Updates posted at the bottom of this article.
The Murdaugh family of South Carolina is having a bad year. The powerful “old money” family suffered a tragic loss in June when Maggie Murdaugh (52) and her son Paul Murdaugh (22) were found by Alex Muraugh (53) dead on the grounds of the family’s 1700 acre vacation home with multiple gunshot wounds each. Those murders remain unsolved with no suspects. The months before and after the double homicide were bookended by other Murdaugh family drama and tragedy that would be unbelievable if presented as fiction.
On September 3, 2021, family patriarch Richard “Alex” Alexander Murdaugh (53) was confronted by his employer about a million dollars they believe Murdaugh “misappropriated”. His employer was a law firm called Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick that was actually established by his grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh Sr. The law firm has now notified local police and the South Carolina Bar Association. Alex Murdaugh gave his resignation.
Early in the afternoon of September 4, Alex Murdaugh called 911 and reported that an unknown assailant had shot him in the head while he was pulled over on the side of a road changing a tire. Alex’s wound was superficial and he survived. On September 6, Alex Murdaugh transitioned from the hospital to a rehab facility to work on his substance abuse which he said had worsened with the recent passing of his wife and son.
Three shootings in one summer, two of them fatal, is insane for any family. But the Murdaugh’s aren’t just any family, and the deaths don’t stop there. Back in 2019, the now deceased Paul Murdaugh was charged with the death of Mallory Beach and two other felonies after he drunkenly drove a Murdaugh family boat into a bridge pile. You can see footage of the six people who were on the Murdaugh boat and some details of the grisly crash here:
Paul’s first call after the boat crash was to his grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh III, a local politician and lawyer. This grandfather was also a partner at Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick, the law firm Alex Murdaugh is accused of stealing money from. Randolph Murdaugh died of natural causes in June, three days after his grandson (Paul Murdaugh) and daughter-in-law (Maggie Murdaugh) were murdered. In 2018, Randolph Murdaugh was awarded the highest honor the South Carolina government can bestow on a civilian, the Order of the Palmetto, given to citizens of the state who have dedicated their lives to “extraordinary service”. In the Murdaugh family Randolph Sr., Randolph Jr., and Randolph III served a combined total of 86 years as Solicitor of the 14th Judicial Circuit. There is currently a Randolph Murdaugh 4 and 5.
The dashcam footage of first responders catches Mallory Beach’s boyfriend, Anthony Cook, screaming at police that Paul was driving the boat, saying “That motherf—– needs to rot in f—ing prison…He ain’t gonna get in no f—ing trouble.”
And then, to Paul Murdaugh: “You f—ing smiling like it’s f—ing funny? My f—ing girlfriend’s gone!”
Anthony may have been referencing the death of Stephen Smith, a South Carolina teen who was found dead in 2015 after his car ran out of gas, possibly as a result of a hit and run. Police say that while investigating Maggie and Paul’s murder, they found information that may connect the deaths to Stephen Smith’s. Unfortunately they didn’t give any details, but there are reports that since 2015 rumors existed that the Murdaugh family was involved in Smith’s death, but powerful enough to not be charged. Stephen Smith’s family believes the openly gay nursing student may have been the victim of a hate crime.
— TrueCrimeSushi (@CrimeSushi) June 27, 2021
A local lawyer who spoke to People and asked to remain anonymous described the family as “above the law”, saying “They have a lot of influence and power, and they’ll use it against their enemies.” Connor Cook, who was injured in the boat crash alleges that local police “conspired to shift the focus of the investigation away from Paul Murdaugh” by saying that Connor, not Paul, was driving the boat. Cook also says some evidence related to the boat crash, like Paul’s phone, has disappeared in police custody. Three officers involved in the investigation admitted they had some preexisting link to the Murdaugh family. One of the officers, Michael Brock, had spent time at one of the Murdaugh vacation homes several times and his wife was employed by the Murdaugh’s law firm. That officer was told by Anthony Cook that Paul Murdaugh was driving the boat but instead wrote in his report that Anthony “flipped out” with no mention of his statement that Paul was driving. The tape of Anthony’s statement was “lost”.
Other boaters stated that Paul Murdaugh appeared visibly intoxicated and was physically and verbally abusing his girlfriend during the boat ride, spitting in her face and slapping her.
A political analyst who works for CNN and is a friend of the Murdaugh family, Bakari Sellers, defends Paul Murdaugh by saying the 22-year-old was a “child”.
Bizarrely, there is only one remaining member of Alex Murdaugh’s immediate family who has not been gunned down this year. Alex and Maggie’s son Richard “Buster” Murdaugh (26) is the only family member who has not been shot. Investigations into all of these crimes are ongoing.
Update 9/8/21: Maggie Murdaugh asked for forensic accounting of family finances before she was murdered.
Update 9/8/21: Alex Murdaugh’s law license has been revoked.
Update 9/9/21: I’ve found another death that is connected to the Murdaugh family. On February 26th, 2018 a housekeeper who worked for the Murdaugh’s “tripped and fell” and died in their home. The employee’s name was Gloria Satterfield. The Murdaugh family paid her family $500,000.
Update 9/9/21: A Tiktoker with a legal background has provided some incredible insight into this case here. She notes that Alex Murdaugh says he was shot when he was on the side of the road changing a tire. However, he drove a vehicle with tires that should have run for 50 miles even with a flat. The place where Alex was shot was only 7 miles from his home.
Update 9/15/21: People reports that Alex Murdaugh’s shooting was an attempted arranged suicide so that his son, Richard “Buster” Murdaugh, would receive $10 million in life insurance. On September 13 Alex Murdaugh told police about the insurance scheme and on September 14 they arrested the would-be hitman for hire, Curtis Edward Smith (61). Smith appears to be a local drug dealer according to the additional charges he is facing.