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An Sc College Student Got Into A Car She Thought Was Her Uber, Police Say. She Ended Up Dead.

gimbap

Well-Known Member
I got into the wrong Uber once and just laughed it off, this is so scary and sad esp since this is my alma mater and because I use Uber/Lyft regularly. People are evil!

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An SC college student got into a car she thought was her Uber, police say. She ended up dead in a rural field

By Amir Vera, CNN
Updated 9:21 PM ET, Sat March 30, 2019




Missing USC student Samantha Josephson was found dead after last being seen getting into a vehicle Friday morning in Columbia, South Carolina.

(CNN) Samantha Josephson decided to call an Uber around 2 a.m. Friday after being separated from her roommates during a night out in Columbia, South Carolina, police said Saturday.

The 21-year-old University of South Carolina senior hopped into a black Chevy Impala, thinking it was her ride, Columbia Police Chief W.H. "Skip" Holbrook said during a news conference.

About 14 hours later, turkey hunters found her body in a field 90 miles from Columbia, he said.
"What we know now is that she had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come," Holbrook said, citing surveillance footage. "We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride."



Nathaniel David Rowland

Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, has been arrested on charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with Josephson's death, Holbrook said. He is being held in jail in Columbia. CNN has not determined if he has a lawyer yet.
Holbrook said he spoke with Josephson's family prior to the press conference.
"Our hearts are broken, they're broken. There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family and explain how a loved one was murdered," he said. "It was gut wrenching, words really can't describe what they're going through."

Chief says student's blood found in suspect's car
Holbrook described how the case came together quickly.
Josephson's roommates began to worry when they hadn't heard from her later Friday morning. Holbrook said, and they called the police around 1:30 p.m. Friday.



While Columbia police were starting their investigation, turkey hunters found a body around 4 p.m. Friday about 40 feet off a dirt road in a wooded area in Clarendon County, southeast of Columbia, Holbrook said. It was identified as Josephson's.



Police searched for the car Josephson had gotten into and around 3 a.m. Saturday a Columbia officer saw the Impala and stopped the vehicle, Holbrook said. When the officer asked the driver to get out the car, he ran but was quickly captured, the chief said.
Investigators searched the Impala.

Blood found in the car's passenger side and trunk was matched to Josephson's, the chief said, and her cell phone was found in the passenger compartment. Investigators also found a container of liquid bleach, germicidal wipes and window cleaner in the vehicle, he said.

Holbrook also said the child safety locks in the Impala were activated, which would make it difficult for anyone to open the back doors from the inside.

Police haven't said how Josephson died and have not provided much information about Rowland, except to say he used to live in Clarendon County and knew the area where the body was found.
"Our investigators and agents have a lot more work to do," Holbrook said.

CNN reached out to Uber Saturday, but the company declined to comment. Uber's online safety tips advise drivers to check that the license plate, driver photo and driver name match what's listed in the app before getting in the car.

'Searching for words of wisdom and comfort'
Josephson's father, Seymour Josephson of New Jersey, confirmed his daughter's death Saturday on Facebook.
"It is with tremendous sadness and of a broken heart that I post this! I will miss and love my baby girl for the rest of life. Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be for gotten (sic). It is extremely hard to write this and post it but I love her with all my heart. I could continue to write about her but it kills me. I sit here and cry while looking at the picture and write this," his post read.

Josephson was a political science major, the USC College of Arts and Sciences said on Twitter.
"Our prayers are with Samantha's family & friends, & we join the entire Carolina Family in this time of grief," the college's tweet said.

USC President Harris Pastides released a statement saying "our prayers are with the family and friends of Samantha Josephson following the devastating news of her death. Times like these leave me searching for words of wisdom and comfort." Pastides also advised students to "look out for one another, be active bystanders. Travel in groups and stay together."

Columbia Mayor Stephen Benjamin said "nothing mitigates the pain of the loss of a child but I have full faith & confidence in the men & women of the Columbia Police Department & SLED as they ably investigate this tragedy."

