On Friday, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) released hundreds of documents related to its investigation of a 2019 Beaufort County boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
As FITSNews exclusively reported on Friday (click here for the full report), the files contain shocking details about what happened in the early morning hours of February 24, 2019. Around 2:20 a.m, Paul Murdaugh allegedly crashed a 17-foot center console fishing boat owned by his father, Alex Murdaugh, into a piling just outside of Parris Island, South Carolina.
The files were released just one week after attorneys representing Connor Cook — who sustained a broken jaw in the crash — dropped a bombshell petition alleging that law enforcement conspired to shift the focus of the investigation away from Murdaugh prior to him being ultimately charged with three felonies in connection with the crash.
While the criminal investigation of Paul Murdaugh ended with his death, authorities are now looking into obstruction of justice allegations involving his powerful family members, FITSNews exclusively reported last month.
Below is a full timeline from the investigation files:timelinesideways
As authorities investigate obstruction of justice allegations, the recently released reports with extensive statements by Beaufort Memorial hospital personnel give a more complete picture of Murdaugh’s possible influence on the investigation on the night of the crash.
Paul’s father, Alex Murdaugh, and grandfather, former solicitor Randolph Murdaugh, appeared at the hospital ten minutes after Paul Murdaugh, according to witness statements. They were able to come quickly because Paul called his grandfather from the scene, according to the SCDNR file.
Three generations of Murdaughs all served as solicitors over a five-county region in the South Carolina Lowcountry from 1920-2006, enabling the family to amass hundreds of political, prosecutorial and law enforcement connections. Attorneys representing Connor Cook — whom SCDNR considered as a person of interest in the boat crash case — are now questioning if certain law enforcement officers conspired a coverup in the investigation.
So what happened at the hospital?
What Hospital Staff Told SCDNR
Below, you’ll find case notes from the interviews of Beaufort Memorial staff taken by SCDNR on March 6-7, 2019.
- She said Paul “had an attitude and was cocky”
- She noticed Paul was only wearing boxer shorts.
- She said Pauls father was trying to make contact with other patients.
- She said Paul’s father told her “I’m responsible for all of these kids.”
- She stated Paul was “belligerent and security was requested”
- She saw Paul’s father go in and out of Connor Cook’s room.
- She said Paul’s father asked where Paul’s girlfriend was moved.
- She said Connor was eventually transferred to MUSC.
- She told a security security guard to “keep an eye” on Alex Murdaugh.
- She recalled telling Paul’s father multiple times to stay in his own room.
- She smelled alcohol on Paul’s father.
Connor’s nurse :
- She heard Alex Murdaugh tell Connor that “they were going to figure everything out.”
- She saw Alex Murdaugh stop Connor on his way to his CAT scan.
- She heard Alex Murdaugh tell a SCDNR officer that Paul Murdaugh would not be making any statements because he was intoxicated and he did not want Paul making a drunken statement.
- She saw Alex Murdaugh speaking with one of the boat crash survivor’s parents.
- She said that several hospital staff had to go into Paul Murdaugh’s room because he was “belligerent, intoxicated and cursing at staff and being uncooperative.”
- She saw Paul try to enter his ex-girlfriend’s room and said it was obvious she wanted nothing to do with him or his family.
- She said once other patients’ parents started to arrive, Paul’s father “changed his behavior.”
- He heard Paul’s grandfather tell Paul to “shut the f*ck up.”
- He felt Paul’s grandfather was “agitated” with Paul.
- He smelled alcohol on both Paul and Connor.
- He described Paul Murdaugh as “Rowdy.””
- He saw Paul’s father and grandfather show up shortly after Paul.
Another security guard:
- He overheard Paul’s father on the phone saying “she’s gone, don’t worry about her”.
- He also overheard Alex Murdaugh say “love you, bye!” on the phone.
- He said Paul’s grandfather (Randolph Murdaugh) “kept telling Paul to keep his mouth shut”.
