The family of the housekeeper who died after a fall at the Murdaughs has settled a civil suit for more than $4 million.
The newest settlement is after an earlier one where $500,000 went missing and a judge approved a previous deal, but it was never filed and paid. It adds yet another complex level not only to the civil suit but the entire saga involving the Murdaugh family.
To date, the case has involved a double homicide, a boat crash, assisted suicide to collect million in life insurance, stolen funds and months-long police investigations. What is has lacked, though, is answers.
The Murdaugh clan is one of the most powerful families in South Carolina. Several generations have served as versions of district attorneys in the southern part of the state. But the family has found itself in several scandals in recent years.
The family’s public persona started to unravel when Paul Murdaugh was charged in connection to a fatal boat crash in 2019. Investigators say he was behind the wheel of a boat drunk when it hit an embankment.
The boat was filled with college students and Mallory Beach, 19, was tossed from the vessel and killed.
Paul Murdaugh wasn’t immediately arrested, which led some to cry favoritism for the family. The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office filed charges months after the boat crash.
The charges were active when in June 2021, Alex Murdaugh called 911 to say his wife, Maggie, and his son, Paul, were shot at the family’s hunting lodge. Paul and Maggie’s deaths were classified as homicides, though police have yet to make any arrests in the case.
That double-murder led the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the killings. Some have wondered if the murders were ties to the boat crash. As police investigated, they unraveled a web of related cases, a trail of dead bodies and just as many questions.
As agents were handling the Murdaugh murders, police announced they were reopening the investigation of Stephen Smith’s death. He was found dead near the Murdaugh’s property in 2015. Smith’s death was initially called a hit-and-run, and there have been no arrests. Smith’s mom said she believed her son, who was gay, was murdered.
In 2018, Gloria Satterfield worked as a housekeeper for the Murdaughs. She died after a fall in the Murdaugh’s home. Recently, state investigators said they were relaunching an investigation into her death.
Then, after the double murder, Alex Murdaugh resigned from his law firm amid allegations of embezzled money. Again, state investigators said they were looking into those allegations as a criminal manner.
Days after that, Alex Murdaugh was shot and found along a road. However, investigators would later describe his wound as a graze. The shooting was part of an elaborate suicide deal, police said.
Allegedly Alex Murdaugh and another man, Curtis Smith, conspired for Smith to help Alex Murdaugh commit suicide. The plan was to allow Alex Murdaugh’s oldest son to collect $10 million in life insurance money. Both Alex Murdaugh and Smith were criminally charged in connection to the suicide attempt.
Earlier this week, lawyers for Satterfield’s children announced they had settled in relation to a wrongful death suit, according to the Hilton Head Island-Packet. The settlement was for $4.3 million.
That suit was over withheld money from a previous settlement. According to the suit filed in September in South Carolina, after Satterfield’s death Alex Murdaugh worked with her family to sue himself over her death.
A wrongful death case was filed and later settled for $505,000.
The suit claimed the Satterfield children have not seen any of the money, and it was held by a lawyer for Murdaugh. There was also a $4.3 million settlement related to the wrongful death case that was approved in 2019, according to the Island-Packet.
That settlement was paid by two insurance carriers related to Satterfield’s death. The judge signed the document, but it was never filed with the court, according to the Island-Packet. While $1.5 million were paid as attorney fees from the never-filed settlement, the $2 million supposed to go to the family was never given.
The most recent settlement seems to cover that agreement.
It is just the latest twist in the ongoing case that has become a national sensation. But, the case and the big question of who killed Paul and Maggie Murdaugh remains elusive.
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