COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The Palmetto State is reeling after the death of three college students across the state in less than a week.
Evan Gaines, USC Upstate
On Tuesday, March 26, a USC Upstate student from Columbia was killed in a shooting off campus.
22-year-old Evan Jeffery Gaines was found shot at Campus Edge Apartments. It's unclear if he was shot at the apartment complex near the USC Upstate campus or another location.
His sister Erra Roundtree described Gaines as 'a walking angel.' He was an A-B honor roll student during his high school years at W.J. Keenan High, and a basketball player who loved spending time with friends.
According to friends, Gaines was a senior studying business with hopes of becoming an entrepreneur.
Gaines' funeral is set for Wednesday, April 3 in Columbia.
Parker Neff, USC Salkehatchie
On Friday, March 29, a USC Salkehatchie baseball player died after collapsing on the field during practice.
21-year-old Parker Neff from Travelers Rest was out on the field preparing for practice when he collapsed.
While Neff was a very good baseball player, school officials said "he was a much better person - kind, respectful, thoughtful, considerate, personable, quiet and reserved." They went on to say, "Parker made the people around him better."
Samantha Josephson, USC Columbia
On Friday, March 29, a USC student in Columbia was kidnapped and murdered following a night out with friends in a local entertainment district.
Police say 21-year-old Samantha Josephson was killed after she mistakenly got into a car thinking it was her Uber ride.
Turkey hunters found her body in a wooded area off a dirt road some 70 miles away in Clarendon County.
A senior political science major from New Jersey, Josephson planned to go to law school.
Her funeral is set for Wednesday, April 3, at her family's synagogue in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
**In another tragic series of events, a Colleton County fifth-grader died from injuries suffered in a fight at her elementary school.**
Raniya Wright, Forest Hills Elementary School
On Wednesday, March 27, 10-year-old Raniya Wright died at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston from injuries she suffered in a fight at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro.
Colleton County School District officials said teachers ended the fight as quickly as possible, and called for EMS. An incident report states both of the students involved were fifth-graders, and the offense was listed as a simple assault.
Officials have remain tight-lipped about the investigation, saying only that it could takes weeks to complete.
Frustrated by the lack of information he has received, Wright's father spoke out on Monday, calling for answers and justice for the 10-year-old.
Meanwhile, her attorneys say Ashley Wright has spent the last few days gathering with friends, family and her community to make final preparations to lay Raniya to rest.
'She has busied herself with selecting the perfect dress and accessories, making sure that Raniya’s hair is styled perfectly, and deciding if Raniya will wear lace gloves or have her nails painted," attorneys said. "She has been busy selecting the passage of scripture that wonderfully describes the love that Raniya gave and choosing the perfect song that mimics her personality."
A celebration of life for Wright will be held on Wednesday, April 3, in Walterboro.