A South Carolina teen whose 2015 death was the subject of renewed interest in the wake of the Murdo murders has been exhumed and will now be re-examined.
Stephen Smith, 19, was found dead in the middle of a driveway in Hampton County. He was at school with Buster Murdo, the surviving son of Alex Murdo – who was convicted last month of killing his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.
Smith, who was openly gay, was initially ruled to have died in a hit-and-run accident. But after a surge of interest in the Murdoch case, and rumors that Smith and Buster Murdoch had an affair, Smith’s case was reopened in June 2021.
On March 23, his death was announced as a homicide and his mother, Sandy, launched a GoFundMe to pay for his exhumation.
The campaign has now reached $188,000, and his body was moved Friday from Gooding Cemetery in Hampton County.
the pictures TMZ got it The disturbed grave appears. A new autopsy will now be performed.
Stephen Smith’s grave is pictured after the exhumation, in a photo obtained by TMZ
Stephen Smith was found dead on a road in Hampton County. His body was recovered on Friday
Stephen Smith (right) and his mother, Sandy (left). His family has always believed he was murdered – Stephen’s body allegedly had no injuries from the torso downwards, and no car parts were found at the scene
Eric Bland, the attorney representing the Smith family, said they would not comment on exhumations.
“We have been contracted to exhume Stephen’s body and perform a second autopsy which is what we intend to do,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
‘We are not law enforcement.’ We will work with SLED and any subsequent investigation, but this is their investigation because they have tools and things available to them that we can’t do.
He added, “Justice is coming and I don’t think anything can stop it.”
Last week, Bland said Smith’s phone was now unlocked.
“I think the case will be solved through phone evidence or computer evidence, before and after the murder,” he said.
We plan to put a new set of eyes on this case as if we were just walking into a crime scene for the first time.
“SLED has his cell phone and they broke it,” he told the Hampton County Guardian.
“And they have the tablet and they’re working on breaking it.”
The Smith family pressures detectives to search for a rape kit, which goes missing after Stephen’s death.
Sandy Smith urged law enforcement to investigate the links to Buster Murdo.
Buster Mordo released a statement last month insisting he had nothing to do with his classmate’s death.
“These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false,” he said.
“I categorically deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family.”
In honor of Smith, erected at the site where he was found dead in Hampton, South Carolina, in 2015
Smith was found dead a few miles from the estate of former huntsman Alex Murdaugh.
Local news site Fits the news He named two people — Patrick Wilson and Sean Connelly, both 25 years old — as potentially of interest, citing sources from the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement (SLED).
According to a FitsNews report, Connelly and Wilson, who were both teenagers at the time, were living in Hampton County when Smith was murdered.
FitsNews claims that five months after Smith’s death, Wilson’s stepfather, Darrell Williams, said Wilson told him Connelly had “beat and killed Stephen Smith.”
Williams, in turn, notified law enforcement.
Later, Williams told investigators that Wilson had moved out and did not know where he lived.
When efforts to locate him stalled, Williams said Alex Murdaugh’s brother Randy told him to call the police.
Stephen Smith, who was 19 years old at the time of his death in July 2015
Maggie Mordeau with her husband Alex and sons Buster (right) and Paul (left)
In the statement shared by Alex Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, Buster called the allegations “baseless.”
The newspaper reported that Connelly and Wilson were so well known to the police that Wilson faced murder charges, which were dropped.
Online records show Connelly had a lengthy criminal record in South Carolina, including multiple traffic violations, DUIs, domestic violence, hunting without a license, illegally killing a antler-less deer and purchasing alcohol as a minor.
The soldier who discovered Smith’s body did not believe it was a hit-and-run, but the coroner who performed the autopsy theorized Smith was hit in the head by the side mirror of a passing truck that did not stop.
Police said he appeared to have run out of gas and was walking for help, but Bland said Smith had not made any calls on his mobile phone and his shoes, which were loosely tied, were still on his feet.
People who are hit by cars are often found without their shoes on from the force of the wreck.
Smith’s family believes his injuries, including head injuries and a dislocated arm behind him, indicate that he was bludgeoned to death and fell onto the highway.
Bland also hopes that private investigators can collect and analyze mobile phone data from Smith and the people he was communicating with to reconstruct who he hung out with and what he was doing not only before his body was found but also in the weeks leading up to his death.
Stephen had to lead a secret life. Being young and gay in the Low Country was not an easy thing to do, Bland said.