Death of teen found near Murdaugh home now being investigated as homicide

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South Carolina police announced Wednesday that they are treating the investigation into the death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith as a homicide investigation. The teen’s body was found in 2015 in the middle of a rural road, about 15 miles (24 km) from the home of the now infamous Murdaugh family.

Smith’s death was initially ruled a hit-and-run, but police reopened the investigation into her death in 2021, when they were investigating the murders of Magee and Paul Murdoff. Earlier this month, Alex Murdaugh, the patriarch of the family, was convicted of murdering his own wife and son — in a case that brought the family to prominence in South Carolina.

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Buster Murdaugh, the son of the survivor Murdaugh and one of Smith’s former classmates, earlier this week denied any involvement in the 19-year-old’s death.

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The murders of the Murdaugh family have attracted international attention – thanks to a Netflix documentary – and have been the subject of intense speculation, particularly in relation to a series of other mysterious deaths in the family’s orbit.

On Wednesday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) confirmed Multiple news outlet that it is investigating Smith’s death as a homicide.

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A spokesperson for SLED told CNN that there is no indication that Smith died as a result of the hit-and-run.

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Lawyers for Smith’s family said the announcement of the murder investigation was a major development.

Earlier this month, state investigators said they have “made progress” in the investigation into Smith’s death, which is “active and ongoing,” though they did not specify any details.

So far, no one has been arrested or charged in Smith’s death.

On 8 July 2015, Smith’s badly wounded body was found In the middle of Sandy Run Road in Hampton County. When his family is told that Smith was killed in a hit-and-run, they are suspicious.

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The openly gay nursing student’s body was found about two to three miles (three to five km) away from his car, which had run out of gas, and there no broken glass or debris around Which can be a sign of a car accident. Smith was found to still be wearing loose-fitting sneakers, which would have likely fallen off his feet if he were strapped down. These details fueled speculation that foul play was involved.

South Carolina Highway Patrol investigators said they got tips May have been connected to Buster Smith’s death. source in netflix documentary Murdoff Murders: A Southern Scandal alleged that people in Hampton County believed that Smith and Buster were in a romantic relationship that the Murdaugh family wanted to cover up. The two reportedly graduated from high school together in 2014.

On Monday, Buster made his first public statement since his father, Alex Murdoff, was found guilty of murdering his mother and brother after denying allegations of involvement in Smith’s death.

Buster said Monday, “I have done my best to ignore the rumors about my involvement in the tragic death of Stephen Smith that are being published in the media as I grieve over the brutal murders of my mother and brother.” “I categorically deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family.

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“I am requesting that the media immediately stop publishing these defamatory comments and rumors about me.”

Last week, Smith’s mother announced that a GoFundMe Because her son raised enough money to exhume her body and conduct an independent autopsy.

“Thank you for not letting Stephen’s story be swept under a rug. “We will be following up on the dig immediately and will provide updates along the way,” the organizer wrote on the campaign page. “You made this possible, and it means the world to us. This is Stephen’s year.”

The campaign has raised nearly US$90,000 as of press time, far exceeding the initial goal of US$15,000.

Death of teen found near Murdaugh home now being investigated as homicide

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