Seymour Josephson and his wife, Marci, last week put down a deposit at Drexel University, the law school their daughter, Samantha, was set to attend upon her college graduation from the University of South Carolina this May with a degree in political science.
And as a surprise, Josephson said they planned to visit her in Columbia for three days, starting Sunday.
Instead, on the grass behind USC’s Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center, the Josephsons on Sunday gathered with family and hundreds of South Carolina students to honor and remember the life of their peer, friend and sorority sister, Samantha or “Sami,” described by friends as an energetic and selfless 21-year-old college student set to be “the next Amal Clooney,” an international attorney.
“She absolutely loved it here,” Josephson said standing in front of his daughter’s photo. “She was a Gamecock.”
Samantha disappeared early Friday after a night out with friends after she got into a black Chevrolet Impala that police believe she thought was an Uber ride she ordered outside of The Bird Dog in Five Points, a popular hang-out spot among USC students.
Before she got into the car, Samantha walked up to another vehicle but realized it was the wrong Uber car, her father said.
“Samantha was by herself,” Josephson said on Sunday. “She had absolutely no chance.”
Samantha’s body was found by turkey hunters less than 24 hours later on a rural, dirt road in the town of New Zion in Clarendon County — about 65 miles southeast of Columbia. Police have arrested one suspect — Nathaniel David Rowland, 24 — who lived in Clarendon County and was familiar with the road where Samantha was found, said Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook.
Police said Rowland is not a driver for ride-share companies Uber or Lyft.
Rowland was arrested early Saturday, after a Columbia police officer observed his car just blocks from Five Points, Holbrook said.
He has since been charged with murder and kidnapping.
Police have not released a motive or reported how she died, only that she had “numerous wounds evident on multiple parts of her body to include her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot,” according to warrants from the State Law Enforcement Division.
Her father told students on Sunday he plans to dedicate his life to telling his daughter’s story.
In the same breath, he said, he plans to “hopefully” put pressure on ride-share companies Uber and Lyft to enhance safety measures so that no one else has to “ever go through this again,” he said. “I can’t tell you how painful this is.”
Samantha’s boyfriend, Greg Corbishley, said Sunday the final time he spoke to Samantha was via FaceTime on Thursday, when she told him, “I was her person, and she loved me and that she could truly be herself around me,” Corbishley said.
“I see that even in the short time that she was here, how many people she positively impacted with her energy,” Corbishley said. “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.”
A funeral service will be held Wednesday at Congregation Beth Chaim in New Jersey, according to Josephson’s Facebook page.