black car.
- Police said in a press conference less than 2 hours after issuing a missing persons alert that Josephson’s body was found approximately 90 miles outside of Columbia.
- Columbia Police Chief W.H. Holbrook also said 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland was arrested on murder and kidnapping charges in connection with Josephson’s death.
Police confirmed the death of a University of South Carolina student who went missing early Friday after she got into a stranger’s car she mistook for the ride she ordered from Uber.
After 21-year-old Samantha Josephson left her friends at a bar, she got into a black Chevy Impala, Columbia Police said Saturday.
Less than a day later, authorities said turkey hunters found her body approximately 90 miles from the college town of Columbia, South Carolina.
“We know now is that she had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come,” Columbia Police Chief W.H. Holbrook said, citing surveillance footage. “We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride.”
Holbrook also announced that 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland was arrested on murder and kidnapping charges in connection with Josephson’s death.
“Our hearts are broken,” Holbrook said Saturday. “There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family and explain how a loved one was murdered. It was gut-wrenching. This is personal to us.”
University President Harris Pastides first confirmed Josephson’s death in a Saturday morning statement, in which he wrote that the school was mourning after her death.
“Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort,” Pastides wrote. “However, I take solace that the Carolina Family is here to embrace those who are hurting.”
Pastides also told students to “remember the tenets of Stand Up Carolina: look out for one another, be active bystanders. Travel in groups and stay together.” The president also encouraged students to download the school’s RAVE Guardian Safety App.
School newspaper the Daily Gamecock previously reported, citing a friend of Josephson’s, that she left the bar alone around 2 a.m. and mistakenly believed she was getting into an Uber.
The Columbia Police Department first announced a missing persons alert for Josephsen Friday night, saying in a tweet that the student’s friends and family had been unable to reach her.
Josephsen was last seen around 1:30 Friday morning on a street nearby the school’s Columbia, South Carolina campus.
Police also tweeted a photo of the black car that Josephsen was seen getting into shortly after 2 a.m.
Cont’d: Special Victims Unit investigators believe that shortly after 2:00 a.m., Josephson was seen getting into this newer model Chevy Impala along Harden Street. Family & friends have been trying to locate her ever since. Again, call @MidlandsCrime 1-888-CRIME-SC w/your tips. pic.twitter.com/3211Wjx6PK
— Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) March 30, 2019
In addition to President Pastides’ statement, Josephson’s father posted an emotional tribute to his daughter on Facebook, writing that “Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be forgotten.”