Boyfriend Of Stephen Smith Received Death Threats Following Teen's Homicide Near Murdaugh Family Estate: Cops

investigators second autopsy stephen smith success
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Apr. 13 2023, Published 1:13 p.m. ET

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Days after Stephen Smith was found dead in suspicious circumstances near the South Carolina estate where Alex Murdaugh murdered his wife and eldest son, Smith’s boyfriend allegedly received a series of death threats, according to authorities.

Smith was found dead in July 2015 and Marc Bickhardt was the last person to talk to him that night. Bickhardt spoke with investigators and said the 19-year-old called to tell him he ran out of gas and felt like he was being followed before Bickhardt heard “big mud tires” approaching his boyfriend, reported.

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Bickhardt told investigators, “They're like coming toward him or going past because they sounded loud — and they were getting louder. And that, I believe, was the last time I talked to him.”

It was five days later that Bickhardt called the Hampton Police Department and said he received a series of harassing phone calls that originated from the Cayman Islands.

According to, the police report stated the calls “informed the victim that he would die the same way Smith did, and the victim believes that (Smith’s) death was a homicide.”

Bickhardt told police the “calls began last week after his friend’s funeral,” according to the police report.

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There are no details in the police report indicating if police followed up on the complaint or if the information was shared with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which recently labeled Smith’s death a homicide and reopened the investigation, Front Page Detectives previously reported.

Smith’s death was initially ruled a hit-and-run, even though investigators saw no skid marks or car debris on the roadway and there was no evidence indicating how Smith suffered a severe head injury.

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Reports also show a rape kit was ordered just hours after Smith’s body was found although a rape kit would normally not be administered for a hit-and-run incident.

Smith’s body was recently exhumed for a second autopsy. Investigators said the exhumation was a success and they have named two persons of interest in the teenager's death, neither of whom reportedly are Buster Murdaugh, who was rumored to be Smith’s lover, officials said.

Murdaugh has adamantly denied he had anything to do with Smith's death.


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