Smith was found in the middle of Sandy Run Road in Hampton County in 2015. Local authorities declared he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Smith's mother said he was walking after running out of gas. The 19-year-old nursing student was found 2.7 miles from his car.
In June 2021, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) found a possible connection between Smith's death and the killings of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. It was based on where the Murdaughs' bodies were found.
State officials said little more about Smith's death until Alex Murdaugh was convicted of killing his wife and son in early March. But on Thursday, March 16, Smith's mother began a GoFundMe campaign to have her son's body exhumed and reviewed.
Sandy Smith's fundraiser had a goal of $15,000. As of Thursday, it had pledges of over $100,000.
Her effort may have stirred SLED to announce Tuesday that based on “new evidence” from the Murdaugh investigation, it now considers Smith's death a homicide. And it plans to help with the exhumation of his body.
Former South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper Thomas Moore told WCIV-TV this week that he tried to offer evidence of foul play to local authorities, but they refused to listen to him.
“I definitely think he was murdered; he was murdered there or murdered elsewhere and dropped there,” Moore said.
- Teenager's Death Near Murdaugh Family Home Now Considered Homicide After State Officials Find 'New Evidence'
- Body Of Teen Found Near South Carolina Home Of Convicted Killer Alex Murdaugh To Be Exhumed, Mother Says
- Exhumed: Stephen Smith's Body Dug Up 8 Years After Teen Found Dead on Road Near Murdaugh Family Home
Sandy Smith has indicated that she knows who killed her son. She has not revealed any names.
Murdaugh issued a statement Monday adamantly calling the rumors “baseless... false... vicious.” He currently has a girlfriend in Hilton Head.
Sandy Smith is at least thankful that her son's death is back under review.
“This is Stephen's year,” Sandy Smith wrote on GoFundMe.
Become a Front Page Detective
Sign up to receive breaking
Front Page Detectives
news and exclusive investigations.