Murdaugh Murder Mystery

A timeline of events surrounding the prominent Murdaugh family.


For background, the Murdaugh family consists of Alex, 53, Maggie (now deceased), 52, Buster, 26, and Paul (now deceased), 22. The history behind this family will be pivotal to understanding the facts of the Murdaugh case. From 1920 to 2006, three generations of the Murdaugh family, including Alex, served as solicitors in Hampton County, South Carolina. A solicitor is an elected official similar to district attorney, and this position is considered one of the most powerful positions in the South Carolina justice system, mostly because of significant ties to law enforcement.

In addition, Alex Murdaugh, with partners Peters, Parkers, Eltzroth, and Detrick, owns one of the most prominent law firms in the state of South Carolina. Although the Murdaugh family has clearly been successful in Hampton County, this county itself is extremely poor and has a depleting population and economy.



To understand how the Murdaughs became so notorious, we first must go back to 2015. Although none of the members of the Murdaugh family were ever named a suspect in this case, it is the first of many mysterious deaths in the Murdaugh case.

On a summer night in 2015, Stephen Smith, a 19 year old nursing student, ran out of gas on Sandy Run Road, a remote and lightly travelled country road in Hampton County, South Carolina. Stephen, who was sober, then decided to walk the rest of the way home, but sadly, he was found dead only a few hours later, just before 4am.

Stephen’s injuries were incredibly horrific and extensive. He had a 7 inch gash on forehead, as well as dislocated shoulder. It is important to note that Stephen had no bodily injuries. When officials arrived, they found virtually no evidence at the scene.

After an examination by a pathologist, the death of Stephen Smith was ruled as a hit and run, even though there was no evidence to prove this. There were no tire marks, no skid marks on the road,  and Stephen’s loosely tied shoes were still on his feet. Something was not adding up. Many officials assigned to this case, including the coroner, did not believe Stephen’s death was a hit and run. After a little over a year of investigating, Stephen’s case went cold.

So how does this case connect to the Murdaughs? Just after Stephen’s death, rumors swirled around Hampton County that the Murdaughs were involved. Specifically, it was suspected that Buster Murdaugh and Stephen may have been in an intimate relationship.

On June 22, 2021, South Carolina Law Enforcement officially reopened the investigation into Stephen Smith’s death. This was based on information obtained from the June 7 killings of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.



Three years after Stephen’s death, Gloria Satterfield, a household employee at the Murdaugh family home, sustained an injury at the Murdaugh Estate. She was then sent to Trident Medical Center, where the 57 year old later died on February 26. According to a Petition for Approval of a Wrongful Death Settlement in the Court of Common Pleas in Hampton County, SC, Satterfield died as a “result of injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident”. Interestingly enough, the defendant of this case was Richard Murdaugh.

There are many elements to this case that simply do not make sense. First, Satterfield’s death was never reported to the coroner, and therefore an autopsy was never performed to confirm the true cause of death. Also, it is unknown where exactly Gloria fell at the Murdaugh Estate. A settlement never reached her sons and was deposited in a fake account established by Alex Murdaugh.

On September 15, 2021, prosecutors requested for an autopsy to be performed on Satterfield’s body due to the inconsistencies surrounding the handling of Satterfield’s death. At this time, police have released very little updates on the nature of Gloria’s death.



The case that has really put the Murdaugh case in the spotlight is the death of 19 year old Mallory Beach. On the night of February 24, 2019, Paul Murdaugh and a group of friends, which included Mallory and her boyfriend Anthony, decided to go to a party, and then drive Alex Murdaugh’s boat back to the Murdaugh family lake house. The boat is a 17 foot Sea Hunt with no working lights.

According to Paul’s friends, Paul was extremely intoxicated while driving the boat back to the lake house. At around 2am, just outside of Paris Island in Beaufort County, Paul hits a piling in the water, and Mallory and Anthony are flung into the dark water behind the boat. A few minutes later, only Anthony resurfaces.

Mallory’s body is found a week later, and her cause of death is drowning and blunt force trauma to the head.

Many believe that the investigation into Mallory’s death was not handled properly by authorities, resulting in an obstruction of justice. At the crime scene, Paul was not arrested, or even handcuffed, even though it was known at the time that he was the driver of the boat. In addition, Paul was never administered a field sobriety test.

At the time of Paul’s death on June 7, 2021, he was facing three felony charges, including felony boating under the influence resulting in death.



On June 7, Maggie and Paul were killed by multiple gunshot wounds at the Murdaugh hunting lodge, which is about 60 miles west of Charleston, South Carolina. Their bodies were discovered by Alex Murdaugh.

Paul was killed by two shotgun blasts to the head and chest, while Maggie was killed by a semiautomatic rifle. The fact that two different guns were used during the same crime is extremely unusual and rare.

At first, Alex Murdaugh was named a person of interest, in this case. But, as state officials described, he has an “iron clad alibi,” because at the time of the murders he was taking his father, Randolph Murdaugh, to the hospital.

During this same time, Paul was receiving threats concerning the Mallory Beach boat accident. But, the family never took these threats seriously.


Three months later, on September 4, Alex Murdaugh is shot in the head, while he is changing his car tire on the side of a road. Lucky for him, he survives and is able to call 911.

Curtis Smith (pictured to the left) is later arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Alex Murdaugh. But, state officials claim that Murdaugh provided Smith with a firearm and asked Smith to shoot him in the head. Supposedly, this was to allow for Buster Murdaugh, the last remaining member of the once powerful family, to collect life insurance benefits of over 10 million dollars. This was the day after Alex Murdaugh was confronted by his law partners about missing money in the millions – he was released from the firm.

As a way to explain these actions, Murdaugh family lawyers have announced that due to the deaths of both his wife and son, Alex Murdaugh has recently developed an opioid addiction. This addiction to drugs therefore explains his attempted suicide attempt.


There are numerous conspiracies surrounding this mysterious case, and only time will tell what truly theories will be proven correct.



Murdaugh Murders Podcast by Mandy Matney