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S. Carolina college student killed by man she mistook for her Uber driver: police

Murdered USC student may have thought car was Uber
WATCH ABOVE: Police say a South Carolina man has been charged in the murder of a University of South Carolina student who may have gotten into her killer's car mistakenly believing that it was her Uber ride.

The man accused of killing a woman who got into his car thinking it was her Uber ride had activated the child locks in his backseat so the doors could only be opened from the outside, police in South Carolina say.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook also said investigators found the victim’s blood in Nathaniel David Rowland’s vehicle. Rowland, 24, was arrested and charged in the death of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson of Robbinsville, New Jersey.

Investigators would not say what they think Rowland did to Josephson from the time she got into his black Chevrolet Impala in Columbia’s Five Points entertainment district around 1:30 a.m. Friday until her body was dumped in woods off a dirt road in Clarendon County about 65 miles (105 kilometres) away.

This undated photo provided by the Columbia Police Department shows Nathaniel David Rowland.
This undated photo provided by the Columbia Police Department shows Nathaniel David Rowland. Columbia Police Department via AP

Josephson had numerous wounds to her head, neck, face, upper body, leg and foot, according to arrest warrants released Sunday by the State Law Enforcement Division. The documents didn’t say what was used to attack her.

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Josephson’s blood was found in the trunk and inside Rowland’s car along with her cellphone, bleach, window cleaner and cleaning wipes, Holbrook said.

“This was a bad scene,” the police chief said at a news conference late Saturday.

WATCH: Police in Columbia, S.C. allege 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland abducted and later killer 21-year-old Samantha Josephson, who thought he was her Uber driver.
Slain University of South Carolina student may have mistook suspect vehicle for Uber
Slain University of South Carolina student may have mistook suspect vehicle for Uber

READ MORE: Uber driver recovering after throat slashing in Arizona

Hunters found Josephson’s body Friday afternoon just hours after it was dumped, despite being left in an area that was “very difficult to get to unless you knew how to get there,” Holbrook said.

Rowland has recently lived in the area, he said.

The night after Josephson was kidnapped, a Columbia police officer noticed a black Chevrolet Impala about two blocks from the Five Points bars where Josephson was kidnapped. The driver ran, but was arrested after a short chase, Holbrook said.

Rowland is charged with kidnapping and murder, Holbrook said. He was being held in the Richland County jail. It wasn’t known if he had a lawyer.

WATCH: Uber adds panic alarm for U.S. riders in effort to curb sexual assault, other forms of violence (May 29, 2018)

Uber adds panic alarm for U.S. riders in effort to curb sexual assault, other forms of violence
Uber adds panic alarm for U.S. riders in effort to curb sexual assault, other forms of violence

Safety advocates urged college students to match the vehicle colour and model, the license tag number, and the photo of their ride-share drivers before getting in a vehicle.

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“She simply, mistakenly, got into the car thinking it was an Uber ride,” Holbrook said.

READ MORE: Man who drove for Uber in Toronto charged after series of alleged sexual assaults

The crime shook Columbia, the state capital where the University of South Carolina is one of the main economic engines. Josephson was a student at the school.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and his wife, Peggy, asked on a message on Twitter for prayers for Josephson’s family.

“Peggy and I are devastated and crushed over the Josephson family losing their beautiful daughter Samantha. She was one of the brightest young stars,” McMaster wrote.