In one of the first major disclosures of information related to the ‘Murdaugh Murders” case, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on Thursday released redacted audio from the 911 call placed by R. Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh on the evening of June 7, 2021.
The 911 call from Alex Murdaugh was placed at 10:07 p.m. EDT on that fateful Monday evening – around the time Murdaugh says he discovered the bodies of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, on the family’s 1,700-acre hunting property in Colleton county.
In addition to the six-minute recording, the agency also released computer-aided dispatch (CAD) records related to the incident – and provided updated information on vehicles that were located on the property at the time of the shooting (including a vehicle which was later towed away from the scene).
During the 911 call, Murdaugh is breathless and audibly distraught. At different points in the recording, he begins sobbing uncontrollably.
“I been up to it now – it’s bad,” Murdaugh told Colleton county dispatcher Angel Fraser, referring to the crime scene.
“Okay and are they breathing?” Fraser asked.
“No ma’am,” Murdaugh responded.
“And you said its your wife and your son?” Fraser asked.
“It’s my wife and my son,” Murdaugh responded.
To listen to the 911 call in its entirety, click the following link …
(Click to view)
(Via: FITSNews/ YouTube)
Asked whether the victims were in a vehicle, Murdaugh responded “no ma’am they’re on the ground out at my kennels.”
Dogs can be heard barking the background Murdaugh is asked again by Fraser whether or not his son is breathing.
“No, nobody’s breathing,” he responded, sobbing.
“What is your name?” Fraser asked Murdaugh.
“My name is Alex Murdaugh,” he responded.
In her notations of the conversation she was having with Murdaugh, Fraser advised responding deputies that Murdaugh was “very upset.” Still, she did her best to get as much information as she possibly could from him.
“Okay, did you hear anything? Or did you come home and find them?” she asked.
“No ma’am I’ve been gone,” Murdaugh responded, beginning to sob. “I just came back.”
“Okay and was anyone else supposed to be at your house?” Fraser asked.
“No ma’am,” Murdaugh responded, sobbing. “Please hurry.”
Murdaugh is later asked by Fraser whether he saw anyone in the vicinity of the home when he arrived. He responded in the negative. He was then asked whether he noticed anything out of place.
“Not really,” he replied.
“Doesn’t see anyone,” she noted, according to dispatch records.
At one point in the call, Fraser asks Murdaugh not to touch the bodies of his family members.
“I don’t want you to touch them at all, okay – I don’t know if you’ve already touched them but I don’t want you to touch them just in case they can get any kind of evidence, okay?” she said.
“I already touched them trying to get a – um – trying to see if they were breathing,” Murdaugh responded.
“Okay – well I just don’t want you to move anything just in case they can get any kind of evidence, okay?” Fraser responded.
Toward the end of the call, Murdaugh told Fraser he needed to hang up with her.
“Ma’am I need to call some of my family,” he said.
(Click to download)
At this point, Murdaugh was also asked to illuminate the emergency lights of his vehicle so that deputies would know where he was located on the sprawling property – which borders the Salkehatchie River and encompasses parts of Colleton and Hampton counties.
Speaking of vehicles, a 2021 Chevy Suburban belonging to the prominent regional law firm of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) – where Alex Murdaugh and his brother are employed – was impounded by Colleton county sheriff’s deputies.
The 911 call was released by SLED in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by this news outlet. As mentioned above, the agency also released dispatch records related to law enforcement’s response to the shootings – which has come under some scrutiny in the intervening six weeks.
As previously reported, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh died of multiple gunshot wounds, with Paul Murdaugh reportedly sustaining multiple shotgun blasts to the chest and face and Maggie Murdaugh reportedly sustaining multiple wounds from a semi-automatic rifle.
No arrests have been made in connection with the case, nor have any suspects been identified. Prior to the publication of the 911 call, nothing of substance had been released to the public regarding the direction or status of the ongoing inquiry – aside from an initial law enforcement timeline of events. In fact, SLED has been working aggressively to plug any leaks related to its inquiry – which has attracted international attention and sparked a flurry of interest from network television outlets and production companies eager to capitalize on the still-unfolding drama.
Alex Murdaugh was identified by sources close to the investigation very early on as a “person of interest” in connection with their inquiries, although as I noted at the time – and several times since – he reportedly provided police with an “ironclad” alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the killings.
This news outlet broke the story of the “Murdaugh Murders” early on the morning of June 8, 2021 – and my news director Mandy Matney and I have been driving the coverage of this crime (and its attendant dramas) ever since. Matney has also launched a podcast dedicated to the case … which I would encourage all of my readers to check out if they haven’t already.
The Murdaughs are one of the most influential families in South Carolina. Three generations of Murdaughs served as solicitor (or district attorney) for a five-county region in the historic Palmetto Lowcountry – while two members of the family work for the aforementioned PMPED law firm.
Over the years, the family has amassed an unrivaled network of political, legal and law enforcement connections in the S.C. fourteenth judicial circuit. That network includes the sitting solicitor, Duffie Stone, who was the family’s choice to replace the late Randolph Murdaugh III when he stepped down from this office in 2007.
Stone has recused himself from prior criminal cases involving the Murdaugh family – but has thus far refused to do so in this case.
Speaking of these prior cases, at the time of his death Paul Murdaugh was facing three felony boating under the influence (BUI) charges in connection with a February 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach of Hampton, S.C. His father and brother are also named in a wrongful death suit related to that crash, while members of the Murdaugh family are reportedly the focus of an ongoing statewide grand jury investigation into possible obstruction of justice in its aftermath.
News of that inquiry was also first reported by this news outlet …
Also, since the double homicide that claimed the lives of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, SLED has opened a murder investigation into the 2015 death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith of Hampton, S.C. – and is reportedly investigating several leads that could point to the Murdaugh family.
More than six weeks after the murders, SLED has yet to tip its hand regarding the various leads it is pursuing in connection with the crime.
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 and before that he was a bass player and a dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including the above-pictured Toronto Blue Jays’ lid).
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