College student murdered after getting into car she thought was her ride, police say
03/31/2019 12:33 pm PDT
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WGHP/CNN) -- Samantha Josephson decided to call an Uber around 2 a.m. Friday after being separated from her roommates during a night out in Columbia, South Carolina, police said Saturday.
The 21-year-old University of South Carolina senior hopped into a black Chevy Impala, thinking it was her ride, Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook said during a news conference.
About 14 hours later, turkey hunters found her body in a field 90 miles from Columbia, he said.
“What we know now is that she had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come,” Holbrook said, citing surveillance footage. “We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride.”
Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, has been arrested on charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with Josephson's death, Holbrook said. He is being held in jail in Columbia. CNN has not determined if he has a lawyer yet.
Holbrook described how the case came together quickly.
Josephson's roommates began to worry when they hadn't heard from her later Friday morning. Holbrook said, and they called the police around 1:30 p.m. Friday.
While Columbia police were starting their investigation, turkey hunters found a body around 4 p.m. Friday about 40 feet off a dirt road in a wooded area in Clarendon County, southeast of Columbia, Holbrook said. It was identified as Josephson's.
Police searched for the car Josephson had gotten into and around 3 a.m. Saturday a Columbia officer saw the Impala and stopped the vehicle, Holbrook said. When the officer asked the driver to get out the car, he ran but was quickly captured, the chief said.
Investigators searched the Impala.
Blood found in the car's passenger side and trunk was matched to Josephson, the chief said, and her cellphone was found in the passenger compartment. Investigators also found a container of liquid bleach, germicidal wipes and window cleaner in the vehicle, he said.
Holbrook also said the child safety locks in the Impala were activated, which would make it difficult for anyone to open the back doors from the inside.
MORE: 'Our hearts are broken,' Columbia, SC police say after Samantha Josephson's body found in woods - WGHP
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