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South Carolina college student found dead after police say she mistook car for Uber

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 21-year-old college student last seen getting into a car early Friday morning was found dead on Saturday, the University of South Carolina said in a statement.

Samantha Josephson, a USC student, was reported missing Friday. Her friends became concerned when she didn’t show up at her home or return repeated phone calls, Columbia police said, according to CNN affiliate WIS-TV.

Surveillance photos show Josephson getting into a “newer model Chevy Impala” along Harden Street shortly after 2 a.m. Friday, police said.

Her body was found Saturday, but police have not provided details about where.

Columbia Police Chief William Holbrook said Josephson had summoned an Uber ride and was waiting on that ride to come.

“We believe–we don’t have a statement or any other evidence that suggests this other than our observations on the video–we believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride.”

Officials said a suspect identified as Nathaniel David Rowland has been arrested in connection with Josephson’s death.

‘Searching for words of wisdom and comfort’

Josephson was a senior 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.

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