Five people with ties to the Murdaugh family have died suspiciously in recent years, each under scrutiny by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division.
The unsolved murders of Maggie Murdaugh and her 22-year-old son Paul, who were shot a year ago at their family hunting lodge in the Lowcountry, are two of them.
The inquest into their deaths has raised new questions about two others: Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old found dead on a rural Hampton County road in 2015, and Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family housekeeper who came across their front steps and later died. in a hospital without ever regaining consciousness.
The fifth was Mallory Beach, whose death by drowning after a night of boating and drinking with Paul Murdaugh and four others, was closed after Paul’s death.
Here’s what we know so far about each case.
Maggie and Paul Murdaugh
Alex Murdaugh called 911 shortly after 10 p.m. on June 7, 2021 to say he had just returned home and found the bodies of his wife Maggie and son Paul at their 1,770-acre hunting lodge on Moselle Road in Islandton, an unincorporated area of Colleton County. with a population of about 70.
“My wife and child were badly shot!” he said to the dispatcher. He looks frantic and his voice sounds like he’s about to cry.
Colleton County Sheriff’s Deputies respond and SLED is called. The information is slow to be released, but officials immediately say there is no danger to the public.
Two weeks later, the Colleton County coroner announced that Paul and Maggie Murdaugh died of multiple gunshot wounds between 9 and 9:30 p.m.
In the weeks and months that followed, news emerged that Maggie had been shot with an assault rifle as she fled and Paul at close range with a shotgun.
Alex Murdaugh said he was visiting his sick father at home and his mother in a care facility that night. SLED has named him a person of interest, but no arrests have been made.
As SLED investigated the Murdaugh murders, they came across reports of the death of Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old Brunson who was found dead in the middle of a rural road in Hampton by a passerby on July 8, 2015.
He had a large wound on the right side of his head, above his eyebrow, according to police reports.
Hampton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the county coroner believe the death was a homicide. A medical examiner said he was hit by a car.
The 2015 SC Highway Patrol case notes include Buster Murdaugh’s name nine times.
But Smith’s case has cooled. No suspects.
Then, last year, SLED announced that the case had been reopened but did not say why.
Smith was attending Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, studying to become a registered nurse at the time of her death.
When Gloria Satterfield died in February 2018, her obituary listed five people she “loved like family.” The list included Alex and Maggie Murdaugh and their family.
Satterfield had worked in their home for decades, helping raise the two Murdaugh boys while Alex continued his law practice and Maggie was a full-time homemaker.
Satterfield fell on the brick steps of Murdaugh’s hunting lodge known as Moselle and died three weeks later in a local hospital without regaining consciousness. A terrible accident, less than a week before his 58th birthday, people thought.
They remembered his laughter, his kindness, his love of the color purple.
But then Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were gunned down in Moselle and questions arose. Alex Murdaugh had told Satterfield’s two sons to sue his insurance company for wrongful death. He would represent them.
But Brian “Little B” Harriott and Michael Anthony “Tony” Satterfield never received the money, according to court records.
SLED accused Murdaugh of having his longtime friend, Corey Fleming, as a personal representative for the Satterfield family while he negotiated a settlement with his insurance company. Court records show he brokered settlements for more than $4 million. The Satterfield family was to receive over $2.7 million, but never received the money. SLED claims Fleming wrote two checks totaling more than $3 million to Murdaugh.
Murdaugh faces 13 counts and Fleming 18 in connection with the scheme. Last October, Fleming and his firm agreed to reimburse “all legal fees and expenses Mr. Fleming and his law firm received out of the $4,300,000 they recovered for the estate in connection with the claims.” brought against Alex Murdaugh for the death of Gloria Satterfied.[sic]according to a statement through their attorney.
In June, SLED obtained permission to exhume the body of Gloria Satterfield.
On February 24, 2019, it was cold and foggy when six friends from Hampton County went out into the coves around Parris Island on a 17-foot Triton boat owned by Alex Murdaugh. It was a Sunday evening.
Murdaugh’s son Paul, then 20, stopped at a convenience store to buy beer, using his older brother Paul’s ID card.
They went to an oyster roast then stopped at a bar, where Paul and Connor Cook had two rounds of beatings while the others waited in a nearby park.
Before the night was over, the boat crashed into a stilt and all six people on board were thrown into the water. Mallory Beach, 19, is missing.
Law enforcement described the group as “grossly intoxicated”. Hospital tests showed Paul Murdaugh’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit that night.
Despite a massive search effort, Beach’s body was not found for a week. A boater made the discovery in a marshy cove 5 miles from where the boating accident occurred.
Paul Murdaugh was indicted two months later on one count of browsing under the influence causing death and two counts of browsing under the influence causing grievous bodily harm.
He pleaded not guilty in May 2019.
The charges were dropped after Paul’s murder.
Still pending is a wrongful death lawsuit against Alex and Buster Murdaugh by Beach’s family as well as personal injury lawsuits by others on the boat that night.