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The family of a South Carolina teenager found dead near the Murdaugh family estate has asked for an independent autopsy to be performed.
The death of Stephen Smith, whose body was found on a rural road in 2015, about 15 miles from the Moselle hunting estate of disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh, has come under renewed scrutiny.
It was there that Murdaugh was convicted of murdering his wife Margaret Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22.
The brutal killing of the Colleton County estate in June 2021 has led to criticism of other deaths in the area that have ties to the Murdaugh family.
FOR The GoFundMe page has now raised over $56,000 pay to have Smith’s body exhumed and reexamined.
The 19-year-old’s mother, Sandy Smith, thanked supporters on the page for ‘not letting Stephen’s story be swept under the rug’.
“Our family is so grateful to all of you who have come together to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen. I couldn’t have imagined when we started this fundraiser that it would take off like it did,” she wrote.
And she added: “We will continue with the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way. Thank you for the kind words, prayers and donations. You made it possible, and it means the world to us. This is Stephen’s year.
During his investigation into the Murdaugh murders, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced an inquest into Smith’s death “based on information gathered during the double murder investigation”.
During the initial investigation, investigators concluded that Smith had been struck by a vehicle while standing by his car on a rural road after running out of gas.
A report said Smith had a ‘defensive wound’ to his hand, but a medical examiner said his death was caused by a blow to the head from a car mirror during an apparent hit-and-run.
Smith’s death was featured in a series of documentaries focusing on the Murdaugh murders, as he was allegedly a friend of Alex Murdaugh’s eldest son, Buster Murdaugh.
No member of the Murdaugh family has ever been publicly linked by authorities to the death.
The Hampton County coroner has also asked investigators to reopen the case of Murdaugh housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who died in what was described as an accidental fall in Moselle in 2018.
Alex Murdaugh is accused of stealing millions of dollars from the Satterfield that were owed as part of an insurance settlement to his estate.
“On the death certificate, the manner of death was ruled ‘natural,’ which is inconsistent with injuries sustained from a trip and fall,” the coroner wrote to state investigators.
Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife and son earlier this month and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
He still faces trial on a series of financial crime charges for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars from clients and the law firm his family started.
Family calls for independent autopsy of teen killed in hit-and-run near Murdaugh property
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