Photos by Suzette J. Lucas

Hundreds of people gathered at the gazebo by West Town Center Lake in Robbinsville last night for a candlelight vigil to remember Samantha Josephson, the 21-year-old college student whose body was found in a South Carolina field last Friday. Police believe that Josephson, a senior at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, was a victim of foul play and have charged a South Carolina man in Josephson’s death.

A number of people spoke at the vigil, including Samantha’s father, Seymour Josephson, as well as Robbinsville Mayor David Fried.

In a press conference held before the vigil, Fried, who has a college-age daughter himself, said he woke up Saturday with a sense of shock at the news of Josephson’s death. “We send our kids away to college to get an education. No one ever expects for them not to come home, no one ever expects to get that phone call. No one ever expects to possibly have seen their child for the last time.”

Fried said the vigil was something that members of the community had asked for. “Our community, it’s a tight-knit community, and the kids wanted to be together. They wanted to be able to be part of something. That’s why we really felt that it was important, we wanted to be able to also give the family an opportunity to know that they’re loved, that we’ll be there for them, we’ll be here with them, and we’re going to continue to help them grieve and do whatever they need to make sure they can get through this tragedy.”