As shock waves continue through South Carolina from the news that two members of the Murdaughs, a powerhouse legal family in the Palmetto state, were found shot to death on June 7, investigators are pursuing all leads, and the state is considering the ramifications of dropping charges from a previous criminal investigation.
The Lowcountry’s rural Colleton County, where the murders occurred, has gained national attention as people wonder who killed 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, who was charged in the 2019 boat crash that killed a young woman, and his mother Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and why?
As of Saturday morning, no suspects or arrests in the case had been publicly announced. Law enforcement has stayed tightlipped about other details.
Here’s a timeline breakdown of what’s happened since the double homicide:
Monday, June 7
Between 9 and 9:30 p.m.: Paul Murdaugh and his mother Maggie die from gunshot wounds on their property, the “Moselle” hunting lodge, in Colleton County, according to the county coroner.
Soon after 10 p.m.: The S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) responded to the scene to lead the double homicide investigation per request of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.
During the initial investigation: Legal sources say Alex Murdaugh, Paul’s father and Maggie’s husband, discovered the bodies. He told authorities he was not home at the time of the shootings, the sources said.
Tuesday, June 8
Between 6:45 a.m. and 8 a.m.: Multiple news outlets report S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a double homicide at “Moselle,” a well-known hunting lodge in Colleton County owned by the Murdaugh family. Early on, sources confirmed the deceased were related to the Murdaugh family but would not provided exact identities.
9:20 a.m.: SLED spokesperson Tommy Crosby says based on the evidence, they do not believe there is a danger to the public.
Throughout the morning: News continues to spread of the murders as the Hampton community quietly grapples with what happened.
11:31 a.m. - The Murdaugh’s law firm, PMPED, releases a statement about the deaths on its Facebook page. This is the first on-record confirmation identifying the victims as Paul and Maggie.
1:17 p.m.: At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh’s felony charges were being prosecuted by the S.C. Attorney General’s office. A spokesperson with the office says: “We obviously cannot proceed with the prosecution, so once we have a death certificate or other acceptable proof, we’ll officially dismiss the charges.”
3:45 p.m. - The family of Mallory Beach, who died in the 2019 boat crash, releases a statement through their lawyer, Mark Tinsley.
It reads: “The Beach family extends its deepest and warmest sympathies to the Murdaugh family during this terrible time. Having suffered the devastating loss of their own daughter, the family prays that the Murdaughs can find some level of peace from this tragic loss. They would like the family and the community to know that their thoughts and continued prayers are with the Murdaughs. It is their most sincere hope that someone will come forward and cooperate with authorities so that the perpetrator of these senseless crimes can be brought to justice.”
Wednesday, June 9
10 a.m.: Colleton County Sheriff’s Office releases the initial police report from the double homicide. It’s one sentence long and refers to a supplemental report that the department has declined to provide. Under South Carolina law, initial police reports must be made publicly available within 14 days of the incident, but supplemental reports do not. The Sheriff’s Office has also declined to release 911 recordings from the night of the shooting.
2:50 p.m.: The state’s top law enforcement officer, SLED Chief Mark Keel, tells The Island Packet: “We are pursuing all leads and the investigation is continuing.”
Thursday, June 10
During the day: Autopsies performed on Paul and Maggie at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Full autopsy reports typically take six to eight weeks to complete.
3:10 p.m.: Despite the three felony charges against Paul Murdaugh being dismissed because of his death, the criminal investigation into the 2019 Beaufort County boat crash will remain active, S.C. Attorney General Office spokesperson Robert Kittle told The Island Packet.
4:40 p.m.: Sources familiar with the investigation confirm that one avenue investigators are pursuing is the likelihood that Paul Murdaugh was targeted, while his mother was killed because she was there by happenstance. Paul was shot in the head and upper body with a shotgun, while Maggie Murdaugh was killed with what appears to be an assault rifle, the sources say.
6 p.m.: Hampton County coroner confirms Randolph Murdaugh III, the former state solicitor and patriarch of the prominent Murdaugh family, dies days after the double homicide. Sources say he was ill at the time of his death.
Delayed: A hearing set for the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Renee Beach on behalf of her daughter Mallory Beach, who died in the 2019 boat crash in which Paul Murdaugh was charged, was delayed because of the double homicide. Members of the Murdaugh family, not including Paul and Maggie, and Parkers 55 are defendants in the civil case. The lawsuit was first filed in Hampton County in March 2019 and is likely to go to trial.
Friday, June 11
Noon: Hundreds of people attend a celebration of life for Paul and Maggie Murdaugh at the Hampton Cemetery on Holly Street. One family member described the two as “well lived and well loved” before a rainstorm swiftly ended the service.
Saturday, June 12
11 a.m. - PMPED law firm announces funeral services for Randolph Murdaugh III will be held at the Hampton Cemetery at 2 p.m. Sunday, with visitation to follow at the Almeda.