Waiting outside Five Points area of Columbia, South Carolina, Samantha Josephson hopped into a car she mistakenly thought was an Uber early in the morning on Friday, March 21, 2019 and it was the last ride of her life. The 21-year-old senior at University of South Carolina was found 12 hours later, likely stabbed to death.
The New Jersey native’s body was found by turkey hunters in rural Clarendon County later in the day on Friday.
According to a statement released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the Clarendon County Coroner Bucky Mock’s autopsy showed that she died of “multiple sharp force injuries.”
It is still not known if authorities have found a weapon used in the brutal murder, however, The State reported that Court documents indicate Josephson had “numerous wounds evident on multiple parts of her body to include her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot.”
One day after Samantha’s body was found, the 24-year-old driver of the car, Nathaniel Rowland, was arrested and later charged with her murder and kidnapping.
He was taken into custody around 3 a.m. Saturday after a Columbia police K-9 officer spotted a vehicle near the area Samantha disappeared that fit the description of the car she last got into. The officer made a traffic stop and apprehended Rowland after a foot chase.
In an interview with local television station WACH, Rowland’s father Henry Rowland said, “I don’t feel like I raised a child like that.”
Monique Pearson, Rowland’s second cousin, said the family is shocked to hear of the arrest, “He has no violent record and if he is found to have been a part of this, our community will be very surprised as he has never displayed these actions and his character does not reflect an individual who would be capable of such.”
According to the Greenville News, Rowland is currently being detained at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on four charges: murder, kidnapping, failure to stop on police command and possession of less than 1 ounce of drugs.
Authorities say blood was discovered in the trunk and passenger compartment of Rowland’s vehicle. The blood was later confirmed to be Josephson’s.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said their investigation determined that Rowland was indeed driving his Chevy Impala early Friday morning and pulled up near the Bird Dog bar at 2:09 a.m. Based on surveillance video, police believe Josephson was waiting there and entered Rowland’s car mistakenly.
Rowland did not attend a bond hearing Sunday March 31 in Columbia. His bond is slated to be set in general sessions court. He was represented by criminal defense attorney Ryan Beasley.
According to the State Law Enforcement Division, Rowland has a past felony arrest in South Carolina from Oct. 2018 for obtaining a signature or property under false pretenses.
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