ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. (CBS) —Samantha Josephson was found dead less than a day after she was reported missing. Now authorities have arrested and charged a man in her murder.
The 21-year-old Josephson graduated from Robbinsville High School and was a senior political science major at the University of South Carolina. The Robbinsville Public School District remembers Josephson fondly, calling her a vibrant young woman who had an infectious smile.
“It’s just … it’s surreal,” Diane Michon, a neighbor of Josephson’s, said. “You hear about all of these horrible things happening on the news and you just don’t expect it to be one of the kids growing up with your children. It’s just sickening.”
Police say Nathaniel David Rowland has been charged with murdering and kidnapping Josephson, who was reported missing at 1:30 p.m. Friday by her roommate in South Carolina.
Officials say Josephson was waiting for an Uber outside of a bar in Columbia, South Carolina’s 5 Points area around 2 a.m. on Friday. Investigators believe Josephson entered a black Chevy Impala driven by Rowland, mistaking the car for her Uber ride.
Josephson was found a couple of hours after she was reported missing in a wooded area in Clarendon County by a couple of turkey hunters, police say.
Per police, K-9 officers pulled over the Chevy Impala with Rowland at the wheel around 3 a.m. Saturday. Rowland then got out of the vehicle and ran but was soon caught.
Police say the Josephson’s blood, her cellphone, bleach and germicidal wipes were found inside of Rowland’s Impala.
“She was a very bubbly, warm, kind person,” one of Josephson’s friends told Eyewitness News. “She was excited about going to law school. It’s very sad that she’s gone. We’ll miss her a lot.”
Joseph’s father announced her death on Facebook, writing, “I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of my life.”
Michon, a family friend a neighbor, watched Josephson grow up with her children.
Like the rest of the Robbinsville community, Michon is in disbelief.
“The kids all grew up together,” Michon said. “They were all babies together. We all walked the streets with strollers. I just can’t even fathom.”
Josephson was planning to return home after graduating from USC in May.
She was recently accepted into Drexel University’s law school.