21-Year-Old Student Killed after She Apparently Mistook Suspect's Car for Uber

A 21-year-old college student in South Carolina has lost her life after entering her suspected killer’s car, apparently thinking it was an Uber ride.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook made the revelation while announcing at a news conference that the suspect in Samantha Josephson’s murder has been arrested, reports CBS News.

According to Holbrook:

"We believe ... that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride. …She opened the door and got into it and departed with the suspect driving."

Samantha, a student at the University of South Carolina before her tragic death, reportedly got into the suspect’s car after leaving a bar around 2 am on Friday, March 29.

Her body was later found by hunters on Friday afternoon around rural Clarendon County, and according to initial arrest warrants, Samantha’s body had numerous wounds to the head, neck, face, upper body, leg, and foot.

SUSPECT'S ARREST

By Saturday, the authorities had made significant progress with the arrest of 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland. Rowland was apprehended after a cop spotted him driving the same type of car Samantha got into, reports the outlet.

Holbrook further revealed that the suspect tried to escape, but the officer caught up with him. They eventually found Samantha’s blood and cellphone in his car, as well as bleach, window cleaner, and cleaning wipes. Rowland will reportedly be charged with murder and kidnapping, but it is not clear yet if he has an attorney.

BROKEN HEARTS 

News of Samantha’s death shook her family, the University of South Carolina, and the entire state as tributes and condolences have been pouring in from various quarters.

In an emotional Facebook post, Samantha’s heartbroken father wrote:

“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. Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be forgotten. 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.”

USC president Harris Pastides also sent out a letter to the university community following Samantha’s death. “Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort," he confessed.

Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster and his wife, Peggy, also joined in the tributes on Twitter, describing the late student as “one of the brightest young stars.”

HEIGHTENED SAFETY CONCERNS

Samantha’s mom, Marci Josephson, earlier revealed that her daughter was planning to go to law school after graduating in May, but according to WLTX, she joined other friends and well-wishers on Sunday night to hold a vigil in honor of Samantha and all the dreams she’s now unable to achieve.

Samantha’s death has now highlighted the need for Uber customers to double-check the identity of the driver and vehicle particulars such as model, make, and license plate, before getting in.

A GoFundMe page set up to help cover funeral costs for Samantha has so far raised over $50,000, surpassing its initial $5,000 goal.

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