The terrible Murdaugh crime tale has taken its toll on victims, and in the near future, additional material concerning incidents with suspected connections to the family may appear.
Richard “Alex” Murdaugh, a disgraced and disbarred South Carolina lawyer, was found guilty of kil#ing his younger son Paul and his mother Maggie in June 2021. He was sentenced to life in prison for each murd#r, which is a form of legal revenge.
In an earlier case involving the Murdaughs, Mallory Beach’s body was missing in Beaufort County waters for a little over a week before it was found in early March 2019. This happened after a boating accident on February 24 in which Paul Murdaugh is said to have been driving his father’s boat while he was drunk.
Beach was laid to rest and mourned by the people of Hampton County. Murdaugh’s estate, Moselle, was recently sold, and a big chunk of the money from that sale went to the Beach family as financial justice. When the Beach family’s lawsuit against Murdaugh and other people for wrongful de@th is heard in Hampton County on August 14, this civil justice could go on.
But as the bodies of these victims are being symbolically laid to rest in courtrooms around the South Carolina Lowcountry, the bodies of two other people who died and had something to do with the Murdaugh case are about to be dug up and looked into further.
Over $110,000 has already been raised for a campaign to dig up and autopsy the body of Stephen Smith, whose de@th state police began to look into just a few weeks after they began looking into the Murdaugh murd#rs.
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division is still planning to dig up the body of Gloria Satterfield, who worked for Murdaugh and died at his Moselle estate in 2018. Her de@th sparked a criminal investigation and civil lawsuits worth millions of dollars.
News related Stephen Smith we recently Covered:
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Stephen Smith’s Mother Raises $110K to Find Truth Behind Son’s De@th
After Richard “Alex” Murdaugh was found guilty of ki#ling two people, another local family who is still waiting for answers and justice in the unsolved murd#r of a loved one is trying harder than ever to find the truth and a solution to a “cold case” that isn’t cold in their hearts.
Since Murdaugh’s trial began on January 23 and ended on March 2, when he was found guilty of ki#ling his wife and son and given two consecutive life sentences, Sandy Smith has been waiting impatiently for her own trial to end. But it’s been eight years since she started waiting.
STEPHEN SMITH CASE: SLED releases official statement:
STEPHEN SMITH CASE: SLED releases official statement.
"On June 23, 2021, SLED opened an investigation into the death of Stephen Smith after SLED Agents received information about his death and subsequently reviewed the SCHP investigative file."
— Mandy Matney (@MandyMatney) March 22, 2023
On July 8, 2015, the body of her 19-year-old son, Stephen Smith, a nursing student and graduate of Wade Hampton High School, was found lying in the middle of a rural road in Hampton County. It looked like a piece of roadside trash. He died because of a blow to the head, but the case has been controversial from the beginning.
At first, officials thought the de@th was a hit-and-run, but now they think it was a murd#r based on what they saw at the scene.
There were rumors in the Lowcountry for years that the case had something to do with the Murdaugh family, and that name came up dozens of times in witness statements to police. However, the case went cold, and there have been no arrests or even official confirmation of whether or not the Murdaugh family is involved or not.
But in July 2021, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division opened a new investigation into Smith’s murd#r, saying “SLED has opened an investigation into the de@th of Stephen Smith based on information gathered during the double murd#r investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.” This gave Smith’s family new hope that the case would be solved.
Alex Murdaugh is getting less attention, so the Smith family thinks it’s time to shine a new light on their murd#r case. They have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for an independent exhumation and autopsy of Stephen Smith’s body.
Even though everyone knows a lot about the other de@ths and criminal charges connected to the Murdaugh name, the Smith homicide, and whether or not it is connected to the Murdaugh family, is still the biggest unsolved mystery in the Murdaugh saga and a frustrating case for both the family and the police.
Sandy Smith set up a fundraising page on GoFundMe on March 10 called “Independent Exhumation and Autopsy.” The goal was to raise $15,000, but the page had already raised $41,034 in its first week. On March 16 alone, a person who didn’t want to be known gave $1,500.
As of Monday, March 27, the page had raised more than $110,365. The page had gotten 3,300 donations, with the largest one being $2,000 from a single person.
According to the GoFundMe page, Smith’s family doesn’t want the state to do an autopsy at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, which is where these kinds of studies are usually done in this part of South Carolina. Lowcountry.
The page says, “We feel it’s critical to seek a new goal − an independent exhumation and autopsy − and we’re launching Justice for Stephen N. Smith with that immediate goal in mind,” “While the state can elect and fund an exhumation and new autopsy, it is our understanding that it would be carried out at MUSC, where his de@th was initially classified as hit-and-run despite no evidence to support it.”
