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State agents investigating Murdaugh deaths contact feds on ‘other potential crimes’

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The State Law Enforcement Division confirmed Thursday it has contacted federal authorities as it investigates the killings of two members of a prominent Lowcountry family.

SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby said that the agency’s initial priority was in finding the killer of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son, Paul, 22, whose bodies were found on the family’s Islandton property in rural Colleton County on June 7.

While investigating the double killing, SLED agents “uncovered other potential crimes that warrant further investigation,” SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby said Thursday.

SLED Chief Mark Keel released the following statement:

SLED agents continue to work diligently to bring justice to all victims in these cases. As I have previously stated, our agents remain committed to following the facts no matter where they lead us. I have been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. From very early on in this investigation SLED has utilized federal resources as needed. We will continue to call upon our federal partners as their assistance is needed to successfully investigate and prosecute specific aspects of these cases.

SLED has not specified the type of potential crimes investigators believe they may have uncovered.

FBI spokesman Kevin Wheeler said the FBI assisted local and state law enforcement officers during the initial murder investigation of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

“We cannot provide any comments that would confirm or deny the existence of an investigation of subsequent matters,” he said.

SPECIAL SECTION: Murdaugh Death Investigation

Attorney Alex Murdaugh discovered the bodies of his wife and son at the family’s property on June 7. The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene that night. Deputies called in SLED, whose investigators took over the investigation at that point.

The Murdaughs were both shot multiple times, investigators confirmed.

The family has strong connections to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which serves Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties.

Members of the Murdaugh family ran the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for about 87 years. When that position became an elected position in 1920, Randolph Murdaugh Sr., Alex Murdaugh’s great grandfather, became the first man elected to the role. He served until he died in a train accident in 1940. His son, Randolph Murdaugh Jr., took over the position after his father’s death and served until his retirement in 1987.

His son, Randolph Murdaugh III, the father of Alex Murdaugh, became solicitor and served until 2006 when he left to focus on his private law practice. He died of cancer just days after Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were killed.

Alex Murdaugh was shot along a Hampton County road on Sept. 4.

He announced on the following Monday that he would resign from the firm his family started after being accused of misappropriating funds and enter rehab for substance abuse.

Attorney Alex Murdaugh enters a Hampton County courtroom on Sept. 16 for his bond hearing on...
Attorney Alex Murdaugh enters a Hampton County courtroom on Sept. 16 for his bond hearing on three charges related to an alleged insurance scheme.(WTOC)

Murdaugh then surrendered to authorities in Hampton County on Sept. 16 on charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.

Investigators said Murdaugh, 53, provided Curtis Edward Smith with a gun and directed him to fatally shoot him in the head so that Murdaugh’s surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

Anyone who has information in the Murdaugh killings can contact the SLED 24-hour dedicated tip line at 803-896-2605, Crosby said.

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