Teenager's Death Near Murdaugh Family Home Now Considered Homicide After State Officials Find 'New Evidence'
South Carolina authorities officially have changed their minds about a 2015 death near the home of Alex Murdaugh. The death now is considered homicide.
The body of 19-year-old Stephen Smith was found on a road several miles from the Murdaugh home. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) determined he was hit by a driver, but Smith's family never believed that explanation.
As FrontPageDetectives previously reported, the teenager's mother, Sandy Smith, noted that “there was no debris in the road, and his injuries were not consistent with a hit-and-run."
“SLED officials have revealed that they did not need to exhume Stephen Smith’s body to convince them that his death was a homicide,” Smith family attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter said March 21.
SLED confirmed that statement to WCBD-TV in Charleston.
Now the state will help Smith's family exhume the body for a new examination. Sandy Smith has raised more than $87,000 to pay for the review on GoFundMe.
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The New York Post reports a 2015 autopsy found Smith had a large wound on the right side of his forehead, cuts on his left hand and a dislocated shoulder.
The change of view on the cause of death reportedly was kept quiet until the end of the Alex Murdaugh murder trial ““out of concern that witnesses would not be as forthcoming under the Murdaugh sphere of influence,” the attorneys said.
State officials said “new evidence” connecting the Smith case to Murdaugh's family was found during the double murder investigation.
Murdaugh's son Buster Murdaugh said in a statement Monday that rumors connecting him with Smith's death are “vicious,” “baseless” and false.” The rumors include a possible homosexual romance with Smith.
According to The Hill, Richter told NewsNation Monday that the Smith family is seeking “the ultimate truth... without regard to who's involved.”
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