Broad elements of the brutal double homicide of two members of one of South Carolina’s most powerful families are beginning to come to light – although at this early stage of the investigation there are obviously still far more questions than answers.
Early this morning, I reported that agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division SLED were investigating a double homicide at a hunting property owned by the powerful Murdaugh family of Hampton county, S.C. Shortly thereafter, I reported that the victims of this double homicide were 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh of Hampton, S.C. and his mother, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh.
Paul Murdaugh, readers will recall, was accused of multiple felony charges in connection with a tragic February 2019 boating accident that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach. Murdaugh had pleaded not guilty to those charges, and was awaiting his day in court.
Paul Murdaugh’s boat crash case drew significant statewide attention given his family’s historical influence in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Three generations of Murdaughs served as solicitor for the state’s fourteenth judicial circuit from 1920-2006, and three Murdaughs currently work for the prominent Hampton, S.C. law firm of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED).
The Murdaughs connection to the law firm goes back more than a century …
As I reported earlier today, at around 10:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 7, 2021, police were summoned to 4157 Moselle Road in Islandton, S.C., an unincorporated community located just north of Varnville, South Carolina. That address is tied to a 1,700-acre property owned by Maggie Murdaugh known as “Moselle.”
Her husband, R. Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh, summoned police after discovering the bodies of his wife and son on the property, which has been described as a “hunting lodge.”
According to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the crime scene, Paul Murdaugh and Maggie Murdaugh were both killed “execution-style” by a yet-to-be-identified assailant(s) using “multiple firearms.” Police believe the killings were “clearly premeditated,” but they declined to share any additional information beyond that citing the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation.
SLED is leading that investigation at the request of the Colleton county sheriff’s office.
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I am not going to speculate on rumored details from the crime scene until such information is confirmed by multiple, credible law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the situation. As of this writing, the only information sources familiar with the crime scene were willing to share with me was that it was “very ugly.”
These sources declined to answer multiple questions related to the murders – including how they were carried out, who may have been responsible for carrying them out, the weapons involved in carrying them out and any information related to a possible motive for the crime.
My law enforcement sources did confirm one detail that is worth passing along: The case is being investigated as a double homicide, not a rumored “murder-suicide” as many sources were suggesting earlier in the day.
“Nothing suggests any element of a murder-suicide-type situation,” one law enforcement source familiar with the situation confirmed to me on Tuesday afternoon.
Several of my sources did caution the public against “crowdsourcing” the investigation – citing a wealth of “demonstrably inaccurate” material posted to social media in the aftermath of the slayings.
State and local law enforcement agencies have publicly maintained there is no threat to public safety despite the absence of a suspect(s) being named or apprehended in connection with this crime.
“At this time, there is no danger to the public,” Shalane Lowes of the Colleton county sheriff’s office told me earlier today. “If information is received that dictates otherwise, we will immediately notify the public.”
This is a developing story … check back for updates.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that lime green Daytona Tortugas’ batting practice lid pictured above).
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