A mom and her son of a prominent family in South Carolina were found murdered about a week ago and police have yet to make an arrest in connection to the case.
But, the family’s connections — and the fact the son was facing criminal charges in connection to a coeds death — has the rumor mill swirling with suggestions at the possible killer.
Paul Murdaugh, 22, and Maggie Murdaugh were found shot at a rural South Carolina property. The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office reported that on June 7, a 911 caller said that two people were dead at a Moselle Road home.
Deputies went to the residence and found the two victims, who had been shot.
Colleton County is between Charleston, South Carolina, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, and has a population of about 38,000 people.
The Murdaugh family has a long political and legal history in the Palmetto State, including several generations who have served as the state’s version of prosecuting attorneys. According to The State newspaper, the family has worked as both prosecutors and civil attorneys in the state.
That alone would seem to create the family enough enemies, but in 2019 Paul Murdaugh was accused of boating under the influence and killing a 19-year-old woman. The case gripped the so-called “Low Country,” and the Murdaugh family was thrust in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
A BOATING DEATH
Paul Murdaugh was charged in April 2019 with boating under the influence in connection to the death of Mallory Beach, 19. The state’s Attorney General was handling the prosecution of the case given the families ties to the prosecutor’s office in that part of the state.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s office is notoriously slow in moving cases through the system. That, coupled with COVID-19 delays and closures in South Carolina court, meant the charges were still pending when Paul Murdaugh was found dead two years later.
The charges will now likely be dropped given his death.
Beach’s mother, Renee Beach, also filed a civil lawsuit against the Murdaugh family and several establishments in Beaufort County. Beaufort County is home to the upper-class resort town of Hilton Head.
The suit, which was later dismissed, alleged a convenience store sold to underage adults, who then went to a private house for a party. Paul Murdaugh and Mallory were part of the group. At the party, the underage adults continued to drink and then took a boat to a bar.
At the bar, they continued to drink.
The group left the bar, where Paul Murdaugh drove a boat and collided with a bridge, according to the suit and the criminal charges. Beach was one of a few people ejected from the vessel, and she died from her injuries.
The crash happened in February 2019 and Paul Murdaugh was charged in April 2019 after some wondered if he would face charges given his family’s connections.
Investigators have released few details about Paul and Maggie’s murders and have not made an arrest more than a week after the killings. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is handling the investigation, though the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office is helping.
Sources told the Island Packet that Paul Murdaugh was shot with a shotgun while Maggie Murdaugh was killed with an assault rifle. Autopsies on both victims are pending.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesman Tommy Crosby said it’s common for the statewide agency to be called to help local communities. Often it’s due to a combination of manpower and expertise to help local agencies with their work.
“We are exhausting every lead in this case,” Crosby said.
With the ongoing, active investigation Crosby declined further comment. He did provide a statement that was released to local media about the agency’s investigation.
“[The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] understands the media’s interest and the public’s desire for answers to what has happened in their community. We know that everyone has questions and rumors are abundant, speculating what happened in the shooting deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh,” the statement reads.
“It is important for the community to know that [The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division} is committed to conducting a complete, thorough, and independent investigation to ensure justice is served. As we do in every investigation, our agents will pursue every lead and utilize all available resources in investigating this case.
“We cannot and will not do anything that could jeopardize the integrity of this investigation and thus feel it is inappropriate to comment on specifics while this investigation is ongoing. If you or someone you know has information regarding this incident, please call the Colleton Sheriff’s Office at (843) 549-2211 or Crime Stoppers at 888-CRIMESC.”