Crime & Courts

Father of slain USC student thanks Columbia cops who chased, caught accused killer

‘He was a monster’ Samantha Josephson’s father speaks about kidnapper’s arrest

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Robbinsville, NJ at a vigil for Samantha Josephson.
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Hundreds of mourners gathered in Robbinsville, NJ at a vigil for Samantha Josephson.

Seymour Josephson wanted to meet and thank the Columbia police officers who chased and arrested the man accused of abducting and killing Josephson’s daughter, Samantha. He got the chance while in South Carolina.

Samantha Josephson was found dead Friday afternoon, hours after she got into a car outside a Five Points bar, believing it was the Uber she ordered, police have said. Just over 24 hours after she was abducted, a Columbia Police Department officer on patrol near Five Points saw a black Chevrolet Impala matching the description of the vehicle involved in her disappearance. When he pulled the car over, the driver, Nathaniel Rowland, ran away but was caught and arrested by police.

Speaking Tuesday night at a vigil for his daughter in their hometown of Robbinsville, N.J., Seymour Josephson, recently back from South Carolina with his family, praised the support they have received from the University of South Carolina, where Samantha was a senior, and the Columbia Police Department.

“We actually met — I requested to meet the officer that captured and arrested the person that,” Josephson said, pausing to fight back tears, “That murdered my daughter. I wanted to thank him.”

“And I use that word ‘murder’ because that’s what he did,” Josephson continued, referring to Rowland. “It’s a strong word. It eats up inside of me.”

Three officers were involved in the pursuit and arrest of Rowland, Columbia police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said Wednesday. Master Police Officer Jeffrey Kraft initiated the traffic stop and chased Rowland on foot when he took off running. Officers Justin Niscia and J. Boyd backed him up in the foot pursuit, and all three chased Rowland, Timmons said.

Josephson’s comments came ahead of Wednesday’s memorial service for their daughter in New Jersey.

Photojournalist Brian McCarthy contributed.

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.
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