The mother of a South Carolina student who was found dead after getting into a stranger’s car thinking it was her Uber has slammed the driver as being ‘vile’ and ‘evil’ after it emerged he had activated the child locks in his backseat.
Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, was arrested for allegedly killing 21-year-old Samantha Josephson after she got into his car in Columbia at about 1.30am on Friday thinking it was her Uber ride.
Her body was found hours later dumped in woods off a dirt road in Clarendon County about 65 miles away from where she was last seen on surveillance video getting into Rowland’s car.
Josephson’s mother Marci read a statement on Sunday to the judge at Rowland’s jail hearing, which he was not present for.
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Samantha Josephson, 21, was found dead on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina after she mistakenly got into a car thinking it was her Uber ride
‘There are no words to describe the immense pain, his actions have caused our family and friends. He’s taken away a piece of our heart, soul and life. Shame on him. We thought he would be here to see his evil face,’ she said.
Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, was arrested for allegedly killing 21-year-old Samantha Josephson after she got into his car in Columbia at about 1.30am on Friday thinking it was her Uber ride
‘I can not fathom how someone could randomly select a person, a beautiful girl and steal her life away. His actions were senseless, vile and unacceptable. It sickens us to think that his face was the last thing that my baby girl saw on this earth.
‘His selfish, unspeakable and violent actions have created a hole in the universe.’
She described her daughter as bubbly and full of life and said she was due to graduate college in May and start law school in September.
The grieving mother urged the judge to deny bail for Rowland.
‘He should never be given the right to walk free again for what he did to my daughter, or given the opportunity to hurt anyone else,’ she said.
Josephson had numerous wounds to her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot when her body was found by turkey hunters just hours after she had been dumped there.
Surveillance video shows the fateful moment the 21-year-old mistook a car for the Uber she ordered outside a bar in Columbia, South Carolina, early Friday morning
Friends reported watching Josephson get into the black sedan they thought was an Uber at around 2am Friday morning. When Josephson’s actual Uber driver arrived moments later, the driver cancelled the ride because she didn’t show up for the pick-up, witnesses said
Josephson is seen with her parents in January 2018 on her way to spend her semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain. Her mom read a statement to the court Sunday
A vigil was held for Josephson at UofSC after the 21-year-old was murdered following a night out with friends
The night after Josephson was kidnapped, a Columbia police officer noticed a black Chevrolet Impala about two blocks from the Five Points bars where Josephson was kidnapped.
The driver ran but was arrested after a short chase and is charged with kidnapping and murder.
Police said the victim’s blood was found in the trunk and inside Rowland’s car along with her cellphone, bleach, window cleaner and cleaning wipes.
Investigators said there was a child safety seat in the back of the car and the child safety locks were enabled, meaning Josephson would have not been able to escape.
Security footage from the area shows Josephson getting into the black Chevy Impala when she was leaving after a night out with a group of friends in the Five Points area.
She left the bar Bird Dog alone and was spotted getting into the car that she and her friends believed was an Uber that she had ordered, a witness told the Daily Gamecock student newspaper.
When Josephson’s actual Uber driver arrived moments later, the driver cancelled the ride when she didn’t show up for the pick-up, witnesses said.
Surveillance images released by the Columbia Police Department also show the final image of Josephson before she disappeared. She was seen wearing an orange shirt and black pants, and talking on the phone.
Throughout the day on Friday, Josephson’s friends and family were unable to get in touch with her and an urgent search was launched.
Josephson, a student at the University of South Carolina, is seen above in a family photo
Surveillance images released by the Columbia Police Department show Josephson wearing an orange shirt and black pants and talking on the phone seconds before she disappeared
Josephson got into the car seen above, which she and her friends mistakenly believed was the Uber she had ordered
Josephson’s father (with her above) in her hometown of Robinsville, New Jersey also confirmed her passing in a heart-wrenching Facebook post
Josephson’s body was said to have been found Black Bottom Road, pictured
Columbia Police Department Chief Skip Holbrook said at a news conference Saturday: ‘She had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride. She was waiting for that Uber ride to come, we believe. She simply mistakenly got into this car thinking it was an Uber ride.’
‘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. It was gut wrenching, words really can’t describe what they’re going through.’
Holbrook did not take questions and did not elaborate on a motive or how Josephson died.
It is understood another woman, who knew Rowland, was in the car with him at the time of his arrest and is said to be cooperating with police, Timmons said.
After a frantic day of searching for the missing University of South Carolina student the school had earlier confirmed she was dead.
She was found 40 feet off a dirt road in a wooded area in Clarendon County.
‘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,’ wrote President Harris Pastides in a statement.
Josephson’s father in her hometown of Robinsville, New Jersey also confirmed her passing in a heart-wrenching Facebook post.
‘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,’ wrote Seymour Josephson, a sales manager with a technology company.
‘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,’ Josephson continued.
The mayor of Robinsville, a township of 13,000 near Trenton, posted condolences, writing: ‘Our thoughts, prayers, boundless grief and endless support are with Seymour, Marci and Sydney at this unimaginable time.’
Josephson’s blood and her cell phone were found Rowland’s black Chevy Impala, as well as bleach and cleaning products, according to police. They said the child safety locks were enabled on Rowland’s car meaning she would have not been able to escape
Security footage appears to show Josephson getting into the black Chevy Impala at around 2am on Friday. Rowland was arrested driving that car, police say
Josephson and her sister Sydney (left) pose together in Barcelona during her semester there
Police say the suspect previously lived in the area where Josephson’s body was found.
An Uber spokesman was unable to immediately comment when reached by DailyMail.com.
The company does urge riders to check that the details of the driver and the car match the information in the app, which provides the driver’s name and photo, as well as the make and model of the car and a license plate number.
Drivers are also provided the rider’s name and should be able to specify who they are picking up when asked.
‘In cases when you are helping someone request a ride through Uber who may have had a few drinks or is unfamiliar with the app, help them double check that the driver and vehicle match the details in the app — before they get in the car,’ wrote Wade Stormer, Uber’s law enforcement liaison, in a blog post.
‘Taking the extra step to double check these details is an important safety measure,’ he continued.
A GoFundMe set up to help with funeral costs had raised more than $47,000 by Sunday night.
Josephson (left) is seen in a family photo with her sister Sydney in Barcelona in 2018
Josephson is seen in family photos with her parents. Her death sparked an outpouring of grief on the UofSC campus as well as in her hometown of Robinsville, New Jersey