The 2015 dying of Murdaugh-linked Stephen Smith is now thought-about to be a homicide, South Carolina authorities revealed — forward of the deliberate exhumation of the homosexual teen’s physique.
The state regulation enforcement division had been ready to drop the bombshell growth till after the Alex Murdaugh double homicide trial wrapped up and the following drama quieted down, Bland Richter Regulation Agency introduced Tuesday.
“SLED officials have revealed that they did not need to exhume Stephen Smith’s body to convince them that his death was a homicide,” mentioned Charleston attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, who had been retained by Smith’s mom.
The regulation enforcement company was holding out on the announcement “out of concern that witnesses would not be as forthcoming under the Murdaugh sphere of influence.”
SLED revisited Smith’s case — initially investigated as a hit-and-run — following the 2021 murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, for which father and husband Alex was convicted on March 3.
Officers mentioned “new evidence” connecting the established authorized household to Smith’s dying was found throughout the double homicide investigation, however haven’t elaborated additional.
Smith — an brazenly homosexual teen who was romantically linked to Buster Murdaugh — was discovered useless three miles away from his automobile on a highway close to the Murdaugh’s large property in July 2015.
He was discovered with a big wound to the correct facet of his brow, a dislocated shoulder and cuts to his left hand.
Police initially said the dying “appeared to be a homicide,” however an post-mortem carried out the identical day he was discovered useless dominated he had been the sufferer of a hit-and-run.
“I really don’t know why they did what they did,” Smith’s mom, Sandy, informed Information Nation Tuesday in regards to the dying ruling.
“I just knew in my heart that what they were telling me wasn’t true … I believe he was beaten to death.”
Sandy has lengthy disputed the official recorded explanation for dying and has raised over $80,000 to exhume her son’s physique.
Sandy has indirectly tied the Murdaughs to her son’s homicide, however loads of web sleuths and true crime journalists tied the mysterious dying to the authorized large household.
On Monday, Buster Murdaugh “unequivocally” denied “vicious rumors” that he was concerned within the Smith’s homicide.
A Netflix particular detailing the double murders — and different suspicious deaths associated to the household — detailed speculations that Buster and Smith secretly dated in highschool regardless of his household’s homophobic historical past.
“These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false,” Buster mentioned in an announcement.
SLED officers have agreed to take part within the exhumation to collect extra proof as a part of the homicide investigation.
“We have a chance to right eight years of wrongs, and we intend to do just that,” Bland mentioned.
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