Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his 52-year-old mother, Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, both members of an influential legal family in South Carolina, were found shot dead on the family's sprawling 1,700-acre hunting estate in Islandton on June 7.
The mother and son were shot with different weapons - one with an assault rifle and the other with a shotgun. Attorney Richard Alexander Murdaugh Sr.—Maggie's husband and Paul's father—found the bodies and alerted law enforcement. Their deaths were ruled out as a murder-suicide and authorities started investigating it as a double homicide.
Paul was killed as he avoided jail time for allegedly killing his friend, 19-year-old Mallory Madison Beach, in a drunken boating accident. In February 2019, Paul, who was 20 at the time, was allegedly steering the speedboat under the influence of alcohol with a group of friends, including Beach, when he crashed into a piling by the bridge, killing Beach. However, now the case has been tied to two other mysterious deaths that have emerged from the past.
'Trip and Fall' Death of Gloria Satterfield
In 2018, Richard, the patriarch of the powerful family of prosecutors and attorneys, settled a wrongful death claim in the "trip and fall" death of 57-year-old housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.
According to legal documents obtained by FITS News, Richard settled the lawsuit for $500,000. He was listed as the only defendant in the cse, which stated that Satterfield died as a result of injuries sustained during the fall. The document does not state where the fatal incident took place, but Satterfield was reportedly a housekeeper for the Murdaugh family.
Paul's Brother was 'Intimately' Linked to Dead Gay Teen
Investigators are also looking into whether Stephen Smith's death had anything to do with Paul and Maggie's murder. On July 8, 2015, Smith, a gay 19-year-old was found dead in the middle of Sandy Run Road, three miles away from his abandoned car, with horrific and disfiguring head injuries as well as a dislocated right shoulder.
The medical examiner concluded that the teen ran out of gas and was struck by the side mirror of a passing truck, but Stephen's mother has always believed it was a hate crime. Investigators with the S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) also received multiple tips in the aftermath of Smith's death linking his untimely demise to the Murdaugh family.
According to SCHP documents, detectives were pursuing Paul and his brother Buster Murdaugh as possible persons of interest in the case. According to the investigation file, Buster was rumored to have been "intimately" linked to Smith but investigators could it could not be proved.
"I think it's a situation when you grow up and your family is kinda high-profile and you get away with some things because of your family name," SCHP detective Todd Proctor said at the time. "You become invincible in a way and you get a little liquor and you think you're untouchable."
On Thursday, Stephen's mother Sandy Smith received a phone call from the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) in connection to the Murdaugh double murder case.
"They called me back and said they were looking into Stephen's case because they have to see if my family is involved in the shooting of Paul and Maggie (Murdaugh)," Sandy Smith told FITSNews. "What a slap in the face."