COLUMBIA, S.C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A University of South Carolina student from New Jersey has been found dead after reportedly getting into a vehicle she mistakenly thought was her Uber ride.
Police say 21-year-old Samantha Josephson was reported missing after last being seen Friday about 2 a.m., getting into a car outside a bar in the city’s 5 Points area. On Saturday, authorities announced that her body was found on a secluded dirt road and a suspect has been taken into custody in connection with the death.
The Columbia Police Department announced that 24-year-old Nathaniel Rowland has been charged with murder and kidnapping after matching large amounts of blood found in the suspect’s car to the missing New Jersey girl.
Authorities added that the body was found by hunters in an area of South Carolina that was “difficult to get to” unless the person knew where they were going. Police added that the car Josephson allegedly entered had child safety locks in the back that would have prevented someone from getting out.
WEB EXTRA – Watch The Entire Press Conference On Samantha Josephson’s Murder Here:
University President Harris Pastides said in a letter Saturday to the university community that “Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death. Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort.”
Josephson’s father also posted on Facebook that his daughter “is no longer with us but she will not be forgotten.”
“It is with tremendous sadness and of a broken heart that I post this,” Seymour Josephson said on social media. “I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of life.”
“It is extremely hard to write this and post it but I love her with all my heart,” he said. “I could continue to write about her but it kills me. I sit here and cry while looking at the picture and write this.”
Details about how Josephson died or where she was found were not released, but University President Pastides put out a notice Saturday afternoon urging caution around campus:
“As you make plans for the weekend, remember the tenets of Stand Up Carolina: look out for one another, be active bystanders. Travel in groups and stay together. If you have not already done so, download the RAVE Guardian safety app, set up your profile and learn how to use it.”
The Columbia police posted a series of tweets overnight detailing where Joephson was last seen.
Josephson was a senior political science major from Robinsville, New Jersey.
Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried released a statement following the tragic news.
“Our thoughts, prayers, boundless grief and endless support are with Seymour, Marci and Sydney at this unimaginable time,” Fried said on social media. The New Jersey mayor also added that he has a close personal relationship with the family; calling Seymour Josephson a “big brother” to him.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)