‘Cracked Her Head’: 911 Call Sheds New Light on Murdaugh Nanny Death

·5 min read
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Nearly four years after 57-year-old nanny Gloria Satterfield died from injuries sustained at Alex Murdaugh’s property, officials have released the 911 call of the incident that has since yielded financial criminal charges against the disgraced South Carolina lawyer.

“She’s cracked her head and there’s blood on the concrete and she’s bleeding out of her left ear,” a man is heard saying in the Feb. 2, 2018 call, before snapping at the emergency dispatcher trying to assess the situation. “Ma’am, can you stop asking so many questions.”

Satterfield, who was Alex Murdaugh’s housekeeper for decades, eventually died at Trinity Medical Center on Feb. 26, 2018. Her death is now at the center of criminal charges laid out against Alex Murdaugh, as prosecutors allege the scion funneled millions of dollars meant for Satterfield’s sons in a wrongful death lawsuit for his own enrichment.

Murdaugh has not been charged with any crimes—nor even named as a person of interest—in connection with Satterfield’s death itself. However, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced an investigation into her death in September at the request of a local coroner, who said there were “inconsistencies” surrounding Satterfield’s death—and noted that no autopsy was ever performed.

Eric Bland, an attorney for the Satterfield family, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that the approximately six-minute call features Alex Murdaugh’s late son Paul and wife Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, who were both murdered at their home in June. That brazen attack helped launch the once-untouchable family into the national spotlight.

“We do not read anything into it other than the accident happened the way that Alex described it to the family,” Bland said. “Maggie seemed genuine in her concerns for Gloria. Both Maggie and Paul were short with the 911 operator who was doing her job, but that could have been based on their concern for Gloria.”

SLED declined to confirm the identities of the participants in the call, though a dispatcher on the call and the official report of the call both refer to a “Maggie.”

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The Daily Beast · February 2, 2018 Colleton Co. 911 Call.WAV

Bland added that his clients were “very sad” to have to listen to the tape of the call made around 9:24 a.m. from Murdaugh’s Moselle Road home that provides more details in the mysterious incident.

“Just sad stuff,” Bland added.

In the call, Maggie is heard calmly telling an emergency dispatch that Satterfield fell “going up” the eight steps at the house and was in need of medical help.

“My housekeeper has fallen, and her head is bleeding. I cannot get her up,” she added, stating that “she’s not unconscious. She’s just mumbling.”

The woman then seems to get more irritated with the questions as the operator continues, suddenly repeating, “She’s on the ground. She’s on the ground. She’s on the ground.”

The male voice then jumps on the call, noting that he does not know if Satterfield has previously had a stroke. He adds that he was holding the housekeeper up at one point, but “she told me to turn her loose… and she fell back over.”

Neither Alex nor Paul Murdaugh is identified by name in the call.

A Colleton County computer-aided dispatch report obtained by The Daily Beast refers to Satterfield as an “elderly female” who “fell while walking up 8 brick steps.” The report notes that authorities arrived at the Murdaugh home around 9:41 a.m, when Satterfield was “semi-conscious” and “breathing.”

About 11 minutes later, Satterfield was en route to the hospital, where she died days later from a stroke and cardiac arrest. Notably, Satterfield’s death was not reported to the Hampton County Coroner officer at the time in 2018—and an autopsy was never performed.

“On the death certificate, the manner of death was ruled ‘Natural’, which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident,” Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper said in a September letter to SLED asking for an investigation. “In light of these inconsistencies noted above, I feel that it is prudent to pursue an investigation into Gloria Satterfield’s death.”

Prosecutors allege that after Satterfield’s death, Alex Murdaugh coordinated with the housekeeper’s family “to sue himself in order to seek an insurance settlement.” But even though Satterfield’s two sons were set to receive a chunk of the $4.3 million settlement, they did not receive a dime of the money after Murdaugh allegedly negotiated in secret and ultimately pocketed the cash for his “own use.”

Last month, Murdaugh was charged with a slew of crimes in connection with the Satterfield settlement. The charges came less than a month after Murdaugh was charged in a doomed plot to kill himself so his surviving son, Buster, could collect a $10 million insurance payout of his own. While Murdaugh has not formally pleaded in any of the criminal cases against him, prosecutors stated in an affidavit that Murdaugh has admitted his role in the insurance scheme.

That elaborate scheme also included the patriarch’s alleged drug dealer and came just three months after Murdaugh’s wife and son were found murdered outside their Hampton County estate. At the time, Paul was facing charges for a 2019 boat crash that killed a teenage girl.

Murdaugh’s legal team has previously said the disgraced lawyer is a person of interest in his family’s murder—but authorities have not provided any official updates in their investigation.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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