Columbia Police Chief: “Our Hearts are broken” on death of USC student – Abccolumbia.com

Columbia Police Chief: \

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

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Columbia Police are extending their condolences to the family of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson.

Columbia police said  “In speaking w/Josephson’s parents, Chief Holbrook said during the news conference, “Our hearts are broken. There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family and explain how a loved one was murdered. It was gut-wrenching. This is personal to us.”

“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.”

COLUMBIA,  SC (WOLO)– Columbia Police announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the death of a missing University of South Carolina student.

Columbia Police say Nathaniel David Rowland DOB (1994) is charged with the murder and kidnapping of Samantha Josephson.

Columbia Police say the body of Samantha Josephson was found in a wooded area in Clarendon County by hunters. Which is about an hour and a half away from where Samantha disappeared, say Police.

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.

COLUMBIA,SC (WOLO)- Missing USC student, Samantha Josephson, has died according to University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides.

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.

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.

It has been a difficult week for our extended Carolina family. The loss of a student is never easy but this has been a particularly painful few days as we have experienced loss on several of our campuses. As a family, let’s continue to pray for all the families experiencing heartache and grief this week. 

Josephson’s father wrote a message in regards to his daughters death Saturday morning. “I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of life. Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be for gotten.”

According to police, Josephson was last seen on surveillance video after 2 a.m. Friday entering a dark vehicle, possibly a newer model Chevrolet Impala.

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…

She was last seen outside of The Bird Dog bar on Harden Street. Police say she was waiting for an Uber she requested, but got in the wrong car.

According to Columbia Police Josephson was last seen at 715 Harden Street between 1:30a.m. and 2:00a.m.

A child safety seat was discovered in the back seat of the vehicle and the child safety locks were enabled, so no passengers could exit.

Investigators believe that shortly after 2:00 a.m., Josephson was seen getting into this newer model Chevy Impala along Harden Street.

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)

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.

“Mayor Dave Fried, B.A. Joy Tozzi and everyone in Robbinsville Township are devastated by the news that the Josephson family of Robbinsville have lost their precious Samantha. Our thoughts, prayers, boundless grief and endless support are with Seymour, Marci and Sydney at this unimaginable time,” the statement read.

“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.

Blood found in the car’s passenger side and trunk was matched to Josephson’s, the chief said, and her cell phone was found in the passenger compartment. Investigators also found a container of liquid bleach, germicidal wipes and window cleaner in the vehicle, he 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.

“What we know now is that she had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come,” Holbrook said, citing surveillance footage. “We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride.”

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

“Our hearts are broken, they’re broken. There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family and explain how a loved one was murdered,” he said. “It was gut wrenching, words really can’t describe what they’re going through.”

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)

Police searched for the car Josephson had gotten into and around 3 a.m. Saturday a Columbia officer saw the Impala and stopped the vehicle, Holbrook said. When the officer asked the driver to get out the car, he ran but was quickly captured, the chief said.

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.”

While Columbia police were starting their investigation, turkey hunters found a body around 4 p.m. Friday about 40 feet off a dirt road in a wooded area in Clarendon County, southeast of Columbia, Holbrook said. It was identified as Josephson’s.

SOUTH CAROLINA COLLEGE REPORTS DEATH OF STUDENT, 21, A DAY AFTER SHE CLIMBED INTO CAR SHE THOUGHT WAS HER RIDE-SHARE

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.

CNN reached out to Uber Saturday, but the company declined to comment. Uber’s online safety tips advise drivers to check that the license plate, driver photo and driver name match what’s listed in the app before getting in the car.

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)

Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, has been arrested on charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with Josephson’s death, Holbrook said. He is being held in jail in Columbia. CNN has not determined if he has a lawyer yet.

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.”


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