South Carolina Creepy November 02, 2022
This Disturbing Murder Mystery In South Carolina Is So Creepy It Inspired A Movie
CNN called it a story with “more turns than a South Carolina country road.” Indeed, and it’s a murder mystery so creepy it inspired a movie. It happened in one of the state’s smallest communities you may never even have heard of before.
Islandton, South Carolina is an unincorporated community and census-designated place with a population of only 49 residents as of the 2020 census. It’s located about an hour north of Hilton Head Island.
On June 7, 2021, a 911 call came in at about 10 p.m. from an Islandton residence. The caller, Alex Murdaugh, reported that he had come home to find his wife and youngest of two sons shot to death.
The Murdaughs are one of the most prominent families in the Lowcountry.
With three generations of Murdaughs serving consecutively during a period of 86 years in the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s office, an elected role, and the family’s involvement in the founding of a highly successful personal injury law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick, in Hampton, this family has come to represent a legal dynasty with influence and connections spanning throughout five counties.
As news of these deaths began spreading and the investigation commenced, allegations of shoddy policy work, obstruction of justice, and interference with the investigation began circulating almost immediately. This is not the first trouble the family has found themselves in.
In February of 2019, the now deceased youngest son, Paul, was partying with five friends near Parris Island on his dad’s boat and it hit a bridge. 19-year-old Mallory Beach was thrown from the boat into the water and her body was recovered about a week later. Several of the other passengers were injured.
Witnesses stated Paul was driving the boat. All occupants, underage, were said in police reports to have been “grossly intoxicated.”
Video obtained during the investigation showed Paul buying beer. He was 20 years old at the time.
He was charged in April 2019 with three felony counts of boating under the influence causing great bodily injury and pled not guilty during the initial indictment and bond hearing. On July 7, 2021, attorneys for one of the survivors of the boat crash filed a petition in Richland County regarding information and the belief that there was a conspiracy to misdirect the criminal investigation away from Paul and wrongfully shift focus to him. The initial response from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was that the petitioner had not provided law enforcement with a statement about who was operating the boat when the incident occurred.
However, a video surfaced with one of the other survivors, Anthony, clearly stating to law enforcement that Paul had been driving, even though the police report said he told them he didn’t know.
The petition sought depositions of several current and former law enforcement officials and to obtain their personal and law enforcement cellphone records.
Considerations have been given to whether or not there was any connection between the double homicide and the pending trial for the boating accident.
The investigation into the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh led to information that resulted in an unsolved case from 2015 being reopened. 19-year-old Stephen Smith was found dead in the middle of the road on July 8.
The Murdaugh family name kept surfacing during initial investigations, and ties between the deceased and the older Murdaugh son, Buster, were questioned.
But it was ultimately presumed a hit-and-run incident, which Stephen’s family has always questioned. The cause of death had been determined as blunt-force trauma to the head, and the only injuries to his body were his head and a dislocated shoulder. Stephen’s mother did not feel the autopsy results lined up with the conclusion the investigators came to. She now has renewed hope for justice for her son.
September of 2021 was a busy time for the case. On Friday, September 3 the law firm Alex was with announced a discovery that he had stolen millions of dollars from the company. Alex made a statement about the difficult time he had been going through, decisions he regretted, and that he would be resigning and entering rehab.
Alex’s attorney confirmed he was struggling with an opioid addiction.
The next day, another 911 call came in with Alex reporting he had been shot while changing a tire. He claimed the person who shot him had passed by in a truck and then turned around in a church parking lot. It just so happened that this church had security cameras that provided evidence resulting in a later admission by Alex that he had conspired with another man to fatally shoot him so his surviving son would collect a $10 million life insurance payout, according to court documents.
Yet another twist in this saga, in June 2022 it was reported that permission had been granted to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to exhume the body of the Murdaugh family’s former housekeeper/nanny of more than 20 years. She died four years ago at the hospital after an incident that was called a “slip and fall accident.”
Alex Murdaugh had claimed the family dog tripped the housekeeper on the stairs. But nothing like that was mentioned during the 911 phone call made by Maggie and Paul. The death was never reported to the coroner and an autopsy was never performed. It was also noted that the death certificate indicated the manner of death was ruled as "natural," which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident. In addition, a wrongful death claim had been filed on behalf of the estate of the housekeeper, but the family never saw the money they were supposed to receive.
Alex Murdaugh was indicted in January 2022 for the murders of his wife and son and in June over an alleged oxycodone and meth trafficking conspiracy. He also has stacked up other charges, including breach of trust with fraudulent intent and computer crimes.
In total, he faces 71 charges involving the theft of about $8.5 million over 11 years. As of January 2022, two survivors of the boating accident and the mother of Mallory Beach are seeking a combined $65 million in claims against the estates of Maggie Murdaugh and her son.
What once appeared to be an all-American family that had it all is now known as a family hiding a lot of turmoil and secrets. Maggie had seen a divorce attorney weeks before she was killed and had been living in a secondary home the family owned at the beach. It was discovered that she was lured to the Islandton property by Alex and had been hesitant about going. Paul had been at a relative’s home but for some reason also ended up at the property with his mother. Alex has pled not guilty, but forensic evidence directly links him to the murder scene. One final bizarre twist is that a banker has also been indicted on charges that he helped the accused murderer launder and misappropriate millions of dollars. The trial is slated to begin in January 2023.
So far a documentary, three TV specials, two streaming projects, and three podcasts have been produced about this murder mystery. Get a sneak peek of the documentary from its trailer:
If you’d like to see more of the state’s creepy side, check out this lesser-known abandoned church with gorgeous Gothic-style architecture .
Which of the twists in this case do you find the most bizarre? Share with us in the comments below! Address: Islandton, SC 29929, USA
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