- He noticed Alex Murdaugh was “moving around a lot.”
- He thought Connor had a bad attitude, appeared intoxicated and tried to leave.
Paul Murdaugh’s nurse:
- She said Paul Murdaugh was only wearing boxers and he was grossly intoxicated and belligerent.
- She said Paul Murdaugh appeared to be the most intoxicated and most belligerent of those involved
- She described Paul Murdaugh as “one of the most arrogant teenagers to come through the emergency room.”
- She said Paul kept saying “y’all should be doing your jobs and looking for my friend.”
- She watched Paul got out of the bed and disconnected the monitors at least three times.
- At first, when asked how much he drank, Paul said he drank five to six beers , then he said he was drinking and doing drugs all night
- She recalled Paul make a statement, but then minutes later he would not remember making that statement.
- She said Alex Murdaugh and Randolph Murdaugh arrived around 10 minutes after Paul.
Another Beaufort Memorial nurse:
- He said Paul’s Girlfriend said she was upset with Paul because of his drinking and that “he already almost killed them in a vehicle accident before while he was intoxicated.”
- He noticed Paul’s father “visiting” with the other boaters and their families.
- He heard Alex Murdaugh tell the investigation officers that he did not want them questioning his son because he is drunk
- He noticed that Alex Murdaugh kept trying to get into Morgan’s room.
- He noticed his patient’s anxiety when Alex Murdaugh would try to enter.
- He said Paul’s girlfriend said she was going to break up with Paul.
- He noticed Alex Murdaugh “going from room to room” while the other parents stayed with her children.
A triage nurse:
- She saw Alex Murdaugh trying to get into other patients’ rooms.
- She saw Alex was looking at the ER tracking and room assignments.
- She said Alex Murdaugh was in and out of the patients rooms or in the ER lobby making phone calls
- She said the conversation would stop when she would walk in.
- She heard Alex on the phone saying “she’s gone baby, she’s gone.”
- She thought Alex Murdaugh “seemed to be trying to orchestrate everyone” getting them on the same page.
- She felt that Alex Murdaugh was “cold and detached” about the victim/ injured.
- She thought Alex was “trying to counsel everyone on getting on the same page.”
Paul’s girlfriend’s nurse:
- He said Alex Murdaugh kept trying to get in her room.
- He noticed Paul’s girlfriend’s anxiety when Alex Murdaugh tried to enter.
- He overheard Alex Murdaugh tell SCDNR officer that he didn’t want his son making any statements.
- He said Paul’s girlfriend told her nurse that Paul almost killed them in a truck accident while drinking prior to this incident.
- He said Paul’s girlfriend was going to break up with Paul.
Another security guard:
- He said Paul was belligerent and cursing as soon as he came in.
- He was assigned to sit outside Paul’s room due to his behavior.
- He heard Paul’s grandfather say Paul was “as drunk as Cooter Brown”.
- He saw Paul’s father was trying to enter other patients’ rooms.
- He said the charge nurse told him to “keep an eye” on Alex and Randolph Murdaugh.
- He thought Paul’s father was calm about the situation, while his grandfather seemed angry with him.
- She said Paul Murdaugh asked her if she would hold his penis and said her butt was “nice”.
- She said Paul was still wet (from being thrown in the water).
- She saw Paul’s father go into Connor Cook’s room several times.
- She watched Alex Murdaugh walk over as Connor was being taken to a CT scan.
- She overheard Alex Murdaugh tell Connor’s father that he was “handling it.”
- She felt that Paul did not show any remorse for what happened.
- She described the emergency room atmosphere as “a weird, corny teen drama movie.”
- She thought Paul’s girlfriend would get anxious when Alex Murdaugh came around.
The investigation files released Friday included surveillance footage of the last hours leading up to the crash that killed Mallory Beach on Feb. 24, 2019. Click below to see those videos compiled together in a timeline.
Stay tuned for the latest developments in this case…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning 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. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].
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