The father of a young woman who was viciously murdered after getting into a car she thought was her Uber delivered a touching eulogy during her funeral on Wednesday.
Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old South Carolina college student, was killed earlier this month after a night out with friends. Police believe she mistakenly got into a car she believed to be her Uber. Hunters discovered her body in a rural area less than 24 hours later and 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland has since been charged with murder and kidnapping in relation to her death.
Josephson’s loved ones gathered in her hometown of Robbinsville, New Jersey on Wednesday at the Congregation Beth Chaim for her funeral, where her father Seymour Josephson delivered a eulogy that brought many in the audience to tears, the New York Post reports.
“I will always love you, think about you, worry about you, and I will always have your voice inside my head saying ‘Dad,’” Seymour Josephson said. “You had so much more to do. You will not be forgotten. You could never be. We will never forget your name: Samantha Josephson, Samantha Josephson.”
Hundreds gathered to mourn Josephson, NJ.com reports. Seth Josephson, a cousin of the family, described Samantha's death as a "senseless killing of a wonderful girl" when speaking to reporters.
“The sadness that is being suffered will never end. It may wane in the future, but will always leave a hole in the hearts of [her] fun-loving, generous and kind parents and sister,” he said. “Today, they don’t know and can’t contemplate how they will think of the future.”
Surveillance footage captured Josephson leaving a bar in Columbia, South Carolina early Friday and getting into a dark Chevy Impala, according to the New York Post. Rowland is believed to have trapped Josephson inside the car using the child safety locks. Authorities have said she died from "multiple sharp force injuries."
Josephson’s death comes months before she was set to graduate from the University of South Carolina and attend law school, a fact her father recalled during her funeral.
“She told me she had gotten a [partial] scholarship to Rutgers and I was very, very happy. Then she called about 10 minutes later and told me she had been offered a full ride at Drexel. I started screaming,” he said.
Following Josephson’s death, her family is calling for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to improve safety measures, according to a statement from the family that was read during the service.
“Education and laws need to be put into place to protect people and the ride share industry,” their statement read, according to the Greenville News. “With the millions of dollars it earns, the Ubers and the Lyfts should be compelled to adjust its business model, better assuring riders safety. The laws and regulations must be changed to create accountability in this industry.”
In response to Josephson’s killing, Uber is reportedly planning to launch a “Check Your Ride” safety campaign in the coming weeks, while South Carolina lawmakers have already introduced legislation that would require drivers with rideshare services to have a lighted sign in their vehicles, according to CNN.
In the days since his daughter's death, Seymour Josephson has also pressed the importance of college students prioritizing safety when using ridesharing services.
“What we learned is … you guys have to travel together,” Seymour Josephson said on Sunday during a candlelight vigil in Columbia, South Carolina that drew hundreds. “If there’s two of you, something is less likely to happen. Samantha was by herself — she had absolutely no chance, none.”
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