Family of teen killed in unsolved hit-and-run near Murdaugh estate is raising money for an independent autopsy
Family of teen killed in an unsolved 2015 hit-and-run near Murdaugh estate raises money for autopsy.
Stephen Smith was 19 when he was found dead on a road near the Murdaugh residence.
No one has been arrested in connection to the case but an investigation is ongoing.
The family of Stephen Smith, a teen who died in a hit-and-run near the Murdaugh family's South Carolina estate in 2015, is raising money for an exhumation and independent autopsy.
The GoFundMe has far exceeded its initial $15,000 goal, raising more than $50,000 so far. Interest in Smith's case was renewed after a judge sentenced Alex Murdaugh, the prominent South Carolina attorney, to life in prison for the 2021 murder of his wife and son.
"Our family is so very grateful to all of you who came together to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen. I could not have imagined when we began this fundraiser that it would take off the way that it did," Sandy Smith, Stephen's mother, wrote in an updated post on the fundraising site on Thursday. "Thank you for not allowing Stephen's story to be swept under a rug."
According to the fundraiser, the family is seeking an "unbiased look" at Smith's body and "an accurate determination of his cause of death based on facts." The family has long questioned the circumstances of Smith's death.
Smith was discovered dead in the middle of the road in the summer of 2015. He was just 19-years old. Law enforcement said at the time that they believed it was a hit and run. His body was located about 15 miles away from the Murdaugh residence, however, prompting speculation that there was a link between the teen's death and the controversial Murdaugh family. Smith's family attorney later doubted such a connection, as the investigation focused on other suspects. But authorities never charged anyone in the case.
South Carolina law enforcement reopened the case in 2021, citing new information surfaced during the Murdaugh investigation. Officials recently told WYFF, a local news outlet in Greensville, South Carolina, that the investigation is ongoing and that they had "made progress."
Earlier this month, the son of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family's former maid — who died in an alleged "trip and fall" at the family's home in 2018 — also called for the exhumation of his mother's body to "see if there's any foul play."
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