South Carolina authorities on Sunday released surveillance video they said showed the moment Samantha Josephson exited a bar and entered the car she mistakenly thought was her Uber, but was instead her alleged killer.
The 21-year-old could be seen approaching the Chevy Impala and entering the backseat.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said investigators found the victim’s blood in Nathaniel David Rowland’s vehicle. Rowland, 24, was arrested and charged in Josephson’s death. She was a student at the University of South Carolina student and from New Jersey.
Rowland is charged with kidnapping and murder. It wasn’t known if Rowland had a lawyer. He was being held in the Richland County jail.
Investigators would not say what they think Rowland did to Josephson from the time she got into his black Chevrolet Impala in Columbia’s Five Points entertainment district around 1:30 a.m. Friday until her body was dumped in woods off a dirt road in Clarendon County about 65 miles away.
Josephson had numerous wounds to her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot, according to arrest warrants released Sunday by the State Law Enforcement Division. The documents didn’t say what was used to attack her.
Josephson’s blood was found in the trunk and inside Rowland’s car along with her cellphone, bleach, window cleaner and cleaning wipes, Holbrook said.
“This was a bad scene,” the police chief said at a news conference late Saturday.
Hunters found Josephson’s body Friday afternoon just hours after it was dumped, despite being left in an area that was “very difficult to get to unless you knew how to get there,” Holbrook said.
Rowland has recently lived in the area, he said.
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, Holbrook said.
Rowland decided not to appear at a hearing in jail Sunday. The judge allowed Josephson’s mother to speak, The State newspaper reported.
Marci Josephson said her daughter was planning to go to law school after graduating in May and described her as “bubbly, loving, kind and full of life.”
“Unlike him, Samantha had love within her heart and purpose in her life,” Marci Josephson said.
Safety advocates urged college students to match the vehicle color and model, the license tag number, and the photo of their ride-share drivers before getting in a vehicle and make the driver say their names to them before they introduce themselves.
“She simply, mistakenly, got into the car thinking it was an Uber ride,” Holbrook said.
The crime shook Columbia, the state capital where the University of South Carolina is one of the main economic engines.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and his wife, Peggy, asked on a message on Twitter for prayers for Josephson’s family.
“Peggy and I are devastated and crushed over the Josephson family losing their beautiful daughter Samantha. She was one of the brightest young stars,” McMaster wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report