On March 31, 2019, a tragic murder occurred in South Carolina after New Jersey native, Samantha Josephson ended her night by getting into what she thought was her uber. After a night spent with friends at the Bird Dog bar, the USC student left alone at 2 am and got an uber for herself. Nine minutes later she hopped into a Black Chevy Impala that had pulled over to the side, surveillance later showed. Although nothing seemed suspicious here, the Impala, however, was not the 21 year old’s uber. After not returning to her campus home, her friends reported her missing 12 hours later. As police scrambled to find answers about Josephson’s whereabouts, she was reported dead only two hours later, her body found still in Columbia, South Carolina by two turkey hunters who discovered the body on a dirt path. A Columbia police officer stated that her horrific death was caused by “multiple sharp force injuries.”
The man found responsible was 24-year-old Nathan Rowland, who was charged with killing and kidnapping the college senior. As the police searched Rowland’s vehicle, they found blood in the backseat, bleach, and the child safety locks turned on. As the news of Samantha Josephson’s murder spread, a vigil was held on the USC campus which had happily been her home for four years. Josephson’s family also flew down from New Jersey to speak to police and learn more heartbreaking answers about their daughter’s final hours, before having her funeral at her hometown of Robbinsville, New Jersey. At the vigil, her father spoke to the students and implored them to challenge companies like Uber and Lyft to ensure their safety. The Josephson’s, while grieving the loss of their soon-to-be graduate, they are also working to prevent this incident from happening to anyone else.
If you or anyone you know is traveling alone using a car service app, please make sure to:
Make sure the car model, color, and license plate match the vehicle that pulls up to you
Before entering the vehicle, always ask “Who are you picking up?”. Do not say your name, let the driver tell you who they are there to pick up
Before you shut the door, make sure to check that there are no child locks activated on your door