Body Of Stephen Smith, Teen Found Dead Near Murdaugh Estate, Back In Grave After Independent Autopsy; Reward Offered

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Source: GoFundMe

Apr. 5 2023, Published 11:28 a.m. ET

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The body of a South Carolina teenager linked to the Alex Murdaugh family was back in its grave site after being exhumed for an independent autopsy.

Stephen Smith, a high school classmate of Buster Murdaugh, now is considered a homicide victim. His family suspects Buster might have murdered him in 2015 for being homosexual, a claim Buster denies.

Three pathologists hired by Smith’s family conducted the autopsy this past weekend, family attorney Eric Bland told USA Today. The results have not been disclosed.

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A forensic detective also has joined the family effort. Dr. Kenneth Kinsey said April 4 that he’s visited the area where Smith died.

"I… wanted to put myself in the position of Stephen. And try to figure out which direction Stephen might have taken,” Kinsey told WCIV-TV.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division originally considered Smith the victim of a hit-and-run-driver in July 2015. His body was fund on a road a few miles from the Murdaugh family home.

But the investigation was reopened, based on evidence discovered in the Alex Murdaugh murder case.

A GoFundMe campaign started by mother Sandy Smith to pay for the new autopsy now is becoming a reward fund for information about her son’s death.

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“SLED and our team are going to do everything possible to find out just how he died," Bland said.

For now, the reward fund is $35,000. As of April 5, the GoFundMe fundraiser had collected more than $123,000.

Kinsey said the term “cold case” should not apply to Smith’s death. It's a phrase he doesn't like in general.

“Sometimes cases pause,” he explained. “The Smith family kept this thing rolling and they kept it out there front and center.”

Information about the Stephen Smith case can be emailed to


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