Who Is Samantha Josephson?

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Samantha Josephson?

A senior at the University of South Carolina got into a car she issued was the Uber she had ordered to take her home after a night out with friends. But she never returned home and the following day, her body was discovered 65 miles away from where she was picked up.

Samantha Josephson was out in Columbia, SC on Friday, March 29. Around 2 a.m., she had called for an Uber to take her home. Surveillance cameras showed her waiting by the curb and getting into a black Chevy Impala, apparently thinking it was her ride. Tragically, that was not the case.

Later that day, her friends became alarmed when they realized Samantha had never returned home and they hadn’t heard from her since the night before. They contacted police to report her missing. It was only a matter of hours later than hunters located her body that police identified as hers.

What happened to Samantha Josephson? Read on for the shocking details.

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1. Student

Originally from New Jersey, Samantha was attuning the University of South Carolina, where she was studying political science. She had been accepted to Drexel Law School in Philadelphia and was planning to attend in the fall. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and she had studied abroad in Barcelona.

2. Disappearance

In the wee hours of Friday morning, Samantha was seen standing near a curb, talking on her phone. As she waited, a black car pulled up and she got inside, thinking it was the Uber she had called to take her home. Instead, the car was driven by Nathaniel Rowland.

Samantha may have realized her mistake and attempted to get out of the car but Rowland activated the child safety locks in the back seat, which would have prevented her from escaping.

3. Death

It was less than a day before her friends contact police to report Samantha missing. Her boss Rich Vascovich, operating partner at Liberty Tap Room, remarked that she didn’t show up for her morning shift, which was unusual.

“That kind of clued us in that something wasn’t right,” he said. Within hours of the missing person report, hunters found a body in a rural area about an hour from Columbia. Based on the clothing and physical description, police were able to quickly ascertain that it was Samantha. Later, police would reveal that Samantha had died as a result of multiple sharp force injuries.

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4. Arrest

Police were able to share the description of the car Samantha disappeared in and by Saturday, they apprehended it during a routine traffic stop. Driver Nathaniel Rowland attempted to flee on foot but was quickly caught. He was arrested after police found blood matching Samantha’s in his car.

He has been charged with kidnapping and murder.

5. Friends and family

Those closest to Samantha are shocked at her murder.

“She was sweet as can be,” Vasvovich said. “She was very fun-loving, well-liked, kind, very kindhearted, always smiling. She was honestly one of those people you loved to be around.”

Her father announced her death on social media saying, “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. 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. I sit here and cry while looking at the picture and write this.”

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6. Uber

Uber has not commented on the case, but it does have a blog post up on its site reminding users of safety precautions all rides should take, including checking the driver’s photo, name, the car make/model and license plate number against the information sent to you by the app. 

7. Grief

Josephson’s parents were in court for Rowland’s arraignment this week and they requested he be held without bond.

Her mother said, “There are no words to describe the immense pain his actions have caused our family and friends. He's taken away a piece of our heart, soul and life. Shame on him. We thought we would be here to see his evil face. I cannot fathom how someone could randomly select a person, a beautiful girl, and steal her life away. His actions were senseless, vile and unacceptable.”

Nothing is known so far about Rowland’s background or a possible motive for the murder. Police have said that they still have a lot of work to do on this case.

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.