A rape kit was ordered hours after a 19-year-old man’s body was found in 2015 near the Murdaugh family’s hunting estate in Hampton, South Carolina, NewsNation reports.
Stephen Smith’s death was initially believed to be the result of a hit-and-run collision, but South Carolina authorities now believe his death was no accident, and are now giving the case a new look, the report said.
Former South Carolina Highway Patrol Supervisor Michael Duncan said Wednesday during an appearance on NewsNation with host Ashleigh Banfield that troopers were never given the chance to present the findings of their investigation.
Smith’s wounds were inconsistent with injuries that typically occur in a traffic collision, Duncan told Banfield.
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“Extremely disappointed. … I’ve never seen wounds like this that come from a car … In totality, it did not make sense why they were calling it a traffic accident,” Duncan said.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced that the agency would take a fresh look at the Smith case based "upon information gathered during the course of the double-murder investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh,” The Daily Beast reports.
A South Carolina jury earlier this month convicted Alex Murdaugh for murder in connection with the 2021 shooting deaths of his wife Maggie and their son Paul, and Judge Clifton Newman sentenced disgraced South Carolina lawyer to two consecutive life terms.
The lawyers representing the Smith family said authorities told them they waited until after the conclusion of Alex Murdaugh’s trial before announcing updated information on the Smith case “out of concern that witnesses would not be as forthcoming under the Murdaugh sphere of influence.”
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