What was Maggie Murdaugh’s phone doing along a rural South Carolina road just outside of the family’s 1,7,00-acre hunting property on the day after her murder?
Earlier today, The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper first reported that the phone was found along a Colleton County road on June 8, 2021 the day after Murdaugh and her son – 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh – were found murdered at the hunting property, located at 4147 Moselle Road near Islandton, S.C.
A source close to the investigation confirmed with FITSNews that the phone was discovered by law enforcement with the assistance of a family member on the day after the murders.
Sources did not say which family member helped officials find the phone. They also did not say anything about Paul Murdaugh’s phone.
The phone was processed by S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for DNA and forensic evidence, according to our sources – meaning it is possible that the phone had DNA evidence on it.
So far in the investigation, SLED has not commented publicly on any DNA evidence possibly left at the scene, but we know from several sources that investigators have been taking DNA samples for the purpose of eliminating potential suspects.
SLED is continuing to cast a wide net as it seeks to exclude individuals in connection with this shocking double homicide – which has drawn international attention given the Murdaugh family’s extensive influence in the region and its ties to several other yet-to-be-resolved deaths.
Investigators are looking at anyone who may have had a possible motive in the case – including the survivors of a high-profile February 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
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 on February 24, 2019 around 2:25 a.m. Murdaugh was charged with three felony counts of boating under the influence (BUI) two months after the crash.
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.
According to multiple sources, the S.C. attorney general’s office is exploring obstruction of justice allegations in the aftermath of the 2019 crash — including allegations that could involve R. Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh and possibly other members of his powerful family.
In a statement, Joseph M. McCulloch — an attorney representing a boat crash survivor — said that there was important evidence missing in the boat crash investigation.
While no suspects have been named in the double homicide case, Alex Murdaugh — Paul’s father and Maggie’s husband — was named as a “person of interest” in connection with the Moselle shootings, according to FITSNews sources.
Good Morning America reported that Alex was taking his father Randolph Murdaugh III — who died of cancer days after the murders — to the hospital on the day of the killings. After that, he reportedly checked in on his mother before returning to the hunting property, known locally as Moselle. This could be the “ironclad” alibi Alex Murdaugh is said to have provided police.
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.
Latest In the Investigation
On Monday, SLED released redacted documents (below) “for the sake of transparency” revealing some information in the double homicide investigation.
The documents are heavily redacted copies of the supplemental incident reports from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office — the agency that originally responded to Alex Murdaugh‘s 9-1-1 call around 10:07 p.m. June 7.
The sheriff’s office asked SLED to take over the case due to the complexity of the investigation and the agency’s multiple ties to the powerful Murdaugh family. SLED was contacted 21 minutes after Alex Murdaugh called 911.
The incident reports appear to show that the integrity of the crime scene was maintained until SLED agents arrived on scene at 11:47 p.m. EDT.
According to the reports, it appears that Colleton County Sheriff’s deputies located at least two vehicles at the crime scene and impounded at least one of them.
Deputies found numerous shell casings at the scene as well, according to the report.
According to the reports, SLED agents requested that Colleton County sheriff’s deputies search the area near the crime scene for video surveillance systems on the morning after the murders. Another deputy was asked to get a large tent to cover evidence at the crime scene.
Only one piece of evidence was listed in the initial crime scene log – which was heavily redacted.
In the news release, SLED chief Mark Keel asked for the public’s patience – urging them to “let the investigation take its course.” SLED officials said they understood the case has drawn a lot of attention, but asked the public to “withhold judgment” until the investigation is complete.
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, according to our sources.
SLED has not officially said which weapons were used in the crime, nor have they said where exactly the bodies were found on the property.
In another big development this week, SLED opened an investigation into the death of Stephen Smith, agency spokesperson Tommy Crosby first told FITSNews Tuesday. Smith was killed in 2015 in what was originally (and controversially) ruled a hit-and-run accident in Hampton county – one of several suspicious deaths with a reported connection to the Murdaugh family.
Crosby said SLED opened the investigation “based on information gathered during the course of the double murder investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.”
Those wishing to give law enforcement information on the case should contact (803) 896- 2605.
FITSNews will stay on top of these developments as the investigation moves forward. Stay tuned..
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 tips to [email protected].
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