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'Don't ever forget her name': Mother of slain USC student speaks for first time

'He's taken away a piece of our heart, soul, and life," said the mother of Samantha Josephson.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The mother of Samantha Josephson, the University of South Carolina student who was kidnapped and killed, is remembering her daughter as being "full of life" and calling the man accused of killing her as being "vile."

Marci Josephson spoke during a hearing Sunday afternoon for 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland, the man charged with murder in her daughter's death. She was joined by other members of the family, including Samantha's father. 

RELATED: Samantha Josephson killing: what we now know about the USC student's death

"There are no words to describe the immense pain his actions have caused our family and friends," Marci Josephson said. "He's taken away a piece of our heart, soul, and life."

Rowland waived his right to appear at the hearing, which is his legal right. The magistrate said his bond will be set at a later date in general sessions court. 

"Shame on him," the mother added. "We'd like him to be here, to see his evil face."

RELATED: USC student got into wrong car, was kidnapped and killed by suspect, police say

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said Samantha Josephson had contacted the Uber rideshare service just before 2 a.m. Friday to give her a car ride home. She'd been out with friends in Columbia's Five Points entertainment district. But the chief says she mistakenly got into a black Chevy Impala driven by Rowland, thinking it was her Uber driver. 

Investigators say Rowland killed Samantha, then dumped her body in a wooded area in Clarendon County, some 70 miles away from Columbia. 

RELATED: USC student's body was found in woods 70 miles from Columbia

She was reported missing by her friends, and Columbia police began searching for her. Her body was later discovered by hunters in Clarendon County. Around 3 a.m. Saturday morning, Rowland was discovered near Five Points, and was arrested.

RELATED: USC president urges safety after murder of student who went missing in Five Points

"I cannot fathom how someone could randomly select a person, a beautiful girl, and steal her life away," Marci Josephson said. "His actions were senseless, vile, and unacceptable. It sickens us to think that his face was the last thing my baby girl saw on this earth. Does he even know her name?"

Her mom then went on to describe Samantha. 

"My daughter, Samantha Josephson, was more affectionately known to her family as sweet pea. Let me tell you how my daughter, Samantha, was bubbly, loving, kind, and full of life. She had a plan, she worked hard, was graduating from college in May and starting law school in September. Unlike him, Samantha valued human life, and could never harm another soul. Unlike him, Samantha had love within her heart, and a purpose in her life, the life he brutally ended. He took away our daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, and a friend to so many. His selfish, unspeakable, and violent actions have created a hole in the universe, a hole in our universe, and we see the unimaginable ripple effect on our world."

RELATED: 'It's not fair': Slain USC student planned to go to law school, friend says

She then asked the magistrate to deny Rowland bond. 

"He should never be given the right to walk free again for what he did to my daughter, or given the opportunity to hurt anyone else. My daughter's name is Samantha Josephson. Don't ever forget her name. Samantha Josephson. Shame on him."

RELATED: Gov. McMaster 'devastated, crushed' after death of USC student

The University of South Carolina was set to hold a vigil for Samantha Josephson at 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening on the fields behind the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center on Assembly Street in Columbia.

RELATED: USC to hold vigil for slain student Samantha Josephson Sunday evening


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