COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The father of a University of South Carolina student who police say was kidnapped and killed after she got into the wrong car thinking it was her Uber is promising to dedicate his life to improving the safety of ride sharing services.
Friends and family of Samantha Josephson are remembering the 21-year-old student as a ball of energy who brightened every room and was ready to head to law school on her way to changing the world.
Josephson's time at the University of South Carolina was winding down and she spent another night with friends at Columbia's Five Points bar district. She got separated from the group, so she called an Uber to take her home around 1:30 a.m. Friday, authorities said.
The first dark car Josephson went up to was not her ride, her father said. So she jumped into a second similar looking car, Seymour Josephson said.
"Samantha was by herself. She had absolutely no chance. None. The door was locked, the child safety locks were on. She had absolutely no chance," her father said Sunday night at a candlelight vigil in Columbia.
Safety advocates said ride sharing services will send a description of the vehicle, its license tag number and a photo of the driver and recommend passengers check the information before getting inside. They also suggest requiring the driver give the name of the person requesting the ride as an extra level of safety.
Seymour Josephson told his daughter's friends they can help by always taking rides or walking around town in groups of two or more because there is safety in numbers.
"If there is somebody else in that car, there is actually a chance," said Josephson, who plans to speak to ride sharing services about better identifying their vehicles.
Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, is charged with kidnapping and murder in Josephson's death. After Josephson got into his car, he attacked her, causing numerous wounds to her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot, according to arrest warrants. The documents didn't say what was used to attack her.
Josephson's blood and cellphone were found in his car the next night when he was arrested two blocks from Five Points, authorities said.
Josephson's body was found in Clarendon County, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) from Columbia, police said.
Rowland remains in the Richland County jail. It wasn't known if he had a lawyer.
Josephson's boyfriend, Greg Corbishley said he saw a clear future with her and remembered their last conversation Thursday when she thanked him for letting her just be herself.
"Even in the short time she was here, how many people she positively impacted with her energy," Corbishley said.
Josephson's parents said they had planned to come to Columbia on Saturday to see their daughter in the city and the university she loved one last time before she graduated in May and moved on to law school at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
They still came, but while her father went to the candlelight vigil, her mother was at the Richland County jail for a hearing scheduled for the man charged with killing her daughter.
Rowland decided not to appear, but a judge gave Marci Josephson a chance to talk. She called Rowland evil and remembered her daughter as "bubbly, loving, kind, and full of life."
"Unlike him, Samantha valued human life, and could never harm another soul," Marci Josephson said. "Unlike him, Samantha had love within her heart, and a purpose in her life, the life he brutally ended."