A 21-year-old South Carolina college student who was found dead Friday allegedly entered the suspect’s car early that morning after mistaking it for an Uber.
Local authorities said Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina senior, was last seen on Friday at around 2 a.m. in the city of Columbia’s Five Points area. Her body was found later that same afternoon off a dirt road about 65 miles outside of Columbia, CBS News reports.
Surveillance video last showed Josephson leaving a bar and entering a black Chevy Impala. Police said that 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland was arrested Saturday when an officer noticed him behind the wheel of a car of the same make, model, and color. Rowland tried to run but was eventually caught and arrested. Upon closer inspection, the officer saw what looked like blood inside the car.
Authorities said Rowland will be charged with kidnapping and murder.
Seymour Josephson, Josephson’s father, confirmed the news on Facebook on Saturday, posting a photo of himself with his daughter.
“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,” he said. “I could continue to write about her but it kills me. I sit here and cry while looking at the picture and write this.”
University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides also issued a statement this weekend addressing Josephson’s death.
“Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death,” he said. “Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort. However, I take solace that the Carolina family is here to embrace those who are hurting.”
Pastides urged students to take measures to ensure their personal safety.
On their website, Uber recommends all customers request cars from indoors and use in-app resources for their safety, including contacting drivers through an anonymized number and sharing their ride status with friends and family. The company also encourages riders to cross-reference license plates, driver photos, and driver names before getting into a car.