Who Is Nathaniel David Rowland?

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Nathaniel David Rowland?

When you're a young, single woman and it's late at night and you need to get home the world seems fraught with perils. Do you beg a ride from a friend? Do you walk home? Do you risk taking public transportation? Do you maybe hail a cab or get yourself an Uber instead thinking that might be the safest bet when it comes to getting home in one piece?

The truth of the matter is sometimes even the seemingly safest bets are hiding dangers that you never saw coming. This was the case for Samantha Josephson of South Carolina. After a night out with friends, she hailed an Uber. Allegedly, she stepped inside and lost her life to the man who claimed to be her Uber driver, a man named Nathaniel David Rowland.

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1. How He Caught Her

It was a crime that caught the attention of the media and women who travel alone almost instantly. Now that the trial is getting even closer, more and more people around the world are turning to the atrocious details. A woman summons an Uber. She climbs inside when a car approaches her, slowing down. Suddenly, she thinks, something isn't right. She reaches for the handle to leave and the locks click. In a matter of hours, she will be dead. 

According to prosecutors, this is exactly what happened when Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, stopped to pick up 21-year-old Samantha Josephson. She believed that he was her safe ride to her next location. She had no idea that as soon as she was buckled up he would turn on the child locks and kill her. 

2. Hiding The Body 

While the exact details of the case are still being kept somewhat under wraps (that's totally normal for an ongoing investigation) the working theory is that after he got her in the car, Rowland killed Josephson, a student at South Carolina, and then abandoned her body some 65 miles away in Clarendon Country, South Carolina. It was only discovered when turkey hunters stumbled across the remains.

Knowing that the body was found by turkey hunters of all people, that gives you a sense of just how rural this spot was. The police are trying to construct a timeline of events, and they're doing it using closed-circuit cameras in the area where Josephson was waiting for her Uber, alongside the testimony of people who saw both Josephson and Rowland on the night of question. The night the Josephson family lost their little girl forever. 

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3. The Rowland Family Speaks 

Rowland fled the scene when authorities attempted to arrest him, but he was apprehended fairly quickly and brought to jail. When he was there, the media blitz began, but the only two people he was interested in speaking to were his mother and his father. “He’s a good kid,” said Nathaniel Rowland, his father, during an interview with WACH.  “Ain’t no way in the world he could do this. The only thing I could ask since the day he was locked up: Did he do this?”

As you can imagine, his Mother Loretta Rowland is also beside herself. "My heart goes out to the family that lost a life. I feel so bad, but my son didn’t do it. He did not do this thing." She went on to say, “He is not a bad young man. He said that wasn’t him, and I believe him.” Could any mother say otherwise? 

4. Incriminating evidence 

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Though the Rowland family may believe that their son is innocent, there is currently forensic evidence that suggests he might not be off the hook. In fact, it might cement his fate. Police found Josephson’s blood in the trunk of his car, and that's not all. He also had bleach, wipes, and other cleaning agents. Interestingly, in a dark way, they still don't know how exactly Josephson was killed. 

Rowland was charged with kidnapping and murder. Neither charge is light and when combined if Rowland decided to go to trial instead of taking a plea, he could be facing life in prison or much worse. You see, South Carolina is one of the states in our great nation where the death penalty is still an option for felons convicted of particularly heinous crimes. 

5. Her Family Speaks Out 

Rowland's process of justice began on Sunday, March 31st when he had a hearing at the jail. Josephson’s mother Marci was prepared to read a statement about her daughter and about the terrible impact this crime has had on their family. Rowland didn't appear at the hearing, but that didn't stop her from sharing it anyway. 

“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 he would be here to see his evil face,” she said.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr