The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has opened a criminal investigation into the death of former Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield — who died suspiciously in 2018 following an alleged “trip-and -fall” incident while working at the Murdaugh’s home.
SLED officials said that they opened the investigation of Satterfield’s death “based upon a request from the Hampton County Coroner earlier today, as well as information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh.”
On Wednesday, Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper requested that SLED — the same agency investigating the double homicide of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh — open an investigation into Gloria Satterfield’s death due to “inconsistencies” surrounding her death.
Satterfield’s death was not reported to the coroner at the time — nor did officials perform an autopsy, according to a letter Topper sent SLED.
On Satterfield’s death certificate, the manner of death said “natural,” which Topper said was not consistent to her with her injuries from a trip-and-fall accident.
SLED is also investigating the handling of Satterfield’s estate.
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Satterfield, 57, died on February 26, 2018 after she allegedly tripped on the steps at Murdaugh’s former home in Hampton, South Carolina. Gloria’s sons were told that the dogs caused her to trip and she suffered a traumatic brain injury.
The request to investigate her death was made on the same day that her sons filed a lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh, his friend and their former attorney in the settlement Cory Fleming and others.
The lawsuit alleges civil conspiracy and stolen funds in the 2018 settlement of her death.
Satterfield’s sons claimed they received no money from the $500,000 settlement their attorney Cory Fleming — a well-known friend of the Murdaugh family — reached with Alex Murdaugh three years ago.
However, FITSNews sources said the actual payouts related to Satterfield’s death may have been much larger.
“The settlement amount may have been hidden from them — the real amount,” an attorney close to settlement told FITSNews.
Alex Murdaugh was the only defendant in that settlement.
Fleming’s law firm — where Alex Murdaugh previously worked –—received $177,500 of the total sum from Murdaugh’s insurance company in the settlement.
The lawsuit accused Fleming of a number of ethical violations including not communicating with his clients and not going after Alex Murdaugh’s personal assets.
In her obituary, it was stated that Satterfield loved Alex and Maggie Murdaugh as her own family.
However, the Murdaughs — who were known to be a very wealthy and prominent family — did not pay for Gloria Satterfield’s funeral.
At Gloria’s funeral, Alex Murdaugh told Satterfield’s family “he was going to take care of the boys because he was going to ‘sue myself’ for her death,” the lawsuit said.
Alex Murdaugh personally introduced Gloria’s sons to his “good friend” Fleming and encouraged them to hire him “so that Fleming could assist the sons in filing legal claims against Murdaugh for the wrongful death of their mother,” the lawsuit stated.
Kim Brant, a former Hampton resident who knew Satterfield, said Gloria was a kind woman and a hard worker who struggled financially while working for the Murdaughs.
“The stories of her struggles were endless,” Brant said of Satterfield.
Brant told FITSNews Satterfield was homeless on multiple occasions while the housekeeper for the Murdaugh family — who owned multiple homes.
“She, her spouse and child lived in the local motel for a time,” she said. “Bless her heart, but she was always short on funds.”
A source who was close to the Murdaugh family told FITSNews that they called Gloria “GoGo” and said Paul loved her “because she was another mother figure to him.”
Click below for the full copy of Bland’s latest motion (which includes evidence)…2021-10-05-Motion-for-Sanctions-with-Exhibits
The criminal investigation into Gloria Satterfield’s death is the third investigation into a death connected to the Murdaugh family.
Earlier this summer, SLED opened an investigation into the death of Stephen Smith — a Hampton County teenager whose death has been unsolved since 2015.
The Murdaugh family is also being investigated for alleged obstruction of justice related to a 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach, according to FITSNews sources.
In February 2019, a “highly intoxicated” Paul Murdaugh was allegedly driving his father’s boat when Mallory Beach was killed in a horrific crash near Parris Island, South Carolina. At the time of Paul Murdaugh’s death, he faced three felony boating under the influence charges in that crash.
The 2019 boat crash thrust the Murdaugh family into a regional spotlight. While the family was well-known in the legal and political scene of the Palmetto State, they weren’t making headlines before the fatal boat crash that killed Mallory.
A hearing in Beach’s wrongful death lawsuit was scheduled for June 10, 2021 — three days after the double homicide.
At that hearing, a judge was supposed to rule on a number of motions in the case, including:
- Requiring Alex and Buster Murdaugh to disclose their financial records
- Moving the case from Hampton County to Beaufort County, where the crash took place.
That hearing also could have resulted in Paul and Maggie Murdaugh being added to the lawsuit, according to FITSNews sources.
Alex Murdaugh’s Suspicious Shooting
Soon after the September 4 shooting, multiple law enforcement sources told FITSNews that the story Alex Murdaugh was telling about the shooting was “very suspicious.”
Those suspicions were confirmed on Tuesday night when shocking news broke of Alex Murdaugh’s alleged attempted suicide-for-hire scheme.
To recap, 61-year-old Curtis Edward “Eddie” Smith — described by sources close to the Murdaugh family as Alex’s “personal drug dealer” — was arrested Tuesday in connection with the mysterious September 4 shooting of Alex Murdaugh on a rural Hampton county road.
Smith is facing multiple charges including assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in connection with the shooting, according to a release from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Alex Murdaugh admitted to setting up the suicide scheme so his son Buster could collect a $10 million insurance policy, according to arrest warrants from SLED.
On Wednesday morning, attorney Dick Harpootlian told the TODAY Show his client Alex Murdaugh will likely be arrested soon – but he does not believe he had anything to do with the recent murders of his wife Maggie Murdaugh and son Paul Murdaugh.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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