It was revealed on Friday that the body of Stephen Smith, who was found dead on a country road not far from the Murdaugh residence, will be unearthed.
Questions were raised regarding his death in 2015 during the investigation into the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, so on March 9, his mother Sandy Smith started a GoFundMe campaign to seek money to exhume the remains and undertake an independent autopsy. Alex Murdaugh, a former attorney, was found guilty of killing his wife and son in 2021 at their rural residence and sentenced to death on March 2.
State police claim to have uncovered fresh information on Smith’s death during their investigation of the double homicide. In June 2021, police reopened the investigation into the death of the 19-year-old.
According to “48 Hours,” Smith was discovered dead on a South Carolina highway “after blunt force injuries on his skull” early that morning. About three miles away, his yellow Chevy was discovered with the gas cap off and his wallet still inside. State police initially told “48 Hours” that Smith’s automobile broke down and he was walking to get help when he was struck by a car.
Several state police officers disagreed with the statement that “nothing looks to be a vehicular collision,” as one officer is heard stating on the audio obtained by “48 Hours,” the show claimed. According to Seth Stoughton, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, it is extremely unusual for victims of vehicular accidents to be found with their shoes intact and no headlights shattered.
Stoughton said on “48 Hours” that the incident makes one wonder if “hit and run” is the appropriate conclusion.
What Is The Claim Made By Stephen Smith’s Family?
The Smiths are convinced that Smith was murdered. His mother is demanding a third-party autopsy to determine the precise circumstances of her son’s passing. Those who are legally responsible for the deceased may apply for permission to exhume the body in South Carolina.
“We need a fresh look at his body and a fact-based conclusion of what exactly killed him. His wounds did not look like they were caused by a hit-and-run, and there was no evidence of a collision “Smith reportedly wrote something to that effect on a fundraising page.
According to Smith, the going rate for a medical examiner is roughly $750 per hour, and the cost of an independent autopsy is over $7,000. Exhumation autopsies performed by private companies are advertised on their websites for a price range of $3,000 to $6,500.
A total of $44,140 was raised, well surpassing the initial $15,000 target.
“The family of Stephen N. Smith is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received from Standing for Stephen and the community as a whole. You have been monumental in shining light on Stephen’s story and the lack of justice,” his mother Sandy Smith wrote.
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