Smith’s body was discovered on the railroad tracks near Ridgeville, S.C. on August 11, 2018.
How did he get there? What happened to him? Who was responsible? And why have they not been held accountable?
The night before Smith was found dead, he went to a party with people he believed to be his friends. Yet, when the investigation began nine days later, those friends provided only inconsistent accounts of the evening’s events.
Our team is working hard to identify and explore the missing elements of this unsolved crime – and find out why the state’s investigation failed to turn up so much significant information. At the same time, we delve into key evidence that seems to have gone unnoticed until now – despite it being readily available to local law enforcement and agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) at the time.
SLED special agent David Owen – whom FITSNews readers will recall from Alex Murdaugh‘s double homicide investigation and trial – plays a central role in this episode as the state’s lead investigator on this case. His report provides the roadmap for our narrative, which follows its entries in chronological order in an effort to make sense of the investigation – while holding the investigators accountable.
Why did Owen – who seemed convinced throughout the inquiry that DJ was responsible for putting himself in the path of a train – refer to Norfolk Southern as “culpable” in a search warrant seeking evidence about the trains that ran that night, the video they captureand the crews onboard?
Our latest FITSFiles – part three of DJ’s story – explores what happened when the railroad failed to provide the information requested by investigators – and when investigators appear to have overlooked some key details in the evidence that was provided. Also, why did law enforcement wait weeks – and in some cases months – to conduct key interviews with those who were with DJ at the time he disappeared?
The answers we have uncovered will redefine the parameters of this case – pointing to a pattern of corruption that appears to be business as usual for railroad companies when they are faced with accidents like this.
In conjunction with our latest episode, we are uploading original files related to the investigation.
As noted in the podcast, we want you to participate in the conversation - to be a part of the resolution. Let us know what you think happened! No one should be shy about sharing their perspectives, observations and conclusions as we continue to seek the truth on behalf of DJ and his family - and other victims of unsolved crimes.
As always, the FITSNews team is letting the story guide our investigation, sharing what we uncover as best we can based on the available evidence. No egos, no agendas … just the story. And an ongoing search for truth.
FITSFiles is written, produced and hosted by our team of dedicated journalists including this reporter, research director Jenn Wood, special projects director Dylan Nolan and founding editor Will Folks. New episodes drop every Wednesday morning. Be sure to like and subscribe to FITSFiles on your podcast platform of choice (including Apple, Spotify, Google and others) so you won’t miss a single episode.
THE FILES ...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...
Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher, and author whose investigative work can be found in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world – most recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde and a German documentary for ProSieben. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.
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