The lead investigative agency on the high-profile double homicide that took place last week in Colleton county, South Carolina issued a statement Wednesday asking the public for tips in the ongoing investigation.
Nine days after the murders, officials from S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said in a statement that investigations have created a tip line solely dedicated to the Murdaugh case.
Those wishing to give law enforcement information on the case should contact (803) 896- 2605.
The statement said that SLED “continues to pursue all leads in this active and joint investigation.”
On Tuesday, SLED issued its first statement in the high-profile case that has captured national attention.
According to the statement issued Tuesday by SLED, the investigation into these murders began at 10:07 p.m. EDT last Monday when R. Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh – Maggie’s husband and Paul’s father, who is a prominent local attorney – placed a 9-1-1 call which was routed to the Colleton county dispatch center.
“During that call, Murdaugh indicated to the Colleton county dispatch center that he had returned to family property located at 4147 Moselle Road in Islandton, South Carolina to find the bodies of his wife Margaret ‘Maggie’ Murdaugh and his son Paul Murdaugh shot outside of the residence on the property,” the statement noted.
At 10:28 p.m. EDT – just over 20 minutes after the 9-1-1 call from Murdaugh was received – SLED was contacted by the Colleton sheriff’s office.
At that time, SLED’s “assistance in conducting this double murder investigation” was requested. At 11:47 p.m. EDT, agents from SLED’s various Lowcountry regional offices “began arriving on scene.”
Twenty minutes after that, SLED’s crime scene personnel were on the scene collecting evidence, according to the release.
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“SLED agents began working with the Colleton county sheriff’s office immediately to evaluate the crime scene and take the lead on this investigation,” the statement noted. “SLED crime scene agents began arriving on scene at 12:07 a.m. Crime scene personnel worked throughout the morning of June 8 to collect evidence and submitted it to SLED’s forensic lab, which immediately began processing and testing the evidence.”
SLED’s release offered no indication as to what evidence it is reviewing in connection with the murders, although as FITSNews reported earlier the agency is said to be examining “a variety of digital records and other information” related to Alex Murdaugh, who placed the 9-1-1 call after discovering the bodies.
Sources have told FITSNews that Paul Murdaugh was killed by two shotgun blasts – one to the chest and another through the arm and head. Maggie Murdaugh died of multiple gun shot wounds by a semi-automatic rifle. They were reportedly found near the dog kennels on the property, although FITSNews sources have since confirmed that the family’s dogs were not killed during the incident (one of the many rumors swirling around this story).
According to the autopsy report, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were killed sometime between 9:00-9:30 p.m. EDT June 7.
Alex Murdaugh was identified very early in the inquiry by law enforcement and prosecutorial sources as a “person of interest” in connection with the slayings. However he has reportedly provided police with an “ironclad” alibi, according to our law enforcement sources.
Attorneys close to the powerful Murdaugh family have told FITSNews that Alex is not a suspect in the case and is “cooperating fully” with SLED. These sources further claim that Murdaugh’s interview with SLED investigators last week was all about “closing the book on him as any sort of suspect” in the case. However, FITSNews’ sources have challenged those assumptions.
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The Murdaughs are one of South Carolina’s most influential families — with deep connections to police, prosecutors and politicians in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Three generations of Murdaughs served as solicitor in the S.C. fourteenth judicial circuit from 1920-2006. During this time (and since, some say) the family has determined the destinies of thousands of individuals tied to various criminal and civil cases.
At the time of his death, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh stood accused of three felony BUIs in the fatal boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach in 2019. Moments before the crash, he slapped and spit on his girlfriend and refused to let anyone else drive the boat, according to court depositions in the case.
Beach died when a 17-foot center console fishing boat allegedly driven by an inebriated Paul Murdaugh slammed into a pylon near the Archer’s Creek bridge.
Two days after the 2019 boat crash, fourteenth circuit solicitor Duffie Stone recused himself in the case, which was prosecuted by South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson’s office. Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to those charges and was awaiting trial at the time of his death.
As of this writing, Stone has still not recused himself from the doubly homicide investigation — which is mind-boggling to law enforcement sources who spoke to FITSNews.
Stone, incidentally, is under increasing pressure to recuse himself from the investigation.
Stone has so many indisputable conflicts of interest in this case, including:
- Alex Murdaugh – who has been identified as a person of interest by our sources on this case – assists Stone’s office on certain cases and reportedly carries a badge issued by the the solicitor.
- In 2006, Stone took over as solicitor for Paul Murdaugh’s grandfather Randolph Murdaugh III (who died of cancer last week) with support from the Murdaugh dynasty.
- In 2016, for example, Maggie Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh, and Randolph Murdaugh all donated a total of $2,500 to Stone’s solicitor campaign, according to financial records.
- Stone’s federal prosecutor Carra Henderson is related to Danny Henderson, who works at the Murdaugh law firm.
- Two of the boat crash survivors are related to a person who works at Stone’s office.
Boat Crash Investigation
Last week, FITSNews was first to report the news of an open investigation related to the 2019 boat crash.
Specifically, law enforcement and prosecutorial sources familiar with the situation tell us investigators are actively probing obstruction of justice allegations in the aftermath of the crash — including allegations that could involve Alex Murdaugh and possibly other members of his powerful family.
Mallory Beach’s family lawyer Mark Tinsley — the lead attorney in the civil case — issued a statement yesterday confirming the obstruction of justice investigation.
“The Beaches have every confidence and are hopeful that the attorney general’s office will continue to investigate and prosecute any improprieties related to any attempts by any member of law enforcement to influence the original criminal investigation related to the boat crash,” Tinsley said. “As such, they support the attorney general’s decision in how they determine to move forward.”
Joseph M. McCulloch — an attorney representing Connor Cook, a boat crash survivor who was badly injured in the crash — also issued a statement on the investigation and mentioned “the inexplicable disappearance of important evidence” in the boat crash investigation.
According to our sources, all of the boat crash survivors — and Beach’s family members — voluntarily submitted to questioning and volunteered to provide their DNA as a part of the double homicide investigation. A source close to the family also told FITSNews that the Beaches have not been questioned again since providing their statements and DNA.
For more information on the civil case and obstruction of justice investigation click here….
-Will Folks contributed to this report.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].
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