The mother of a murdered South Carolina teenager, whose mysterious death in 2015 gained renewed attention during the Alex Murdaugh murder trial, is raising funds to exhume his body so that a new, independent autopsy can be performed.
Stephen Smith, an openly gay 19-year-old who attended Wade Hampton High School, was allegedly a classmate of Buster Murdaugh, the eldest son and only surviving son of the disgraced South Carolina attorney who was convicted of the murder of his wife, Maggie. and the youngest son, Paul.
Smith was found dead with deep cuts to his head on a rural Hampton County road in the early morning hours of July 8, 2015. His death was initially ruled a hit-and-run, though his family and friends have long disputed the findings. time.
So far, no arrests have been made in the case. However, in June 2021, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced that it would reopen an investigation into Smith’s death, based on information gathered during the investigation into the gruesome murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
Late last week, Smith’s mother, Sandy Smith, announced that the family was hosting a GoFundMe Pagein hopes of raising funds for an independent autopsy.
“While the state can choose and fund an exhumation and re-autopsy, we understand it would take place at (the Medical University of South Carolina) where her death was initially classified as a hit and run despite no evidence to support it. support it. that,” Smith wrote.
“We need a fresh unbiased look at his body and an accurate determination of his cause of death based on the facts. There was no debris in the road, and his injuries were not consistent with a hit and run,” he added.
The family hopes to raise money for the procedure, which would cost approximately $7,000, and pay for a private medical examiner, who must be present “from the beginning of the exhumation through the examination period at a cost of approximately $750 per hour.” .”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had raised nearly $13,000 of its $15,000 goal.
“This is a huge expense, but we hope that with your support we can make this happen and finally get the answers we need,” Smith wrote. “We think 2023 is the year of Stephen,” she added.
Renée Wunderlich, director of public information for SLED, confirmed to local news station WYFF that the investigation into Smith’s death “remains active and ongoing.”