The Daily Gamecock

Update: Officials conduct article search where USC student's body was found

Uber ride-sharing service responded on Monday to the death of 21-year-old USC student Samantha Josephson.

“Everyone at Uber is devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime, and our hearts are with Samantha Josephson’s family and loved ones,” Uber wrote in a statement. 

Samantha was abducted last Friday after getting into a car in Five Points that she believed to be her Uber ride. She was found dead in the town of New Zion, about 65 miles from Columbia, the next day. The cause of death was "multiple sharp force injuries," according to SLED and Clarendon County Coroner Bucky Mock. 

Nathaniel Rowland, 24, has been charged with murder and kidnapping.

At a vigil on campus honoring Samantha's life, her father Seymour Josephson called for the community and for ride-sharing services to make an effort to keep each other safe. He urged students to try to stick with each other — Samantha was alone when she got into Rowland's car.

"She had absolutely no chance," Josephson said.

Uber said in the statement that it is remaining focused on raising public awareness about the issue of public safety. Additionally, in a letter, President Harris Pastides urged students to get familiar with Uber's safety tips.

One safety measure that people have suggested, particularly on social media, is to ask Uber or Lyft drivers to say the name of the person they're picking up. Promoting the idea, the hashtag #WhatsMyName has gained traction on Twitter.

Additionally, Rep. Seth Rose (D-Columbia) proposed a bill that would require Uber and Lyft drivers in South Carolina to post illuminated stickers on their windshields. Rose said the plan is to name it the Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act.

The memorial service for Samantha will be Wednesday in East Princeton, New Jersey.

Updated 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 

The South Carolina Natural Resources Department is now searching the area where Samantha's body was found to find items that could be connected with her death called an "article search," according to The State. 

Samantha's body was found in Clarendon County where Rowland resided. The area surrounding the location of the body including a pond will be searched by a dive team and the Natural Resources Department.