“We need a new, unbiased look at his body and an accurate determination of his cause of de@th based on facts. There was no debris in the road, and his injuries were not consistent with a hit-and-run.”
The site also says that the autopsy alone is expected to cost $7,000. It also says that “a private medical examiner must be present from the start of the exhumation through the examination period at a cost of approximately $750 per hour,'” but thanks to recent donations, this now seems possible.
“The family of Stephen N. Smith is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received from Standing for Stephen and the community as a whole. You have been monumental in shining light on Stephen’s story and the lack of justice,” Smith’s page says.
“Our family is so very grateful to all of you who came together to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen. I could not have imagined when we began this fundraiser that it would take off the way that it did. Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s story to be swept under a rug. We will pursue the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way. Thank you for the kind words, prayers and donations. You have made this possible, and it means the world to us. This is Stephen’s year.”
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Gloria Satterfield’s Remains Await Exhumation and Autopsy
In June 2022, South Carolina’s top law enforcement agency said it would start the process to dig up the body of Richard “Alex” Murdaugh’s former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, while an investigation into the Hampton County attorney who had been suspended continued.
On February 26, 2018, Satterfield died after what was said at the time to be a “trip and fall” at Murdaugh’s house. On September 15, 2021, SLED began looking into her de@th. At the same time, they looked into a number of other cases involving Murdaugh, including the alleged theft of her wrongful de@th settlement.
Investigators now think that her body parts may hold more information about how and why she died. In April 2022, SLED contacted Eric Bland, who was the lawyer for Satterfield’s estate, to ask for permission to dig up her body. In a statement, SLED said that the complicated process would take “weeks, not days.”
“Agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) sought and received permission from the Satterfield family, through their attorney, to exhume the remains of Gloria Satterfield,” says a statement from SLED. “This investigation is still active and ongoing.”
Bland told The Hampton County Guardian at the time, “SLED has been very sensitive to how the family feels and how traumatic this whole thing has been for them.”
Bland went on to say that this would be a “very, very delicate process” because Satterfield’s husband is buried with her. Satterfield is buried with the cremated remains of her husband, David Michael Satterfield, who died on May 14, 2013, in the Johnson-St. Paul Cemetery in Hampton County.
Bland said that SLED would have to move Gloria Satterfield’s body to Charleston for an autopsy and then rebury her in the same spot, as requested by her family. Bland said at the time that there was no plan for when the body could be dug up.
But almost a year later, Satterfield’s family said last Thursday that they are still waiting to hear from SLED and get more information. It is not clear if the investigation into the Murdaugh murd#rs slowed down the investigation into Satterfield or not.
Satterfield worked for Murdaugh and his late wife, Maggie Murdaugh, for a long time as a housekeeper and nanny. On February 2, 2018, she reportedly fell down exterior steps at the Murdaughs’ large rural Colleton County estate, Moselle, and hurt her head.
After she died, Murdaugh and another suspended and accused South Carolina lawyer, Cory Fleming, are said to have planned a scheme in which Murdaugh convinced her heirs, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott, to file a lawsuit against his own insurance using Fleming as their lawyer. Then, according to charging documents, the two lawyers stole the de@th settlements.
Murdaugh was first sued in civil court on September 15, 2021. On October 16, 2021, he was charged criminally with a fraudulent insurance scheme. Since then, he has been hit with new charges in the case.
On May 11, the Nautilus Insurance Company, one of the insurance companies that Murdaugh is said to have tricked in this scheme, filed a federal lawsuit against him. This lawsuit made new claims about the de@th of Gloria Satterfield.
The lawsuit says that Murdaugh rushed to the scene when Satterfield fell, arriving before EMS, and that he later told insurance investigators that the woman briefly woke up and told him that his dogs had caused her to fall. No one else heard this, and Gloria Satterfield later told hospital staff that she didn’t know what caused her to fall.
The suit also says that on March 29, 2018, Murdaugh said Gloria Satterfield was on his property not to do work for him or his family, but to collect a check for work she had done for someone else. This was to avoid a worker’s compensation defense, the suit says. Instead, she was there to do her own work.
During a bond hearing in 2021, Murdaugh’s lawyers read part of an apology to the Satterfield family and said that Murdaugh promised to sign a confession of judgment. On May 31, 2022, the Hampton County Court of Common Pleas finalized the $4.3 million confession of judgment, but the criminal and civil cases are still going on.