A student from New Jersey was only weeks away from her graduation when she was brutally killed after getting into the wrong car thinking it was the Uber she had booked.
Samantha Josephson was studying political science at the University of South Carolina and had spent time studying in Barcelona.
She had won a full scholarship to Drexel University in Philadelphia where she wanted to pursue her dreams of practicing international law.
But on March 28, 2019, Samantha was feeling a little down after receiving bad news about a family member’s health.
After spending some time with her friends at the Five Points area in Columbia, she ordered an Uber and went outside to wait for the vehicle.
A surveillance camera captured a black Chevrolet Impala pulling up next to the student, who was pictured wearing an orange shirt and black trousers.
Only moments after she got into the wrong car, the Uber she had called arrived and cancelled the ride because she wasn’t there.
The next day, her worried roommates reported her missing when they realized she had not come back. Less than 24 hours later, a body was discovered in woods some 65 miles away from Five Points.
Samantha had more than 120 stab wounds and it was evident that she had put up a brave fight.
Investigators believed that once she was inside the vehicle, the driver had activated the car’s childproof locks so she couldn’t jump out of the Impala.
The driver was later identified as 24-year-old Nathaniel Rowland, who had once lived near the area where the body was found.
Rowland was arrested and charged with kidnapping, murder, and possessing a weapon.
During the sentencing, the judge said: “There’s a thousand trails that led to you. All of the evidence, each speck – not simply beyond a reasonable doubt but as the highest standard the law requires – points to your guilt.”
He also called Rowland ‘totally heartless’ and said the incident was the ‘most severe’ murder case he had dealt with.
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