South Carolina student found dead after entering car she thought was an Uber

Samantha Josephson
Samantha Josephson, left, in a family photo and, right, moments before disappearing. Photo credit: Colombia Police Department

A woman who got into a stranger's car thinking it was an Uber has been found dead.

Samantha Josephson, 21, from South Carolina went missing on Friday, and Colombia police confirmed her body had been found on Sunday morning.

CCTV footage recovered by police shows Josephson waiting outside a Colombia bar in the early hours of Friday morning, looking at her phone before getting into the car.

Friend Ashlynn Steele told her university newspaper, The Daily Gamecock, that Josephson mistook the car for an Uber.

After not being seen by friends until the afternoon of the following day, police were called and began a search for the car seen in the footage.

Her body was soon found in a rural area by local hunters, and a suspect was arrested in the city after he tried to flee the officer who pulled him over.

His car was found to have a large amount of blood inside the passenger and boot compartments, along with Josephson's cellphone, a container of liquid bleach, germicidal wipes and window cleaner.

The child safety locks on the passenger doors were also activated, meaning Josephson could not have escaped by opening them.

Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, has been charged with murder and kidnapping.


Josephson's father, Seymour, confirmed his daughter's passing in an emotional Facebook post.

"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."

Uber urges 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."

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