USC student kidnapped and killed, Columbia police say – WVLT.TV

USC student kidnapped and killed, Columbia police say - WVLT.TV

South Carolina man charged with kidnapping and murder of University of South Carolina student

COLUMBIA, S.C.(WLTX) — Columbia police say a man kidnapped and killed a University of South Carolina student who mistakenly got into his car thinking it was her Uber ride.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook announced that 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland is charged with murder in the death of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson.

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“Our hearts our broken,” Holbrook said. “There is nothing harder than to stand before a family and explain how their loved one was murdered.”

“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,” Seymour Josephson wrote. “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.”

Holbrook said Josephson, a senior political science major from New Jersey, had been hanging out with friends between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Friday morning at The Bird Dog at 715 Harden Street in Five Points. She somehow got separated from her friends, and decided to get an Uber ride through her phone.

Police say Josephsons body was found by two turkey hunters in a wooded area in Clarendon County on Friday afternoon near Black Bottom Road in New Zion. The suspect previously lived in that area, and hunters say the secluded spot where she was found is only known to those who are familiar with that area.

Holbrook said she saw a black Chevy Impala pull up to the curb, thought it was her ride, and at 2:09 a.m., got into the back of the vehicle. However, Holbrook said that was not the car she was waiting for.

Saturday at 3 a.m., Rowland was stopped two blocks from the Five Points area in a black Chevrolet Impala by an alert Columbia K-9 officer. According to police, when Rowland was asked to step out of the car he fled on foot and was later arrested.

24-year-old Clarendon native charged in killing of USC student

Hours later, her roommates, who all lived with her at The Hub high-rise in downtown Columbia, got concerned about where she was. At 1:30 p.m. Friday, they called police after all their efforts to reach her failed.

Police then observed the appearance of blood in the car. SLED was called to process the scene. A search warrant later uncovered more blood, Josephsons cellphone, bleach, wipes and window cleaner, according to Chief Holbrook.

Outpouring of support for missing USC student who diedOfficers began their investigation, and say around 3:45 p.m., they got a call from the Clarendon County Sheriffs Office that hunters had found a body in a wooded area off a dirt road. Thats roughly 70 miles from where she went missing.

Around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, a K-9 officer found a black Impala about two blocks from in Five Points. His partner pulled over the car, but the driver, Rowland, got out and ran. The officer chased after him and was able to take him into custody.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said that the State Law Enforcement Division is charging Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, with kidnapping and murder in relation to Josephsons death.

Holbrook said Josephsons blood was found in the vehicle, and child proof locks were on the back-seat doors, which would have prevented anyone from getting out. Her cell phone was found in the passenger compartment, as well as wipes and cleaner.

He said many members of Josephsons family have come to Columbia. He said prior to his briefing with the media, he gave them all the details he had at this point.

About 3:45 p.m. Friday, a pair of area turkey hunters discovered a body on Black Bottom Road in New Zion. Just a couple hours earlier, at 1:30 p.m., Columbia police were notified by Josephsons friends that she had been missing since early Friday and didnt answer calls to her cellphone.

Rowland is now being held at the Richland County jail._________________________________________________

Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, of Columbia, was detained early Saturday in Columbia by law enforcement officials, according to Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook, who made comments Saturday night in a joint news conference with Clarendon County Sheriff Tim Baxley.

COLUMBIA, S.C.(WLTX) — Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student who was reported missing Friday, has died, the university confirms.

According to our CBS affiliate WLTX 19, School President Harris Pastides delivered the news in a statement Saturday morning:

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write these words this morning. 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. However, I take solace that the Carolina Family is here to embrace those who are hurting.

A Clarendon County native has been arrested and charged in the death of a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student whose body was found Friday afternoon on an isolated road in the New Zion area of Clarendon County.

Columbia Police Department announced Saturday that authorities had charged 24-year-old Nathaniel Rowland with the killing of Samantha Josephson, 21, after a traffic stop revealed that victims blood was located in his vehicle. (Columbia Police Department)

According to police, Rowland approached Josephson about 2:09 a.m. Friday morning outside a bar on Harden Street in the Five Points nightspot of Columbia. That was the last time she was seen.

A South Carolina man was charged Saturday with the kidnapping and murder of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson; police say they believe he picked her up in a vehicle, killed her and dumped her body in a wooded area.

Chief William H. Holbrook, with the Columbia Police Department, said at a news conference on Saturday night that authorities had charged 24-year-old Nathaniel Rowland with killing Josephson, 21. A traffic stop reportedly found the victim's blood in his car.

Im invested in their life. Im invested in their future. And when their future is gone, like Samis future to me its just not fair, Jaimes said. Its just not fair how her life got cut short. How shes not going to fulfill her dream of being in international law, how shes not going to fulfill the plan that her and I talked about due to someone just being very evil and just selfish.

“Our hearts are broken, they’re broken. There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family an explain how a loved one was murdered,” Holbrook said.

When she walked in I was like Sami, did you get into law school? She was like yeah I got into law school, and I high fived her and we celebrated that moment just because thats something that she wanted, and shes like thank you for that letter of recommendation, it meant a lot to me. Jaimes said.

According to police, Josephson was out early Friday with friends at the Bird Dog bar on Harden Street when members of the group got separated. After not being able to contact her at all the following morning, Josephson’s roommates contacted law enforcement.

Ive been trying to fight tears all morning… its not fair. Its not fair that she lost her life. Jaimes said. I was myself downtown last night around the same time. And I thought if only I could have done something.

Police learned that after leaving the bar, Josephson requested a ride from Uber and was last seen getting into a black Chevy Impala.

Jaimes said they had a close connection and had dreams of attending law school. Josephson asked Jaimes for a letter of recommendation for law school. She reflects on their last conversation.

According to police, Josephson was out early Friday with friends at the Bird Dog bar on Harden Street when the groups members became separated. (Columbia Police Department)

Austin Dove, USC Student said When youre downtown, you got to be aware, you got to keep your wits about you, watch out for your friends too. Dont ever leave someone alone.

While investigators with the Columbia Police Department began a missing-person inquiry, Clarendon County police responded to a call about 3:45 p.m. that a body had been discovered in a field.

“The body had been found by a couple of people hunting … in a field in what was described by the sheriff to us as a wooded area in a very rural part of the county off of a dirt road — about 40 feet off of a dirt road — in an area  that would be very difficult to get to unless you knew how to get there.”

The Columbia Police Department says their investigation in the disappearance of Josephson has now become a death investigation.


About 3 a.m. Saturday, a canine officer with the Columbia Police Department detected a black Chevy Impala about two blocks from where the victim was last seen.

Holbrook said the officer initiated a traffic stop and asked the driver — people have identified him as Rowland — to step out of the vehicle.

Police discovered that after leaving the bar, Josephson had requested a ride from Uber and was last seen getting into this black Chevy Impala. (Columbia Police Department)

Upon returning to the vehicle, the officer observed what appeared to be large amounts of blood inside. Police got a search warrant and found similar samples in the trunk and passenger side of the car. Subsequent testing confirmed that the blood belonged to Josephson.

Police also discovered the victim’s cellphone in the vehicle, along with bleach, germicidal wipes and window cleaner. Holbrook said the child safety feature on the rear car doors had been activated, suggesting that Josephson might have been unable to escape.

Said Holbrook: “What we know now is that she had in fact summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come, we believe. We don't’ have a statement or any evidence that suggests this, other than our observations on the video. We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride.”

Holbrook concluded his press conference with condolences to Josephson’s family, calling the case simply “gut-wrenching.”

Posted in Columbia