The father of the University of South Carolina student who was killed after getting into a car she thought was her Uber spoke out at a vigil in their New Jersey hometown about the anguish over his loss.
“This moment is overwhelming,” Seymour Josephson told a crowd of family and friends who had gathered for his daughter, Samantha “Sammy” Josephson.
The 21-year-old college senior was killed early Friday morning after getting into a car she mistakenly thought was her Uber ride. She was last seen alive on surveillance video that shows her getting into the vehicle.
Her body was found Friday afternoon in a wooded area about 65 miles from Columbia, South Carolina, where she attended school.
“I requested to meet the officer that arrested, captured and arrested the person that murdered my daughter,” an emotional Seymour Josephson told the hundreds who had gathered Tuesday in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
He said he wanted to thank the officer for his role in apprehending Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, who was arrested on kidnapping and murder charges.
Police said the child safety locks of the car Samantha Josephson rode in were engaged, suggesting there was little chance for escape. Her father urged people in the crowd to travel together when using ride-sharing apps.
“Samantha was by herself. She had absolutely no chance,” he said.
Samantha Josephson’s boyfriend, Greg Corbishley, who was out of town at the time of the murder, also spoke at the vigil.
“She was the love of my life,” he told the crowd. “I was on the phone tracking her, through all of this, just to make sure she got home safely and immediately knew that there was something that was wrong.”
An autopsy reported that Samantha Josephson died from “multiple sharp force injuries.”
The scenario leading to the murder has left many people who use ride-share apps, especially women, concerned about their safety, realizing how easily anyone could pretend to be a driver for Uber or Lyft.
“It was a mistake that anybody could have made,” Malicka Barro, a junior at Rowan University in New Jersey, said.
Uber said the company is working with colleges nationwide on safety measures and plans to partner with the University of South Carolina to further heighten awareness.
But Seymour Josephson urged ride-sharing companies to do even more to save other families from heartbreak like his.
“This is nothing that you’d ever want to do. You don’t want to go through this,” he said.
His daughter’s funeral is scheduled to be held Wednesday.