According to the Facebook page of Josephson's father, the family lives in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, about 10 miles east of Trenton, CNN affiliate WACH-TV reported. Robbinsville Township also released a statement on Facebook about Josephson.
"Mayor Dave Fried, B.A. Joy Tozzi and everyone in Robbinsville Township are devastated by the news that the Josephson family of Robbinsville have lost their precious Samantha. Our thoughts, prayers, boundless grief and endless support are with Seymour, Marci and Sydney at this unimaginable time," the statement read.


https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/30/us/south-carolina-missing-college-student/index.html
 

dancinstallion

Well-Known Member
Another instance of a girl getting separated from friends then ending up dying. Who are these friends and how is everyone getting separated from each other.? Did they leave her?

What happened to the practice of we come together we leave together?
This is sad and preventable.
May that monster rot in jail.
 
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dancinstallion

Well-Known Member
These Uber stories are my worst nightmare. Does Lyft have a better track record or nah? I’ve only used Uber 4 times- and only once alone. Now I’m a tad nervous bc I will be required to use it weekly for work. I feel like it’s glorified hitchhiking.


I don't trust Uber, lyft or airbnb. It is too much of an opportunity for a stranger to take advantage of you.
 

dancinstallion

Well-Known Member
This hits close to home because my daughter got into the wrong car before, while getting off of the school bus. The bus driver told her there is your mom and ushered her off the bus, and she walked to a car that looked nothing like mine and tried to get in. I arrived and saw her getting back on the bus and I was puzzled what happened.

God was watching her and thank God everybody isn't evil. The lady came to my car and explained what happened and told my daughter to be careful.
 
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OhTall1

Well-Known Member
Ladies, pls be careful!!! So scary. In addition to checking the license plate, I always map my destination to make sure my Uber driver is taking me to my intended location.
Plus I check the app to track where the driver is before they arrive to pick me up.
This doesn't sound like an evil Uber driver story. This reads like she got into car that wasn't Uber at all.
 

dancinstallion

Well-Known Member
Plus I check the app to track where the driver is before they arrive to pick me up.
This doesn't sound like an evil Uber driver story. This reads like she got into car that wasn't Uber at all.
Maybe I missed this but did the car she got into look like the Uber car she was expecting? I thought they notify you of the type of vehicle coming.

"advise drivers to check that the license plate, driver photo and driver name match what's listed in the app before getting in the car."

She probably didn't do any of those things and just got in the car being in a rush.

It seems like she wasn't familiar with Uber like you ladies are. I think this could have been her first time taking an Uber for her to not do what you ladies are mentioning. Even DH said something about looking for the Uber sticker.

Sorry she made a mistake that cost her life.
 

Theresamonet

Well-Known Member
Crazy. I’m trying to wrap my mind around this. It’s like he got lucky, and she got unlucky at the very same instance, on opposite ends of the spectrum. A murderer riding around, minding his business, I presume. And suddenly a young white woman—fresh blood, just opens the door and gets right in...

Or maybe it was not so coincidental. Maybe he saw her waiting and approached her, pretending like he was her Uber driver.

Either way, I’m glad they caught him quickly. It’s sad that a simple mistake or careless moment cost her and her family such a high price.
 

ThirdEyeBeauty

Well-Known Member
Crazy. I’m trying to wrap my mind around this. It’s like he got lucky, and she got unlucky at the very same instance, on opposite ends of the spectrum. A murderer riding around, minding his business, I presume. And suddenly a young white woman—fresh blood, just opens the door and gets right in...

Or maybe it was not so coincidental. Maybe he saw her waiting and approached her, pretending like he was her Uber driver.

Either way, I’m glad they caught him quickly. It’s sad that a simple mistake or careless moment cost her and her family such a high price.
I tried to figure that out, too. What are the odds? However there are sick people who drive around busy corners. I know in NYC so many people are looking for a ride too that it is easy to get into the wrong vehicle. There are drivers without clients who would approach you for a ride. After a night out at a pack concert you may end up waiting an hour for your driver to navigate traffic to get to you and it is easy to miss them. You start to become impatient.
 

weaveadiva

Well-Known Member
She may have also been drunk/high/impaired. It was 2 am after a night out.

This is no fault of Uber's and won't deter me from ridesharing.

Another precaution you can take is asking the driver his/her name before getting in the car and waiting for them to respond. Not "Are you Brandon?" but rather "What's your name?"

