New Jersey

Student Dies From ‘Multiple Sharp Force Injuries' After Mistaking Car for Uber, Officials Say

Samantha Josephson, 21, of Robbinsville, New Jersey, died from multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Clarendon County Coroner.

What to Know

  • Samantha Josephson, 21, of Robbinsville, New Jersey, died from multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Clarendon County Coroner.
  • Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, was arrested and charged in her death.
  • Josephson went into Rowland's vehicle early Friday morning mistakenly believing he was her Uber driver, according to her father.

The cause of death has been released for a University of South Carolina student from New Jersey who police say was kidnapped and killed after mistaking a car for her Uber.

Samantha Josephson, 21, of Robbinsville, New Jersey, died from multiple sharp force injuries, according to the Clarendon County Coroner.

Josephson's time at the University of South Carolina was winding down and she spent another night with friends at Columbia's Five Points bar district. She got separated from the group, so she called an Uber to take her home around 1:30 a.m. Friday, authorities said.

The first dark car Josephson went up to was not her ride, her father, Seymour Josephson, said. So she jumped into a second similar looking car.

After getting into the car, the driver, identified by police as Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, attacked her, causing numerous wounds to her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot with a sharp object, according to arrest warrants and the coroner's report. The documents didn't say what was used to attack her.

Rowland is now charged with kidnapping and murder in Josephson's death.

"Samantha was by herself. She had absolutely no chance. None. The door was locked, the child safety locks were on. She had absolutely no chance," her father said Sunday night at a candlelight vigil in Columbia.

Josephson's blood and cellphone were found in Rowland's car the next night when he was arrested two blocks from Five Points, authorities said.

Josephson's body was found in Clarendon County, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) from Columbia, police said.

Police also say they found blood and cleaning products inside Rowland's vehicle.

Loved ones continue to mourn Josephson, described as a ball of energy who brightened every room and was ready to head to law school on her way to changing the world. Her father promised to dedicate his life to improving the safety of ride sharing services.

Safety advocates said ride sharing services will send a description of the vehicle, its license tag number and a photo of the driver and recommend passengers check the information before getting inside. They also suggest requiring the driver give the name of the person requesting the ride as an extra level of safety.

Seymour Josephson told his daughter's friends they can help by always taking rides or walking around town in groups of two or more because there is safety in numbers.

"If there is somebody else in that car, there is actually a chance," said Josephson, who plans to speak to ride sharing services about better identifying their vehicles.

Rowland remains in the Richland County jail. It wasn't known if he had a lawyer.

Josephson's boyfriend, Greg Corbishley said he saw a clear future with her and remembered their last conversation Thursday when she thanked him for letting her just be herself.

"Even in the short time she was here, how many people she positively impacted with her energy," Corbishley said.

Josephson's parents said they had planned to come to Columbia on Saturday to see their daughter in the city and the university she loved one last time before she graduated in May and moved on to law school at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

They still came, but while her father went to the candlelight vigil, her mother was at the Richland County jail for a hearing scheduled for the man charged with killing her daughter.

Rowland decided not to appear, but a judge gave Marci Josephson a chance to talk. She called Rowland evil and remembered her daughter as "bubbly, loving, kind, and full of life."

"Unlike him, Samantha valued human life, and could never harm another soul," Marci Josephson said. "Unlike him, Samantha had love within her heart, and a purpose in her life, the life he brutally ended."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us