Five people with ties to the Murdaugh family have died suspiciously in recent years, each under investigation by South Carolina’s Law Enforcement Division.
The Unsolved Murders of Maggie Murdaugh and her 22-year-old son Paul, who were shot dead a year ago at their family’s hunting lodge in Lowcountry, are two of them.
The investigation into their deaths raised new questions about two others: Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old who was found dead on a rural road in Hampton County in 2015, and Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh housekeeper who fell on their doorstep and killed them. later died in a hospital never to regain consciousness.
The fifth was Mallory Beach, whose drowning death after overnight boating and drinking with Paul Murdaugh and four others, was closed after Paul died.
Here’s what we know about each case so far.
Maggie and Paul Murdaugh
Alex Murdaugh called 911 shortly after 10 p.m. on June 7, 2021 to say he has just returned home to find 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 shot badly!” he says to the operator. He sounds frantic and his voice sounds like he’s crying.
Colleton County Sheriff’s officers respond and SLED is called in. The information is slowly being 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 had died of… multiple gunshot wounds somewhere between 21:00 and 21:30
In the weeks and months that followed, it was learned that Maggie was shot with an assault rifle as she ran away and Paul at close range with a shotgun.
Alex Murdaugh said he visited his sick father at home that night and his mother at a health facility. SLED has named him as a person of concern, but no arrests have been made.
When SLED investigated the Murdaugh murders, they came upon information about the death of Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old Brunson man who was found dead in the middle of a country 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, police reports show.
The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office officers and the coroner believed the death was a homicide. A coroner said he was hit by a car.
The 2015 SC Highway Patrol notes include Buster Murdaugh’s name nine times.
But Smith’s case grew cold. No suspects.
Then last year, SLED announced the case had reopened, but didn’t say why.
Smith attended Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and was studying to become a registered nurse at the time of his death.
When Gloria Satterfield died in February 2018, her obituary listed five people she “loved as her 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 ran his law practice and Maggie was a full-time housewife.
Satterfield fell on the stone stairs from the Murdaugh hunting lodge known as the Moselle and died three weeks later at a local hospital without regaining consciousness. A terrible accident, less than a week before her 58th birthday, it was thought.
They remembered her smile, her kindness, her love for the color purple.
But when Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were shot dead on the Moselle, questions arose. Alex Murdaugh had ordered 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 got any money, court records show.
SLED has accused Murdaugh of his longtime friend Corey Fleming serving as personal representative of the Satterfield family while he negotiated a settlement with his insurance company. Court records show that he has settled settlements for more than $4 million. The Satterfield family was supposed to receive more than $2.7 million, but never got the money. SLED alleges that Fleming wrote two checks totaling more than $3 million to Murdaugh.
Murdaugh faces 13 charges and Fleming 18 in connection with the settlement. Last October, Fleming and his office agreed to “repay all legal fees and expenses that Mr. Fleming and his law firm received out of the $4.3 million they have reclaimed for the estate in connection with the claims filed against Alex Murdaugh.” for the death of Gloria Satterfied[sic]’ said a statement from their lawyer.
In June, SLED was given permission to exhume Gloria Satterfield’s body.
February 24, 2019 was cold and foggy as six friends from Hampton County took to the creeks around Parris Island on a 17-foot Triton boat owned by Alex Murdaugh. It was a Sunday night.
Murdaugh’s son Paul, then 20, stopped at a grocery store to buy beer, using his older brother Paul’s ID.
They went for an oyster roast, then stopped at a bar, where Paul and Connor Cook fired two rounds while the others waited in a nearby park.
Before the night was over, the boat had crashed into a pole and all six people on board were thrown into the water. Mallory Beach, 19, went missing.
Police described the group as “grossly drunk”. Hospital tests showed that Paul Murdaugh’s alcohol concentration that night was three times the legal limit.
Despite a massive search, Beach’s body was not found for a week. A skipper made the discovery in a swampy creek 5 miles from where the boating accident happened.
Paul Murdaugh was charged two months later with drink-driving resulting in death and two charges of drink-driving resulting in serious bodily harm.
In May 2019, he pleaded not guilty.
The charges were dropped after Paul was killed.
Alex and Buster Murdaugh’s wrongful death lawsuit by the Beach family is still pending, as well as lawsuits for personal injury caused by others on the boat that night.