In addition to name the app gives you everything you need including car make, plate number, and color.

Glad they found the scumbag.
 

SpiritJunkie

Well-Known Member
I do that...what's your name...then ask what's my name...then I said...dude, whats you name...We have to be soooo careful. Sorry to hear this. Please also make sure you follow the route...have your phone visible so they know you can call for help with the quickness
 

galleta31

Well-Known Member
These Uber stories are my worst nightmare. Does Lyft have a better track record or nah? I’ve only used Uber 4 times- and only once alone. Now I’m a tad nervous bc I will be required to use it weekly for work. I feel like it’s glorified hitchhiking.

But he wasn't an Uber driver. I can't multi quote, but to answer the comments below on whether it was coincidence or not, I don't think it was. I think he was purposely hanging in the area hoping a girl would be too drunk to realize she was getting into the wrong car. There was a serial rapist in CA who did the same thing. He would drive around the bar areas during closing time. He also wasn't a Uber driver but would get girls who assumed he was. Fortunately he didn't kill anyone but he raped several women.

Just verify the license plate and driver's picture before getting in the car whether using Uber or Lyft. I've never used Lyft but I know Uber sent you license plate, make and model of car and picture of the driver. Unfortunately for this girl, her small mistake put her right in the car of a predator.
 

galleta31

Well-Known Member
Crazy. I’m trying to wrap my mind around this. It’s like he got lucky, and she got unlucky at the very same instance, on opposite ends of the spectrum. A murderer riding around, minding his business, I presume. And suddenly a young white woman—fresh blood, just opens the door and gets right in...

Or maybe it was not so coincidental. Maybe he saw her waiting and approached her, pretending like he was her Uber driver.

Either way, I’m glad they caught him quickly. It’s sad that a simple mistake or careless moment cost her and her family such a high price.

I think the bolded is the most likely scenario. Just like on college campuses and clubs, there are men who are waiting to take advantage of too drunk women. He most definitely was driving by bars close to closing time to see if someone would get in his car. This case kind if reminds me of that serial killer in VA who was also a black male that would target white women at concerts and bars.
 

kxlot79

Kitchen Mixtress
I have been an Uber driver, and it is downright horrifying how careless people can be. And I don’t think it has anything to do with my great ratings and reviews or friendly demeanor.

I have had friends and passengers tell me that they have knowingly gotten into the car of someone who wasn’t their Uber driver.
Sometimes because the person is driving under their driver’s account (“Oh, Lisa is my sister/aunt/girlfriend and I’m driving on her account” when it’s a man on a woman’s account); sometimes because they can’t find their driver at a location and figure any “Uber” will do.
I have had people attempt to get in my vehicle at stoplights and corners and highway exits to the point that I keep my doors locked at all times and crack the window and have the passenger say their name like an entrance password as @weaveadiva suggested. It’s a safety measure for both driver AND passenger and it’s nuts how many passengers I’ve had who were annoyed that I took this precaution.
People are so cavalier that seasoned riders will approach my locked door and ask “Are you James/Tyler/John?” A clear man’s name and I just look at them cockeyed. They often do not check even to see the gender of their driver, let alone car color or type or license plate.
Another thing, you get Uber/Lyft stickers if you are accepted as a driver. You don’t even have to give one ride and your car can have the sticker and people will approach you even if you’re off duty and they see the sticker. They will try to hire you as a regular taxi and some drivers participate in that dangerous practice as well.

It is REALLY sad that this young woman lost her life, and it’s crazy how many young people normalize ordering Ubers in an impaired state. They often don’t look out for one another.
One of the main reasons I rarely drive weekend nights is the higher likelihood of getting an intoxicated person. They will completely black out in my backseat, or be so impaired they don’t even know what destination they put in or whether I’ve dropped them off at the correct one.

I wish such stories would inspire young folks to be more vigilant and careful but everybody thinks they’re a lucky immortal til they get their wake up call.
This reads like she got into car that wasn't Uber at all.
[D]id the car she got into look like the Uber car she was expecting? I thought they notify you of the type of vehicle coming.
"advise drivers to check that the license plate, driver photo and driver name match what's listed in the app before getting in the car."

She probably didn't do any of those things and just got in the car being in a rush.

