The death of Samantha Josephson rattled Columbia. The 21-year-old University of South Carolina student was abducted around 2 a.m. outside a bar in Five Points, police said. Here’s how the case unfolded.
Thursday evening: Josephson and a group of friends went to Five Points
After 1 a.m. Friday: She was last seen by her friends near the 700 block of Harden Street.
2:09 a.m. Friday: Surveillance video show Josephson getting into a black Chevrolet Impala near 715 Harden St. Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said investigators believe that Josephson thought the car was the Uber she called.
About 1:30 p.m. Friday: Columbia Police Department received a call from the student housing complex the Hub, on Main Street. Friends of Josephson reported her missing to police.
About 3:30 p.m. Friday: Columbia police started their missing person investigation. At about the same time, the Clarendon County Sheriff’s Department was called about a body found on a dirt road in a rural area near the town of New Zion. Based on clothing and the body’s description, police determined the body was likely Josephson’s.
After reviewing security footage of Josephson getting into the black Chevrolet Impala, police begin looking for the car.
Around 8:45 p.m. on Friday: Columbia Police Department tweeted a picture of Josephson and asked for the public’s help locating her. Officers worked through the evening to find out what happened to Josephson before she got into the car.
Around 3 a.m. Saturday: A Columbia police officer observed a matching Impala just blocks away from Five Points, Holbrook said. The officer pulled the vehicle over, and the driver fled on foot but was caught. Blood was found in the car, Holbrook later said. The driver, Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, was arrested.
Around 5 a.m on Saturday: Josephson’s father, Seymour Josephson, posted on social media that his daughter “is no longer with us but she will not be forgotten.”
10:30 a.m. Saturday: University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides released a statement about Josephson’s death. “Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death.”
6:45 p.m.: Holbrook said Rowland would be charged with kidnapping and murder after testing matched the blood found in the vehicle to Josephson. Bleach, wipes, and germicide were also found in the car, Holbrook said.
2 p.m. Sunday: Rowland is expected to go before a magistrate to hear the charges against him but waives his right to appear. However, Josephson’s family is in attendance, and her mother tells the judge: “We thought he would be here, to see his evil face. I cannot fathom how someone could randomly select a person, a beautiful girl, and steal her life away.”
7:30 p.m. Sunday: Hundreds of friends of Josephson’s, along with her family, gather for a vigil in her memory on the USC campus, where Josephson’s boyfriend said: “I see that even in the short time that she was here, how many people she positively impacted with her energy. And, as my friend said, ‘Energy doesn’t die. It stays with you.’ That positive energy is going to help me go on living the rest of my life.”
Reporter Teddy Kulmala contributed.