Student, 21, Murdered After Mistaking Car for Her Uber Is Granted Posthumous Degree

Samantha Josephson, who was a junior, will be awarded a posthumous degree from the University of South Carolina.
Samantha Josephson, who was a junior, will be awarded a posthumous degree from the University of South Carolina. (Facebook)

Samantha Josephson, the 21-year-old killed after getting into a car she believed was an Uber, will be awarded a posthumous degree from the University of South Carolina.

University spokesman Jeff Stensland announced the plans in a Tuesday interview with The State.

Josephson, who was from Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, was in her junior year at the time of her death. She was majoring in political science with aspirations of becoming a lawyer, the school's College of Arts and Sciences said.

Her parents will attend Josephson’s would-be graduation, USC President Harris Pastides said, according to the Aiken Standard, adding that she had been accepted by Drexel University’s School of Law on a full-ride scholarship.

Josephson had been out with her roommates in Columbia last month when they got separated, so she booked an Uber to get her home. She left the Bird Dog bar and got into a black Chevy Impala she believed was being driven by an Uber driver.

But instead, 24-year-old Nathaniel Rowland, who was not a driver for Uber, was behind the wheel of the car, according to police.

Turkey hunters found Josephson’s body hours later in a field and coroners later determined she died of "multiple sharp force injuries," according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Rowland, 24, was arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping in connection to Josephson's death. He is being held in jail in Columbia. In an interview with Fox57 last week, Rowland's parents said they believed he is innocent.

"If he did it, I'll be the first one to put him behind bars, lock him up, and throw away the key," his father Henry Rowland said. "I feel so bad, but my son didn't do it."

Samantha’s mother, Marci Josephson, made an emotional statement to the judge set to preside over a court hearing for Rowland, who waived his right to appear.

“He’s taken away a piece of our heart, soul and life. Shame on him,” she said. “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.”

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