Man charged with murder after University of South Carolina student mistakes his vehicle for Uber

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT April 1: Investigators said Nathaniel David Rowland, the man who is accused of killing University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson, activated child locks in the backseat of his vehicle, The Associated Press reported. Doing so made it impossible for Josephson to open the doors from the inside.

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Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said Josephson mistook the vehicle for a ride-share.

"She simply, mistakenly, got into the car thinking it was an Uber ride," Holbrook said, according to The Associated Press.

Update 7 p.m. EDT March 30: Police have identified a suspect in the death of Samantha Josephson, who was last seen getting in to a vehicle in Columbia, South Carolina.

Police said in a news conference Saturday that they pulled over Nathaniel David Rowland around 3 a.m. and found blood in his car. Rowland ran from the car, but police were able to catch him and arrest him. Police were later able to determine the blood was Josephson's.


Police said they believe Josephson's death was a random act of violence and that she did not know Rowland.

Rowland faces murder and kidnapping charges.

Original report: 

A University of South Carolina student who was missing since early Friday has been confirmed to be dead, the school and the student’s family confirmed Saturday.

Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old senior, was last seen by friends between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Friday on a Columbia street, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported. Investigators believe Josephson entered a Chevrolet Impala shortly after 2 a.m., the Columbia Police Department tweeted.

Afterward, friends and family weren’t able to locate or get in touch with her.

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides confirmed Josephson's death in a letter to the university community.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write these words this morning. Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death,” Pastides wrote. “Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort. However, I take solace that the Carolina Family is here to embrace those who are hurting.”

Josephson's father, Seymour Josephson, made a public Facebook post Saturday morning saying, "Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be for gotten [sic]."

“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,” Seymour Josephson wrote. “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."

Samantha Josephson had been with a group of friends in Columbia's Five Points neighborhood early Friday. She left her friends at a bar and is believed to have gotten into the Impala. Josephson's friend, Jordyn Spencer, told The State of Columbia she believes Josephson may have mistaken the car for an Uber ride she had ordered.

The Columbia Police Department tweeted a picture of the suspect car taken from surveillance video and is asking anyone with information to come forward.


Further details, like where and when she was found, aren’t available. Columbia police tweeted Saturday afternoon that a press conference on Josephson’s death investigation is forthcoming.

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