A Facebook post about the Murdaugh Murders spread like wildfire Thursday afternoon.
The Carolina Crimes Podcast claimed in the post that “3 vehicles have been found buried and were unearthed on the Murdaugh Property. One is related to Stephen Smith, one is related to a cold case from the 1970’s, the third is unknown.”
However, sources familiar with the status of the ongoing investigation of the Murdaugh Murders told us the claim is inaccurate.
“There is no truth to the claim,” one of these sources told us.
On Thursday evening, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) officials confirmed that the rumor was not true.
“The rumor referencing vehicles being unearthed on property owned by the Murdaughs is unfounded,”SLED spokesperson Tommy Crosby told FITSNews. “SLED has inquired with local lowcountry law enforcement and has found no credibility to the rumors currently circulating online.”
Soon after FITSNews posted about the claim being false, Carolina Crimes Podcast walked back its reporting (see below).The post was then deleted.
The bodies of both Murdaughs were discovered by Paul’s father and Maggie’s husband 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 (click below to listen).
Just a few minutes after the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene, deputies contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). SLED soon took over the case due to its complexity and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office having a conflict of interest in the case.
Last week, FITSNews obtained Paul Murdaugh’s death certificate, which confirmed Paul Murdaugh was killed by two shotgun blasts to the head and chest.
Paul’s death certificate, completed by Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey, said the 22-year-old was cremated.
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.
While law enforcement has released little information about its investigation – and has actively sought to plug leaks of information – here is what we know so far:
- Multiple guns were seized from the property on the night of the murders. However, considering the crime scene was a hunting lodge, this is not surprising, according to our sources.
- Law enforcement impounded a 2021 Chevy Suburban registered to the Murdaugh law firm from the scene.
- Deputies found shell casings at the scene, according to the report.
- SLED agents requested that Colleton Country Sheriff’s deputies search the area near the crime scene for video surveillance systems on the morning after the murders.
- On June 16, SLED agents were seen collecting evidence in a swampy area near the Salkehatchie River, approximately two miles south of Moselle.
- Maggie Murdaugh‘s cell phone was found along a rural South Carolina road just outside of the family’s 1,700-acre hunting lodge the day after the murder, according to sources close to the investigation.
No arrests have been made in the double homicide.
More than two weeks after the murders, a public relations firm hired by the Murdaugh family released a statement announcing a $100,000 reward to anyone providing tips that lead to arrests by law enforcement.
The statement said that Alex and Buster Murdaugh were the ones offering the reward.
“Now is the time to bring justice for Maggie and Paul,” Alex Murdaugh said in a statement. “Buster and I, along with Maggie’s mother, father, and our entire family, ask that anyone with helpful information call the SLED tip hotline (803- 896- 2605).”
(Click to Listen)
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Since the reward was offered in late June, the Murdaugh family has not made any public statements about the murders.
Alex Murdaugh was identified by sources close to the investigation very early on as a “person of interest” in connection with their inquiries, although he reportedly provided police with an “ironclad” alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the killings, FITSNews founding editor Will Folks reported.
Meanwhile, fourteenth circuit solicitor Duffie Stone has still not recused himself and his office from this high-profile investigation — despite having numerous indisputable conflicts of interest in connection with this case. In 2019, Stone cited these conflicts in recusing himself from investigating the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. In fact, he announced his recusal before Beach’s body had even been recovered.
More concerning, Folks has reported that Stone has consistently attempted to steer investigators away from any theory that might implicate members of the Murdaugh family. Also, in the days following the murders, Stone’s investigators were caught on camera chatting with a Murdaugh family member at the crime scene — which appears to be a hugely controversial breach of prosecutorial ethics and etiquette.
Nearly two months after the murders, Stone has still not given the public a clear explanation as to why he remains involved with the case.
This story will be updated.
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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