COLUMBIA, SC - A man has been charged with murder and kidnapping after a 21-year-old student who disappeared from a bar district in Columbia, South Carolina was found dead.
Samantha Josephson, 21, disappeared early Friday morning between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. She was seen getting in to a vehicle in Columbia, the City of Columbia Police Department said on Twitter.
She left her friends at a bar and is believed to have gotten into a Chevrolet Impala. Josephson’s friend, Jordyn Spencer, told The State of Columbia she believes Josephson may have mistaken the car for rideshare car she had ordered.
Hunters found Josephson's body in a rural area several feet from a dirt road in Clarendon County Friday afternoon, officials said.
Police said in a news conference Saturday that they pulled over the driver of the Impala, Nathaniel David Rowland, around 3 a.m. Saturday morning and found blood in his car.
Rowland ran from the car, but police were able to catch him and arrest him.
The investigation regarding USC student Samantha Josephson is now a homicide case. Her body was found by hunters in rural Clarendon Co. late yesterday afternoon. Suspect Nathaniel Rowland has been charged w/ Murder & Kidnapping by SLED. Agents have been an integral part in case. pic.twitter.com/2tj8TVRAex— Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) March 30, 2019
Police were later able to determine the blood was Josephson's.
Police said they believe Josephson's death was a random act of violence and that she did not know Rowland.
Rowland faces murder and kidnapping charges.
News Conference On Samantha Josephson Investigation https://t.co/PvfVmd74X9— Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) March 30, 2019
Josephson's father, Seymour, confirmed his daughter's death on Facebook Saturday, writing, "Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be for gotten [sic]."
“It is with tremendous sadness and of a broken heart that I post this! I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of life,” Seymour Josephson wrote. “It is extremely hard to write this and post it but I love her with all my heart. I could continue to write about her but it kills me."
Surveillance cameras captured photos of Josephson talking on her phone early Friday morning.
Cont’d: Here’s another picture of Josephson when she was last seen on Harden Street talking on the phone. Pay close attention to what she was wearing early this a.m. Call @MidlandsCrime at 1-888-CRIME-SC w/your helpful tips regarding her whereabouts. pic.twitter.com/PZSokgwFYN— Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) March 30, 2019
Shortly after 2 a.m., investigators believe she was seen getting into a black "newer model Chevy Impala." Family and friends had not been able to get in touch with her since then, police said.
Cont’d: Special Victims Unit investigators believe that shortly after 2:00 a.m., Josephson was seen getting into this newer model Chevy Impala along Harden Street. Family & friends have been trying to locate her ever since. Again, call @MidlandsCrime 1-888-CRIME-SC w/your tips. pic.twitter.com/3211Wjx6PK— Columbia Police Dept (@ColumbiaPDSC) March 30, 2019
A GoFundMe account has been set up in Josephson's name to rasie money for her funeral and memorial costs.
The University of South Carolina issued a statement Saturday, confirming Josephson's death.
"It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write these words this morning," said USC President Harris Pastides in a letter to students. "Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death. Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort. However, I take solace that the Carolina Family is here to embrace those who are hurting."
The Columbia Police Department declined ABC News’ requests for further comment on the investigation and information on how Josephson died, but said it would release a statement "soon." Efforts to reach Josephson's family were not immediately successful.
"As you make plans for the weekend," Pastides' letter continued, "remember the tenets of Stand Up Carolina: look out for one another, be active bystanders. Travel in groups and stay together."
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
ABC News contributed to this report.
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