South Carolina student died from multiple sharp force injuries, authorities say

Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 18:46:27-04

A college student whose body was found in a field hours after she got into a vehicle she mistakenly thought was her Uber ride died from multiple sharp force injuries, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Monday.

Samantha Josephson, 21, a student at the University of South Carolina, called an Uber around 2 a.m. Friday in Columbia, and was last seen getting in to a black Chevy Impala, said Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook. Turkey hunters found her body 14 hours later in the field in Clarendon County, about 90 miles away.

The Law Enforcement Division cited an autopsy report from the Clarendon County coroner. Authorities declined to release additional information.

Josephson’s body had numerous wounds, including on her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot, according to arrest warrants for suspect Nathaniel David Rowland.

Surveillance video of Josephson outside a bar shows her standing by herself on a curb on the morning she disappeared. She takes several steps toward a black vehicle that pulls up to a parking spot. She appears to reach for the door handle of the vehicle as it slows down and gets inside, the video shows.

Early Saturday, police arrested Rowland, 24, in Columbia after an officer saw him driving the Impala. Police found Josephson’s blood and her cell phone in Rowland’s vehicle after his arrest, police said.

Rowland faces charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with Josephson’s death.

He waived his right to a scheduled court appearance on Sunday. Fielding Pringle, his public defender, declined to comment. Rowland was listed as being held in jail in Columbia. Arrest warrants listed his home as New Zion, an unincorporated community in Clarendon County.

Josephson, who is from Robbinsville, New Jersey, planned to study law in the fall at Drexel University in Philadelphia, her father, Seymour Josephson, said at a candle light vigil Sunday on the South Carolina campus.

Josephson’s funeral will be held at noon Wednesday at Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, according to a post on her father’s Facebook page. She will be buried in Perrineville, New Jersey.