Shortly after breaking the story of the “Murdaugh Murders” two months ago, I filed an exclusive report on the wounds that killed 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh – the scion of one of South Carolina’s most prominent families and the defendant in an ongoing investigation 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach of Hampton, S.C.
“Paul Murdaugh was reportedly killed by a pair of shotgun blasts – one to the chest and another which struck his arm and head,” I reported at the time, citing my network of law enforcement and prosecutorial sources.
This information has now been publicly confirmed by health officials as the cause of Murdaugh’s death.
According to a death certificate filed with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), Murdaugh died of “shotgun wounds of chest and head.”
Take a look …
(Click to view)
The death certificate for Murdaugh – which was completed by Colleton county coroner Richard M. Harvey – also indicated his body was cremated following his autopsy.
This news outlet has yet to obtain a death certificate for 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, who was reportedly shot and killed by a semi-automatic rifle at or around the time her son was killed. Accordingly, the official cause of her death – as well as information regarding the disposition of her remains – is not immediately clear.
This brutal double homicide – which took place on the family’s 1,700-acre hunting property just off of the Salkehatchie River – has dominated headlines in the Palmetto State (and beyond) for weeks. Earlier today, in fact, the shooting and its attendant dramas occupied the cover of People magazine.
“The shocking slayings of a mother and son from a prominent South Carolina family have become a national whodunit, with theories abounding about why they were killed on their estate,” reporter KC Baker noted for the national magazine.
Two months after the shootings, no one has been apprehended in connection with the murders – nor have any suspects (or suspect vehicles) been identified. The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has offered only limited information as to the status of its investigation – with its leaders working overtime to plug leaks.
SLED declined to elaborate on the information contained in Paul Murdaugh’s death certificate.
“The death certificate speaks for itself,” an agency spokesperson told me Friday afternoon.
The bodies of both Murdaughs were discovered by family patriarch R. Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh at around 10:00 p.m. EDT on the evening of June 7, 2021 – as documented by a dramatic 9-1-1 call which was exclusively reported on by this news outlet last month.
Alex Murdaugh has been named by sources as a person of interest in connection with the investigation – however, I noted at the time this was not all that surprising given that he is the one who discovered the bodies (and given his status as husband and father of the two victims).
Sources close to Murdaugh have repeatedly told me he is “not a suspect” in connection with the ongoing investigation and had been “cooperating fully” with SLED. They also say he has provided law enforcement officers with an “ironclad alibi.”
The Murdaughs are one of the most influential families in South Carolina – especially in the Palmetto Lowcountry. Two members of the family currently work as attorneys for a powerful regional law firm and three generations of Murdaughs served as solicitor (or district attorney) for a five-county region from 1920-2007.
As a result, the family wields tremendous power over police, prosecutors, politicians and judges in this five-county region. This influence has already created prosecutorial problems in this case – while Murdaugh family members are reportedly the focus of an ongoing statewide grand jury investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice linked to the 2019 boat crash involving Paul Murdaugh.
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 St. Louis Browns’ lid pictured above).
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