A university student has been found dead after getting into a stranger’s car thinking it was her Uber ride.
Samantha Josephson left The Bird Dog bar Columbia, South Carolina alone in the early hours of Friday after being separated from her roommates during a night out.
The University of South Carolina senior called an Uber around 2am and CCTV footage shows her getting into a black Chevrolet Impala outside the Five Points bar.
According to witnesses, her actual Uber driver arrived moments later and cancelled the ride thinking she hadn’t shown up for the pick-up.
The 21-year-old’s body was discovered in a field in Clarendon Country, 90 miles from Columbia 14 hours later. She had numerous wounds to her head, neck, and body.
Columbia Police Chief W.H. "Skip" Holbrook said during a news conference that the simple mistake had cost Josephson her life.
"What we know now is that she had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come. We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride," he said.
Nathanial David Rowland, 24, was arrested on suspicion of murder and kidnapping on Saturday morning after a police patrol car noticed him driving a black Chevrolet Impala near where Josephson was kidnapped.
He attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended by officers after a short chase.
Police said the victim’s blood, as well as her mobile phone and cleaning products, were found inside his car. The child safety locks were also activated, which would make it difficult for the senior political science major to open the car from the inside.
Mr Holbrook said: "Our hearts are broken. There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family and explain how a loved one was murdered. It was gut-wrenching. This is personal to us."
Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina offered his condolences to Josephson's family, adding that it's "times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort."