The Fake Uber Driver | The Samantha Josephson Case | Solved

(Samantha Lee Josephson. Photo credit:

The case that I'm covering this week, is a case that I had originally known very little about. If you're in the USA, you may have seen the coverage of the case on the news or read about it in the newspapers. I'm talking about the Samantha Josephson case in South Carolina. I'd read brief details about a young girl who had gotten into a car which she was led to believe was the Uber that she had ordered but was horrendously attacked and murdered. 

As I looked more into the case I realised that this horrible crime had only taken place a few months ago and only certain details were available. I had to really dig deep with the research to find out as much as I could. The perpetrator is in custody but has not been sentenced yet and their last court appearance in May was cancelled with no indication of when their next hearing was going to be. This case is one that I will be keeping my eye on and will update you as soon as I know what's going to be happening next with the perpetrator.

In this post, I'm going to share some details about Samantha, what happened that night (obviously we will know more of the details at some point which I will update you with more details in this post), the man the police believe is responsible for her murder and the overwhelming evidence against him. 

Before we begin, just a reminder that you can now find me on Instagram at @CaledonianKittyx and if you enjoy my weekly true crime cases, please consider buying me a coffee to help with my research & maintaining my blog here

Let's begin...

Samantha Lee Josephson was a beautiful 21 year old girl who had a loving family, a great circle of friends and a happy, supportive relationship with her boyfriend. She was described by those that knew her as kindhearted, very caring, hardworking and she could become best friends with anyone in the space of ten minutes due to her bubbly and friendly personality.

Samantha was known as ''Sami'' to her friends and ''Sweatpea'' to her parents and was a native of the Robbinsville Township in New Jersey. She was a graduate of Robbinsville High School's class of 2015 and had spent last year (2018) studying in Barcelona. Samantha was very close with her sister, Sydney and was a political science major at the University of South Carolina where she was now living. Samantha was just weeks away from graduating when her life was taken; she had plans to become a lawyer and then go onto work for the United Nations. She had plans to study law at the Drexel University in Philadelphia in the fall of this year (2019).

 Samantha and her college roommates were having a night out as they usually would in the Five Points area of Columbia which was popular with college students. At some point during the night, Samantha and her friends had become separated. At around 1:30am on Friday the 29th of March 2019, Samantha decided it was time for her to leave the Bird Dog bar and order an Uber.

Samantha stood outside on the curb, looking through her phone as she waited for the Uber to arrive. Surveillance cameras captured these last known movements. At 2:09am a black Chevrolet Impala drove up alongside the curb and assuming this was her Uber ride, Samantha walked quickly towards one of the back doors of the car and got in.

The horrifying reality of this is that the car that Samantha had gotten into, was not an Uber.

(Pictures from the surveillance cameras. on the right: Samantha waiting for her Uber to arrive. Left: The car that Samantha was last seen getting into. Photo credit:

In the early hours, her boyfriend and roommates had tried to contact her through text messages and phone calls but there was no answer. When it got to 1:30pm the next day, Samantha's friends and boyfriend were panicking and decided to call the police. The police filed a missing persons report.

Samantha's boyfriend together with her friends, had printed off pictures and handed them out around their local area as well as going to the store ''Natural Vibrations'' which was located next to the bar where Samantha was last seen. They had shown the picture of Samantha to the owner of the store and requested that they check their surveillance camera footage. ''They all seemed very concerned and distraught.'' said the store owner.

Around 4:00pm, the police had received a phone call that some hunters had found a body in a rural area. They went to investigate the scene.

At 8:30pm the police now had the surveillance footage from the store and they could clearly see Samantha, who was wearing a bright orange shirt and black jeans, waiting on the curb and getting into the black car which they now knew the make and model of. They put out to the public the following: a description of Samantha, details of where she was last seen and an appeal for information.

On the 30th March 2019, at 3:00am, a police officer spotted a black Chevy Impala which fitted the exact description of the car that Samantha was last seen getting into. He pulled the car over and a couple appeared to be inside. Suddenly, the male passenger leaped out of the car and the officer chased after him, eventually catching up to him where he was arrested. The female in the car was co-operative and the car was searched.

Inside the car the police found Samantha's blood, her cell phone, some bleach, some antibacterial wipes and window cleaner as if the owner of the car had tried his best to clean up the crime scene.

At 6:05am, Samantha's father confirms in a post on his Facebook page that the body that the hunters had found was in fact, Samantha's. It was the first public confirmation that she had died.

''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 my life. Samantha is no longer with us but she will not be forgotten. 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 I look at the picture and write this. - Seymour Josephson, Samantha's father.

Throughout the morning and afternoon the police worked to gather more evidence and found that their suspect, 24 year old Nathaniel David Rowland had been in trouble with the law just 5 months earlier for selling stolen items that were connected to another woman's kidnapping. The woman had been carjacked and her home ransacked. Nathaniel wasn't charged with the carjacking or for ransacking her home but he was charged with selling stolen goods.

(Left: Nathaniel David Rowland. Right: Samantha Josephson. Photo credit:

When word quickly spread that Nathaniel had been arrested, his parents, friends and family refused to believe he could be capable of such an evil thing. They claimed that it was not the Nate that they knew. Nathaniel was said to have been passionate about basketball in high school and had a close family. His parents refused to believe he was guilty and said that they would stand by him 100% and find a suitable lawyer.

Nathaniel continued to plead not guilty and gave a story about how he had been at a party and somebody took his car and then returned it with the keys and blood left inside.

The full details of what happened to Samantha have not been released yet but what we do know is that she had been trapped in the backseat as the child safety locks had been enabled. Her body had been found 66 miles from where she had gotten into the car and she had died from multiple sharp force injuries. As I mentioned before, a lot of the details are sketchy as this case only happened a few months ago.

Right now, Nathaniel David Rowland, who is now 25 years old, is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, South Carolina. His last court hearing in May was cancelled and there's no new information as yet of when his next court appearance will be. I will update when more details become available.

(Some of the hundreds of mourners at Samantha's funeral. Photo credit:

When Samanthas' fellow students at the University of South Carolina heard of her death they were distraught and placed flowers in tribute to her in front of a memorial at a fountain in Columbia's Five Points bar district where Samantha was last seen. After her death, Samantha was posthumously awarded a degree from the University at what would have been her graduation ceremony.

During the graduating ceremony the students chanted ''what's my name?'' as they were reminded of the importance of asking this question before getting into any Uber car. ''Asking 'what's my name' before entering a ride-share vehicle will save lives and must become as automatic to you as putting on your seat belt when you get behind the wheel'' - University of South Carolina President, Harry Pastide.

Sami's Law was passed in May of 2019 in the US and went into effect in June 2019. The law requires Uber drivers to prominently display lighted signs and a scannable QR code as safety regulations in light of issues tied to the ride-sharing service.

Samantha's funeral was held on the 3rd of April 2019 and attended by hundreds of relatives and friends at the New Jersey synagogue where she had her bat mitzvah. She was later laid to rest in Perrineville Cemetery.

My thoughts...

This was another heartbreaking story for me to cover, someone so young who had the world at their feet and then the next minute they are gone. I don't know if Samantha had been drinking a lot that night as we don't have the full details. She was an intelligent girl and at that moment maybe she was too drunk to give a second thought about getting into the car which she assumed was an Uber. Once she was in the car she maybe realised quickly that all was not well but couldn't escape because of the child locks on the doors.

I've seen some harsh comments online about Samantha making a silly mistake but at the end of the day, all that guy had to do was say that he wasn't an Uber and let her get out of the car. He chose to harm her and he is fully to blame. We all make mistakes and she was a young girl who I think may have been too tipsy and because of the way the car was moving (some cabs move slowly if they are looking for an address or getting ready to pick up a customer) that it was her ride.

I'm not a fan of Uber, I've never used Uber. I live in the UK and heard a lot of stories from friends who've had all sorts of issues with them. I'm not saying that Uber is 100% bad as I'm sure that there's people out there who use them regularly and have no problem. For me personally, I just call a cab and if I was ever out somewhere in the past, I always asked the driver who they were waiting for. I'm a bit paranoid about that sort of thing but in this day and age you have to be.

I remember a case from a place called Wakefield in Yorkshire, England where a girl who had been out with her boyfriend, flagged down what she thought was a taxi. As soon as she got in the backseat the car sped off, leaving her boyfriend stood on the curb in shock.

The doors in the back of the car were open but the driver was driving fast and the girl had been in the car for quite a few miles before she decided to jump out of the car. It was late at night and she jumped out onto oncoming traffic and was hit. She sadly died. The driver who tried to kidnap her ran off to Greece but he was later captured and sentenced. The man who ran over her was later murdered. The case didn't have much nationwide coverage but you can find some articles like this one online.

Whilst doing my research into Samanthas' case I came across the Dail Dinwiddie story. Dail went missing in the same area where Samantha was last seen back in 1992. She had been to a U2 concert and decided to go to a nightclub with some friends in the Five Points area of Columbia. She got separated from her friends and was last seen talking to a bouncer for a little while before walking north on Harden street where she was never seen again. There's various articles and forums that discuss this case and tons of theories about what may have happened to her. 

I wish that Samanthas' story had ended differently and I hope that we do hear more about what is going to happen with Nathaniel David Rowland. I would like to see justice done for Samantha. I will keep her family in my prayers.

Before you get in an Uber, ask ''What's my name?'' and remember hers. #WhatsMyName 

Nathaniel Rowland Trial | Live 5 News

RIP Sami. 


20th of July 2021: Nathaniel Rowland's trial began on Tuesday the 3rd of July 2021. He has pleaded guilty to all charges and his lawyer claims that no DNA evidence was found at the crime scene to link him to Samantha's death. Samantha's team firmly believe that Nathaniel is responsible and claim that they will be providing the evidence and witnesses to support their claims. Opening statements from both sides took place today. I am following this trial and will be making further updates.... 

24th of July 2021: The past four days of this trial has been jam packed and really hit the ground running on Tuesday. I think this has a lot to do with the fantastic Judge representing (Clifton Newman). I have followed a lot of trials but with this Judge he really focuses on getting as much covered during the sessions as possible with the court day often ending just after 6pm. He's very strict with breaks too, he allows a lunch break and a couple of 15/20 minute breaks but the rest of the time the court is in session from 9/9:30am until just after 6pm. He also encourages members of the court to stand up every once and while, he calls this ''stretch breaks''. 

From the moment the trial began to the temporary pause last night (court to resume again on Monday morning) Nathaniel Rowland (and these are my own opinions and observations) has not shed a tear or shown any emotion. In fact, he's been sitting there acting smug, yawning and when one of his ex-girlfriend's was on the stand he was seen laughing. Very strange behaviour for someone who is sitting on trial accused of murder, you'd think he would take the whole situation seriously and be wanting to clear his name but it appears that he thinks he is more clever than any of us. 

The only time I saw a glimpse of reaction from him was when his face dropped when an expert who had been examining CCTV footage of the ATM machines not long after Samantha was murdered, took the stand. Someone (allegedly Nathaniel) was dressed in gloves, a mask, a heavy jacket and had done all they could to conceal their identity BUT..... the expert focused on the footwear. The footwear was male sliders which matched the same shoes that Nathaniel was known to wear. This person (allegedly Nathaniel) had been trying to use various different ATM machines with Samantha's bank card. 

It was interesting to see the cocky, smug look on Nathaniel's face disappear as soon as the expert mentioned the shoes. The only other time I saw any sort of reaction was when a member of the forensic team was showing pictures of the crime scene and Samantha's body. At that point, Nathaniel's eyes were glued to the table and he was trying to make himself look busy playing about with his notepad. 

So much evidence has been presented and it was really heartbreaking having to see Samantha's blood soaked clothing, her broken shoe, some of the autopsy pictures. Hearing the details of how Nathaniel cleaned out his car with bleach, dumped his bloody clothes at his girlfriend's (she's now his ex-girlfriend) house and gave Samantha's rose gold iPhone to his girlfriend.

The girlfriend claimed that she was not part of any of this and noticed the blood in the car, when she asked him about the blood she claims he told her ''Mind your business''. 

From the testimony of the two ex-girlfriends, it seems that Nathaniel lived off of them for some time. One of the women had to give him a phone because he claimed he couldn't afford to buy one. His recent ex (who's home he had dumped his bloody clothes and cleaning items at) worked shifts at McDonalds and struggled to pay rent even though Nathaniel had stayed there quite a bit. His ex-girlfriend didn't own a washing machine so she'd either take her clothes to her mother's house or Nathaniel would take their clothes to his sisters to use her machine so from this picture it sounds like money was quite tight. 

Nathaniel had his black Impala (his car which was said to be very important to him) for quite a while and would let other people drive it from time to time. On the night of Samantha's murder he claims that he was at a party and someone took his car and later returned it with the blood inside. 

His lawyer claims that there was no DNA evidence of Nathaniel on Samantha's body but if he was dressed covered from head to toe with gloves on like the 'person' who had been at the ATM shortly after she was murdered, would that have helped protect his DNA from transferring over to her? Samantha had various different DNA found under her nails and on her ankles (no sexual assault took place) that were not connected to Nathaniel Rowland but she had been in a college bar that night which was packed full of male and female students. 

At this point in the trial there is a lot of discussion around the DNA and it it very drawn out and easy to get confused. I'd noticed some comments from other people in the true crime community who were saying they found this part of the trial hard to follow and were not quite sure what they meant.

As I mentioned before, the trial resumes on Monday and hopefully we will have a more clearer picture and I will be making more updates. 

