Latest updates Tuesday: Hope for Stephen Smith’s mom; 3 weeks since Murdaugh murders

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The mother of the 19-year-old whose death investigation in 2015 has been reopened because of information obtained in the June 7 Murdaugh double murder probe has always said her son was murdered and that his body was placed in the road where officers found it.

At the time, no one seemed to listen to her.

Now, six years later, Sandy Smith feels validated. A former investigator in the 2015 case has said publicly that he believes Stephen Smith was murdered.

Sandy Smith also told a national news outlet that she thinks something similar may have happened when Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his mother Maggie, 52, were killed outside their home in Colleton County more than three weeks ago.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been made in either investigation, and no suspects had been named.

‘HE’S ON MY SIDE’

4:30 a.m. Tuesday: Sandy Smith, mother of Stephen Smith, who was found dead on a rural Hampton County road in 2015, is feeling vindicated, finally, for her instincts.

For six years, Smith has said her son was murdered and that it was staged to look like a hit-and-run.

Now, in the days since she learned that the S.C. Law Enforcement Division was opening a new investigation into her son’s death because of information found in the Murdaugh double homicide case, a former S.C. Highway Patrol investigator in the case is saying he believes the same thing.

Sandy Smith holds a photo of her late son, 19-year-old Stephen Smith, on June 24, 2021. “There will never be another one like him,” she said. 
Sandy Smith holds a photo of her late son, 19-year-old Stephen Smith, on June 24, 2021. “There will never be another one like him,” she said.

“He’s on my side,” Sandy Smith told The Island Packet in a recent interview on her front porch. “Now I know I have people behind me since (the investigator) came forward. Now everybody knows I was not lying. It wasn’t just me seeing this was staged.”

- Lana Ferguson, Kacen Bayless

A wooden memorial on the side of Sandy Run Road, where 19-year-old Stephen Smith was found dead in 2015.
A wooden memorial on the side of Sandy Run Road, where 19-year-old Stephen Smith was found dead in 2015.

SMITH’S MOTHER QUESTIONS MURDAUGH INVESTIGATION

Saturday, 7:05 p.m: Sandy Smith, Stephen Smith’s mother, tells the New York Post she’s suspicious of how the Murdaugh double homicide investigation is being handled.

“I think they’re setting up a fake crime scene just like they did with my son,” Smith told the outlet. “I’m not buying it. I seen how they handled what happened to Stephen.”

Local and state police have remained mostly mum about the Murdaugh investigation, releasing only one brief with a few details, such as that Alex Murdaugh, Paul’s father and Maggie’s husband, found the bodies and called 911.

A picture of Stephen Smith, who was killed in July 8, 2015, on his mother’s Facebook account. The investigation into his death was reopened on June 22, 2021 after police were looking into the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.
A picture of Stephen Smith, who was killed in July 8, 2015, on his mother’s Facebook account. The investigation into his death was reopened on June 22, 2021 after police were looking into the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.

The family, too, remained quiet at the beginning of the investigation, but Alex Murdaugh’s brothers, Randy Murdaugh IV and John Marvin Murdaugh, spoke with Good Morning America, an interview that aired June 17. Alex Murdaugh and his older son, Buster, also released a statement through a PR firm Friday announcing a $100,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction in the case.

Other national news outlets, including People, Fox News and the Washington Post, have continued to follow the story.

- Lana Ferguson

Follow our previous coverage here.

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