Stephen Smith passed away on a rural road not far from the Murdaugh residence; his relatives declared on Friday that his body would be unearthed.
As concerns were raised regarding his 2015 death during the investigation into the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, Sandy Smith, his mother, launched a GoFundMe page on March 9 to solicit funds for the exhumation of the body and the performance of an independent autopsy. Former lawyer Alex Murdaugh was found guilty on March 2 of killing his son and wife at their rural residence in 2021 by a jury.
State police claimed to have discovered fresh information on Smith’s death during the investigation into the double homicide. The police revived the investigation in June 2021 to explore more how the 19-year-old was killed.
According to “48 Hours,” Smith died “from blunt force injuries on his skull” when he was discovered dead early one morning on a South Carolina road. Three miles distant, his yellow Chevy was discovered with the gas cap unscrewed and his wallet inside. According to “48 Hours,” state police initially claimed that Smith had car issues, was on foot seeking assistance and was struck by a car.
“48 Hours” stated that state police audio revealed some officers disputed that “nothing looks to be a vehicular accident,” as one officer is heard stating. Seth Stoughton, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, noted that Smith was still found with his shoes on and that there were no damaged headlights, which is a rare occurrence for accident victims.
Stoughton said to “48 Hours” that it “definitely raises doubts as to whether hit and run is the proper outcome.”
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What Does Stephen Smith’s Family Allege?
Smith’s family is convinced that he was killed. His mother wants the cause of his death to be determined independently. The next of kin may apply for permission to exhume a body in South Carolina.
“We need a fresh, objective look at his body and a fact-based, precise conclusion of his cause of death. His injuries did not match those of a hit-and-run, there was no debris on the road, “Smith posted the following on the website set up to raise funds for the endeavor.
According to Smith, a medical examiner charges roughly $750 per hour and an independent autopsy costs over $7,000. Online advertisements from private autopsy companies list exhumation autopsy prices between $3,000 and $6,500.
The fundraising page’s $44,140 in donations was almost triple its initial $15,000 target.
“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,” his mother Sandy Smith wrote.
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