Nearly two years after state authorities reopened an investigation into his death based on information learned while looking into the murders of Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh, his family announced last week that the body of a 19-year-old who was discovered dead in the middle of a South Carolina road in 2015 would be exhumed.
In what his mother called a “battle for justice,” the family of Stephen Smith has raised nearly $60,000 to contribute to the exhumation and a private autopsy.
When we started this fundraising, Sandy Smith stated, “I could not have dreamed that it would take off in the way that it did. “I appreciate you not allowing Stephen’s story to be ignored. We will start the exhumation right away and keep you informed every step of the journey.
The Murdaugh family, whose patriarch, Alex Murdaugh, was found guilty earlier this month of killing his wife and son at their rural estate on the evening of June 7, 2021, has not been linked by the authorities to Smith’s death. According to his lawyer, Murdaugh has already challenged his conviction after receiving a life sentence.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, announced it was reviving the Smith investigation based to information learned from the Murdaugh case around two weeks after Maggie and Paul were killed. The nature of that information was not specified by SLED.
The investigation into Stephen Smith’s death has advanced, according to a statement from SLED, but it is still active and ongoing.
On July 8, 2015, the 19-year-old nursing student’s body was found. He sustained blunt force damage to the head, according to an incident report from the state highway patrol, and his death was initially thought to be the result of a hit and run.
The responding officer mentioned in a report by the state highway patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team noted “no vehicle debris, skid marks, or injuries consistent with someone being struck by a vehicle,” despite the pathologist cited in a SLED report stating Smith appeared to have been hit by a vehicle.
According to the report, Smith’s shoes were both on and loosely tied, and the detectives did not find any indications that he had been hit by a car.
According to the GoFundMe campaign, Smith’s family launched it to raise money for a “fresh, impartial look at his body and an accurate assessment of his cause of death based on facts,” with an initial goal of $15,000. According to the report, a private medical examiner would need to be present throughout the autopsy, which would cost around $7,000 and take about an hour to complete.
The page states, “We feel 2023 is Stephen’s year. It is a tremendous investment, but we are hopeful that with your support we can make this happen and finally get the answers we need.”
I’ve been writing about LGBTQ issues for more than a decade as a journalist and content writer. I write about things that you care about. LGBTQ+ issues and intersectional topics, such as harmful stories about gender, sexuality, and other identities on the margins of society, I also write about mental health, social justice, and other things. I identify as queer, I’m asexual, I have HIV, and I just became a parent.