Digital Forensics Dispatch

Digital Forensics Blog
by Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

SC Jury Finds Man Guilty of Murder and Kidnapping in the 2019 Death of a USC Student

July 29, 2021

John Monk and Lucas Daprile from The State report that a South Carolina (SC) jury found Nathaniel Rowland guilty of murder and kidnapping in the 2019 death of University of South Carolina (USC) student Samantha Josephson after less than 2 hours or deliberation. Rowland was sentenced by State Judge Clifton Newman to life in prison without parole.

The evidence in the case consisted of DNA matches, cellphone location data, text messages, call records, and testimony from 33 witness. Video from outside a bar showed Josephson entering a black Impala, which she believed to be an Uber that she had requested pick her up. The investigation by police determined that the Impala was owned by Rowland.

Cell tower data along with information from the “Find My Phone” application on Josephson’s cell phone helped investigators track the phone’s movement. According to the data, her cell phone died about 20 minutes after being picked up but investigators were able to track Rowland’s cell phone through the cell tower data collected. The collected cell tower data showed Rowland driving to the area where investigators later found Josephson’s body.

Additional cell tower data showed Rowland’s cellphone driving away from the location where the body was found and to a Wells Fargo Bank in Sumter. Video from an ATM showed a man who resembled Rowland accessing the ATM. Rowland was later arrested when he tried to access Josephson’s account. Video from a cell phone repair shop captured a man resembling Rowland and a car that looked like his black Impala at the repair shop. “The man tried to sell a rose-pink Apple phone to the store operator but they couldn’t agree on a price. The phone turned out to be Josephson’s” write Monk and Daprile.

Along with the cell phone evidence, the murder weapons were introduced. They were found in a trashcan at Rowland’s girlfriend’s home. Along with the weapons were bloody clothing.

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