South Carolina police are investigating the death of Stephen Smith, which was raised in the recent high-profile trial of attorney Alex Murdaugh, as a homicide, says a local law firm that works with Smith’s family.
The South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement will participate in an exhumation of Smith’s body to gather more evidencethe Bland Richter law firm said Tuesday, citing a phone call with chief Mark Keel.
He 19One-year-old Smith was found dead on a rural road in Hampton County, South Carolina. after an alleged hit-and-run incident in 2015. Investigators initially thought the teen had been struck while walking from his car after running out of gas.
No suspects were ever identified and no arrests were made, although Paul Murdaugh and his brother Buster were interviewed as persons of interest.
The investigation was halted and Smith’s death was listed as a vehicular highway manslaughter. But the recent trial of Alex Murdaugh for the 2021 murders of his son Paul Murdaugh’s and his wife Maggie Murdaugh prompted police to reopen the investigation, according to Bland Richter.
Buster Murdaugh broke his silence on the matter Monday, claiming he had no role in Smith’s death.
The victim’s mother, Sandy Smith, has insisted that the death was not an accident and that her son’s injuries were “not consistent with a hit-and-run.”
He recently started a GoFundMe page to raise money for an independent autopsy. The page has already secured over $80,000.
“We have an opportunity to right eight years of wrongs, and we intend to do just that,” Bland Richter attorney Eric Bland said in a statement.