‘She had ab­so­lutely no chance. None.’

She got into wrong car, then turned up dead

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Gabe Caval­laro and John Bacon Caval­laro re­ports for the Greenville (S.C.) News

Slain South Carolina stu­dent, 21, got in car she thought was an Uber

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sur­veil­lance video shows a Univer­sity of South Carolina stu­dent climb­ing into the ve­hi­cle of the per­son ac­cused of killing her, be­liev­ing it was an Uber ve­hi­cle she had sum­moned min­utes ear­lier.

The video shows Samantha Joseph­son, 21, on her phone near a crowd gath­ered out­side a bar in Columbia’s Five Points en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict at about 2 a.m. Fri­day. A Chevy Im­pala rolls up, and Joseph­son skips a few steps to the street and climbs into the back seat.

“She had, in fact, sum­moned an Uber ride,” Columbia Po­lice Chief Skip Hol­brook said. “She sim­ply mis­tak­enly got into this car, think­ing it was an Uber.”

Joseph­son’s body was found the next day by tur­key hun­ters in a wooded area more than 60 miles away. The driver who po­lice said picked up Joseph­son, Nathaniel Row­land, was found with his car early Satur­day morn­ing.

Hol­brook said blood found in the car matched Joseph­son’s blood. He said the child safety locks were en­gaged, so Joseph­son would have been un­able to flee once she realized her mis­take.

Row­land, 24, was held on charges of mur­der and kidnapping. At a hear­ing Sun­day, Joseph­son’s mother spoke of the pain her fam­ily was en­dur­ing.

“There are no words to de­scribe the in­cred­i­ble pain he’s caused,” Marci Joseph­son said. “Samantha was bubbly, lov­ing, kind and full of life. He’s taken away a piece of our heart.”

Joseph­son was set to graduate in May and planned to at­tend law school at Drexel Univer­sity in Philadelph­ia in the fall. About 500 peo­ple gath­ered Sun­day night for a vigil to honor her life.

Sev­eral friends and loved ones, in­clud­ing her fa­ther, Seymour, re­mem­bered an en­er­getic woman who loved her friends and fam­ily and skill­fully bal­anced her so­cial life with her stud­ies.

Seymour Joseph­son said he wants oth­ers to learn from what hap­pened to his daugh­ter and be more care­ful us­ing ride-hail­ing ser­vices. He said he wants to see those ser­vices im­prove safety for clients.

“I don’t want any­one else to go through this again,” he said. “What we learned is … you guys have to travel to­gether. If there’s two of you, some­thing is less likely to hap­pen.

“Samantha was by her­self. She had ab­so­lutely no chance. None.”

Ser­vices for Joseph­son are set for Wed­nes­day in her na­tive New Jer­sey. A $5,000 Go­FundMe cam­paign to raise money for fu­neral and other ex­penses had raised al­most $50,000 in pledges Mon­day.


Friends and fel­low stu­dents honor Samantha Joseph­son at the Univer­sity of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.

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