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Cops: Murder Suspect Activated Car's Child-Safety Locks

University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson may have thought car was her Uber
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2019 6:34 AM CDT
This undated photo provided by the Columbia Police Department shows Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student who was reported missing after last being seen Friday, March 29, 2019. The...   (Columbia Police Department via AP)
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(Newser) – University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson was found dead Friday, and police say a mistake over her Uber ride may have led to her death. "We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride," said Columbia Police Chief William Holbrook. The 21-year-old was seen on surveillance footage getting into a black Chevrolet Impala. ABC News reports police on Saturday arrested Nathaniel Rowland, 24, who has been hit with murder and kidnapping charges. Holbrook says Josephson's blood was found on the passenger seat and in the trunk of Rowland's Impala, along with bleach, germicidal wipes, and window cleaner. He added that investigators think child-safety locks were engaged that would have made it impossible to open the rear doors from the inside, reports NBC News.

Josephson, a senior majoring in political science, was last seen around 2am Friday in Columbia's Five Points neighborhood. The New York Times reports her roommates reported her missing Friday afternoon after being unable to reach her. About 2 hours later, turkey hunters some 65 miles away in rural Clarendon County came across her body. Police believe Rowland recently lived in the area. The State reports Josephson’s father, Seymour Josephson, confirmed her death on Facebook Saturday, writing in part, "I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of life. ... I could continue to write about her but it kills me. I sit here and cry while looking at the picture and write this." A GoFundMe campaign to cover her funeral costs has raised more than $25,000. (Read more murder stories.)

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