Teenage boy’s body to be exhumed in wake of Alex Murdaugh murders, family say
- US News
- March 19, 2023
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The mother of a 19-year-old man who was mysteriously found dead on a South Carolina street in 2015 says she intends to have his body exhumed, announcing that state law enforcement officials are reopening their investigation into his death after Alex died would have included Murdaugh murders.
Stephen Smith’s mother announced her intention to exhume her son’s body for further study in a GoFundMe account created earlier this month.
“We need a new, unbiased look at his body and an accurate determination of his cause of death based on facts. There was no debris on the road and his injuries were nothing like a hit-and-run,” read the fundraising page, which as of Sunday had raised nearly more than $46,000 over its original goal.
The decision follows the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which announced in 2021 that it would reopen its investigation into Smith’s death based on new information it gathered investigating the double murder of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh that same year.
The mother and son were found shot dead at their Colleton County hunting property in June 2021, not far from where Smith’s body was found six years earlier in Hampton County. The family’s prominent patriarch, Alex Murdaugh, was convicted of the murders last month.
SLED, which did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on Sunday, declined to share details of its decision when reached by CNN.
“SLED has made progress in its investigation into the death of Stephen Smith,” the agency said. “However, this investigation remains active and ongoing.”
Smith was found lying on a street on July 8, 2015 with blunt force trauma to the head. He was about three miles from his car, which was found abandoned with the gas tank open, authorities said at the time.
First responders at the scene thought his head injury could be the result of a possible gunshot wound, but the coroner’s office eventually ruled his death a hit-and-run, though several investigators dismissed that theory, according to copies of their testimony obtained by Spartanburg station WSPA .
“I saw no vehicle debris, skid marks or injuries to indicate anyone was hit by a vehicle,” an investigator wrote, according to the broadcaster. “After consultation with the [Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team]we see no evidence that the victim was hit by a vehicle.”
Years after his death, leads were also received linking Smith to the Murdaugh family, the Greenville News reported.
Smith’s mother, Sandy Smith, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.