NJ student got in wrong car, was killed — Murder charge for SC man
A college student from New Jersey got into a car that she mistook for an Uber ride and ended being killed and buried in a rural field in South Carolina, police in that state said Saturday evening. The suspected driver has been charged with murder.
Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student who grew up in Robbinsville, had been reported missing after she was last seen outside a nightclub early Friday morning in the capital city of Columbia. Surveillance video showed her getting into a black car.
On Friday, turkey hunters 65 miles away found her body in a field about 40 feet off a dirt road.
Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, was charged Saturday with murder and kidnapping. He lives not far from where her body was found, according to Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook.
Richland County jail records show he's also been charged with failure to stop for a police command and possessing a small amount of marijuana.
Holbrook said that about 3 a.m. Saturday, a Columbia K9 officer stopped a black Chevy Impala not far from Five Points, the part of the city where Josephson was last seen. The driver fled on foot but the officer was able to catch the man.
Police said they found blood and a cell phone in the back seat of the car that both turned out to belong to Josephson.
Investigators said they also found bleach, germicidal wipes and window cleaner in the car. A child safety seat was also found.
Josephson had been spending Thursday evening with friends at the Bird Dog club but they became separated and she called an Uber.
Video shows her getting into a black Chevrolet Impala that she must have thought was her ride, according to Holbrook.
Holbrook said her friends called police Friday afternoon when they were not able to contact her.
Holbrook said that many members of Josephson's family were in South Carolina.
"It was gut wrenching what they were going through," Holbrook said Saturday evening during a news conference."I assured them we will be with them every step of the way until this is done."
A GoFundMe page was created to assist with funeral and memorial costs for Josephson.
Robbinsville Mayor David Fried on Saturday said his community offered "its most heartfelt thoughts, prayers, support and love to the Josephson family and all of Samantha's friends — both in Robbinsville as well as her classmates at the University of South Carolina."