Courtesy of Jordyn Spenner

Suspect arrested in death of abducted USC student

South Carolina law enforcement has charged a Clarendon County man with murder and kidnapping after a USC student was found dead Friday, Columbia police said.

Nathaniel Rowland, 24, was captured near Five Points where Samantha Josephson was abducted the previous day. 

Josephson was waiting for an Uber to pick her up after being out with her friends Friday night. She got into Rowland's car around 2:09 a.m. believing it to be her ride, Columbia police chief Skip Holbrook said.

In the afternoon, about 12 hours later, Josephson's friends reported her missing. 

In a wooded area in Clarendon County Friday afternoon, a couple of hunters found Josephson dead, Holbrook said. She was 21 years old.

Early the next morning, a Columbia K-9 officer found a car that resembled the one that took Josephson and discovered Rowland was the driver. 

Officers captured the suspect after he attempted to run away, the chief said, and blood found in the car was later determined to be Josephson's. Josephson was taken from the same block as Dail Dinwiddie, who disappeared in 1992 after leaving a bar and was never found.

Police said SLED charged Rowland, and they did not say how Josephson was killed. Holbrook said that Rowland had activated the child lock feature, which prevented the doors in the back from opening. Holbrook said members of her family have come to Columbia and he gave them all the details he had.

"We are with them every step of the way," Holbrook said.

Josephson's story spread through social media, resulting in an outpour of support from the USC community for the New Jersey native's loved ones. A Facebook post from her father received 3,000 shares within a few hours of going up.

“Sami was a loved member of our community,” said Josephson's sorority, the USC chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta.

She was a political science student who planned to graduate in May and attend law school.

Flowers have also been placed in Five Points in Josephson's memory.

"Our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death," USC President Harris Pastides wrote in a letter. "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. 

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