(Nathaniel Rowland on the first day of his trial. Picture screenshot from Law & Crime YouTube channel) 

27th of July 2021:  All throughout this trial emotions have been running high, it's been tense, heartbreaking, sickening and at moments, full of anger at the cocky and arrogant display of the accused, Nathaniel Rowland. Today was a roller coaster to say the least and it ended in dramatic fashion. The judge (who I have been raving about since the trial began) declared that the closing arguments would take place today together with the verdict and the sentencing. A LOT took place today, we even heard the emotional and heartbreaking statements from Samantha's father, her mother, sister and boyfriend. Nathaniel's parents got up to say a few words too and we even heard from Nathaniel himself for the first time in this trial.

The jury took just 1 hour and 7 minutes to find Nathaniel Rowland guilty on all counts and before the sentencing was announced we heard from Samantha's family and it was very emotional. Members of the court were shocked to see Nathaniel Rowland's mother stand up and say ''MY SON IS INNOCENT, I KNOW MY SON. HE WAS A GOOD KID'' to which the judge stood his ground and told her straight that her son had been convicted of this crime and he may have been a good kid but he wasn't a kid any more. His father also stood up and struggled to speak as he had just been through a stroke. The pair seemed to be in denial about their son's guilt but there was a slight feeling of sympathy towards them as the father had clearly suffered with a lot of ill health. Whilst the parents spoke, Nathaniel sat without a tear in his eye, no feeling, no emotions since the very first day of the trial. 

Nathaniel was brought before the judge and he declared his innocence but the judge pointed out that all roads led back to him, the evidence was overwhelming and his conduct and lack of remorse from start to finish was picked up on.

I breathed a sigh of relief when the judge handed him a life sentence without parole. There was moment when Nathaniel looked stunned upon hearing this but still no real reaction. He was led away in chains and his parents soon rushed out of the court. 

A dramatic ending to a horrific case and a heartbreaking trial but we can say that justice was served here. The horrible suffering that Samantha had endured at the hands of Nathaniel Rowland will never be forgotten and he has to spend the rest of his life in prison. No partying, no weed, no girlfriends (except possibly a pen pal if someone is crazy enough to write to him - we know such people exist). 

So to close this post which I began in 2019 not long after Samantha's death, I feel a mixture of sadness, sadness that Samantha's beautiful and promising life was taken, the suffering she endured in her last moments, the pain her family is still going through without her but also a sense of relief that justice was served today.

I never had any doubt of his guilt but as we have seen in my previous posts, we have seen horrific cases where monsters have been let out of prison for the most horrendous of crimes, given ridiculous sentences. All I can say is God bless the great judge Clifton Newman and the jury for helping put this monster behind bars and off the streets before he takes someone else's life. 

Nathaniel Rowland didn't just destroy Samantha's life, he also destroyed her families lives, her boyfriend's life, his own life and the lives of his parents and even drove his father to a stroke with all the stress and shame that he brought on his own family. 

One wonders if Nathaniel as he sits in his prison cell tonight, looking towards the many many years until his death that he will spend in prison, takes a moment to actually shed a tear, does he even have that in him or is he just too sick? Is it just how his brain is wired to have no feeling or thought for anyone?, he didn't even cry for himself publicly. 

Maybe one day he will apologise to the family of Samantha Josephson but it will be too little too late, he's already put this family through so much. He sealed his own fate and now he is just another number in a prison cell who threw away his own life and he has nobody to blame but himself. 

Thank you so much for joining me on the journey in this case. 

See you in the next one x 


  1. This is a really sad story, I didn't hear about this one. Great reporting, I hope to hear updates on this case in the future.

    1. Thank you for reading. I will keep you posted x

  2. Thank you so much for the update Jo. I am glad that there is some important development.

  3. I just read your latest update from July 24th. Thank you so much Jo. I'm hoping that the DNA stuff will be less confused. Arrogant and being cocky during a murder case is not a good recipe from the Jury standpoint. I hope that they will be development to make sure that he will be behind bars for a long time.

  4. This case is truly heartbreaking and the devastation that her family has gone through I could never imagine trying to bear. The steps that Uber and other companies like Uber have taken to prevent such tragedies from happening is commendable but the fact that such a tragedy had to take place for those steps to be taken is horrible.
    The lack of DNA evidence may be a difficult step for the prosecution to overcome but all the other evidence is, I'm hoping, enough to put him away.
    The pace that this judge is working at and the long hours are commendable and I think will help this case speed along to a quick conclusion. I believe this will be good for the jury to have a clear picture to work with in terms of keeping the facts straight at the end when it's time to deliberate.
    As always I love yout work and I truly appreciate and love these updates and can't wait for this trial to come to a conclusion.