A student from the University of South Carolina was murdered last week after she got into a car that she mistakenly thought was her Uber.
USA Today reported that 21-year-old Samantha Josephson was waiting for transportation when she got into a black Chevy Impala that she thought was her Uber. Police say the car’s child safety locks were engaged, which would have prevented Josephson from fleeing if she had tried.
A surveillance video shows Josephson at 2:00 AM on her phone outside a bar in Columbia, South Carolina when an Impala pulls up and Josephson gets in the back seat.
“She had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride,” Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said, according to USA Today. “She simply mistakenly got into this car thinking it was an Uber.”
Josephson was reported missing by her friends on Friday afternoon and later that day her body was found by turkey hunters more than 65 miles away in a wooded area.
On Saturday morning, police arrested 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland, who was driving the Impala, which had Josephson’s blood and cell phone in the car.
After initially fleeing from officers on foot, Rowland was arrested and is currently being held on charges of murder and kidnapping.
The mother of Josephson, Marci Josephson, reportedly pleaded with the judge to give Rowland a life sentence, reported CBS News. “I cannot fathom how someone could randomly select a person, a beautiful girl, and steal her life away,” she said while reading a statement. “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.”
“It sickens us to think that his face was the last thing my baby girl saw on this Earth. Does he even know her name?” Marci added. “He should never be given the right to walk free again for what he did to my daughter, or given the opportunity to hurt anybody else … My daughter’s name is Samantha Josephson. Don’t ever forget her name. Samantha Josephson.”
Josephson was a senior expecting to graduate in May who planned on attending Drexel University in Philadelphia for law school in the fall.
Josephson reportedly was remembered at a vigil held for her last night by hundreds of fellow students. Josephson’s boyfriend, Greg Corbishley, spoke about Josephson at the vigil. “I look at all of you guys, and I see that even in the short time that she was here, how many people she positively impacted with her energy and her positive attitude and her wildness,” Corbishley said. “Energy doesn’t die. It stays with you, and that positive energy is going to help me go on in living the rest of my life.”
Josephson’s father, Seymour Josephson, also attended the vigil and urged ridesharing services to improve safety, reported Greenville News.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through this again – I can’t tell you how painful this is,” Seymour said.
“What we learned is … you guys have to travel together,” he added. “If there’s two of you, something is less likely to happen. Samantha was by herself – she had absolutely no chance. None.”
A GoFundMe with a goal of $5,000 was created to help the family with funeral and memorial costs but had already raised more than $50,000 as of Monday.