Sorry she made a mistake that cost her life.
She may have also been drunk/high/impaired. It was 2 am after a night out.

This is no fault of Uber's and won't deter me from ridesharing.

Another precaution you can take is asking the driver his/her name before getting in the car and waiting for them to respond. Not "Are you Brandon?" but rather "What's your name?"

In addition to name the app gives you everything you need including car make, plate number, and color.

Glad they found the scumbag.
 

kxlot79

Kitchen Mixtress
This story reminds me of one with a happier ending and is an example of what my last post in this thread was about.
The passengers (men AND women about equally) will be so distracted doing other things or won’t do any kind of confirmation before getting in a car. And worse, they will be so impaired that they maybe can’t be careful.
This woman just jumped in a dude’s car. I think he thought she was a prostitute. But even so, she was SO, SO very lucky he so politely complied with her request to get out.
 

OhTall1

Well-Known Member
I have had people attempt to get in my vehicle at stoplights and corners and highway exits to the point that I keep my doors locked at all times and crack the window and have the passenger say their name like an entrance password as @weaveadiva suggested.

This reminds me of a story where my friend (BM, 50s) was picking up his car at a valet stand and two white girls in their late teens jumped in the back seat of his car and asked him to drive them 20 minutes away to a club. He told him he wasn't Uber or Lyft (all three were leaving a formal event from the same venue so they had to see him leave the building and get into the car), and they were like, "That's cool. Can you take us anyway? We'll pay you."

When he told me he drove these chicks I was so mad! They got in the car in an area where there were easily three different camera angles of these girls getting in his car. I told him if anything had happened to these reckless simpletons, his face would've been plastered all over the news. Plus they could've done anything to him. He said he felt way more uncomfortable with the idea that they'd end up in the car with someone with bad intentions if he put them out.

We still kid him about the night he got carjacked by the Beckies, but he was right about bad intentions.
 

kxlot79

Kitchen Mixtress
This is so true. For instance, Uber's service policy states you must be 18 to be a rider. Lots of people violate this and I’ve put myself at some risk allowing riders to violate it— especially very young ones. But then I reason, “Their idiot parent would just put them in the car of someone else, possibly a predator, and how would I feel seeing this kid on the news knowing I turned him/her away?”
These moral conundrums are a major reason why I’ve had to chill on Uber.
He said he felt way more uncomfortable with the idea that they'd end up in the car with someone with bad intentions if he put them out.
 

caligirl

Well-Known Member
Another instance of a girl getting separated from friends then ending up dying. Who are these friends and how is everyone getting separated from each other.? Did they leave her?

What happened to the practice of we come together we leave together?
This is sad and preventable.
May that monster rot in jail.

I'm just glad they called the police so quickly
 

dancinstallion

Well-Known Member
I'm just glad they called the police so quickly

They didn't call fast enough to save her but fast enough for the killer to be found . I believe the friends called at around 1pm and her body was found around 4pm and they spotted the car around the same time as they found her body.
 

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
But he wasn't an Uber driver. I can't multi quote, but to answer the comments below on whether it was coincidence or not, I don't think it was. I think he was purposely hanging in the area hoping a girl would be too drunk to realize she was getting into the wrong car. There was a serial rapist in CA who did the same thing. He would drive around the bar areas during closing time. He also wasn't a Uber driver but would get girls who assumed he was. Fortunately he didn't kill anyone but he raped several women.

Just verify the license plate and driver's picture before getting in the car whether using Uber or Lyft. I've never used Lyft but I know Uber sent you license plate, make and model of car and picture of the driver. Unfortunately for this girl, her small mistake put her right in the car of a predator.

I recognized this instance was NOT actually connected to Uber but let’s not act like one google search won’t bring up tons of Uber horror stories. I’ve never been comfortable with taking cabs by myself either.
 

Everything Zen

Well-Known Member
There are several identifiers now: asks for their name, image match, license match, phone tells you they have arrive. Now if you get in a random driver's car that's on you.

A reference number per ride would be a much higher quality and easier way to match the driver to the rider. When you’re at a crowded location it can be difficult to find your driver. Also, what if you don’t look exactly like your picture? (Got a haircut, dye job?) How often are drivers required to update their photo?
 
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