Slain college student apparently mistook suspect’s car for Uber ride

Columbia, S.C. — Police arrested a man Saturday in connection with the death of a college student who apparently got into the suspect’s car thinking it was her Uber ride. Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, was arrested early Saturday after a police officer noticed him driving a black Chevy Impala, the same type of car that Samantha Josephson got into as she left a bar shortly after 2 a.m. Friday in the city of Columbia’s 5 Points area, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said at a news conference.

Rowland tried to run, but the officer was able to catch up to him, Holbrook said. When they returned to the car, he said, the officer saw what appeared to be blood in the car.

Samantha Josephson Columbia Police Dept.

“We believe … that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride,” Holbrook said of Josephson, noting that surveillance video captured her getting into the car. “She opened the door and got into it and departed with the suspect driving.”

Rowland will be charged with murder and kidnapping, Rowland said. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

Holbrook said hunters found Josephson’s body late Friday afternoon off a dirt road in rural Clarendon County, which is about 65 miles  southeast of Columbia.

Josephson’s father posted on Facebook that his daughter “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,” he said.

Earlier, the University of South Carolina confirmed the death of a 21-year-old student. University president Harris Pastides said in a letter Saturday to the university community that “Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death. Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort.”

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