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tv   2020  ABC  January 14, 2022 9:01pm-11:00pm PST

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they're going to drink. they're going to party. nobody saw the tragedy coming. >> the teens were terrified from the start. >> the whole scene was chaos. >> and mallory's nowhere to be found. >> i hung up the phone and said, no, god, not my child. it hurts. >> i'm worried about finding my child and they're worried about how they're going to cover up paul driving. >> you see this upscale, wealthy, happy family, and when you look at reality, there were some real cracks in that family. >> i hope you rot in hell!
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>> he's telling them, that sob killed my girlfriend. if you had to sum up this entire saga with one sentence, it would be the fall of the house of murdaugh. >> do you think anyone in your family interfered in any way with the investigation? >> maybe he's going to get away with it. he's a murdaugh. >> the boat crash was the first domino that really fell for them. >> hampton county 911. what's your emergency? >> my wife and child shot badly. >> they got targeted. >> what's going on here? >> the young man who killed mallory beach was shot and killed. now this becomes a international murder mystery. this is supposed to be just another normal night for six friends from the small town of hampton, south carolina. they were supposed to go out on the boat around the low
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country, have a few drinks, just a little fun. > there were six people on the boat, three couples. >> these are kids who grew up together. they played together as kids. and they went out on boats all the time. >> they were all together that night because the girls wanted to do a date night. >> honestly, sounds like a very typical thing to do for south carolina teens. >> but this night was going to take a violent -- >> i could tell he was drunk because he just is a whole other person when he's drunk. >> -- deadly turn. >> i saw the bridge coming, and i screamed. >> imagine there were six of you. now you look around and somebody's missing. >> what these kids go through tears friendships apart. >> bo, you [ bleep ] smiling like it's [ bleep ] funny! >> sit down. sit down. >> my [ bleep ] girlfriend gone, bo! >> what happens on this night begins an unraveling of sorts that takes down a legal dynasty that had been powerful in these parts for more than a century. >> in the area, the murdaughs weren't above the law, they were the law.
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>> the name still brings respect or even fear to some people. >> all of these kids were very, very aware of how much power and influence that the murdaugh family had. >> i'm from south carolina and this would set off one of the most notorious saga's my home state has ever seen. >> the fbi is now involved in the murdaugh investigation. >> in the entire history of this newspaper, this is the biggest, most impactful story that we've ever covered. even as it sprawls across the low country, this is a story that engulfs hampton county people and hampton county families. >> hampton is a very small town in south carolina. it's in the low country of south carolina. palmetto trees, sweepy spanish moss everywhere.
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swampy is probably a word that you would describe the low country, but beautiful setting. >> there's an occasional church. there's an occasional farm. there's a piggly wiggly grocery store. >> it's a quiet town. everybody knows everybody, that's for sure. >> and they're all in everybody's business. tat type of small town life. >> you don't just know everyone. you know, like, everyone's grandma and their cousin. >> you do, but it's also good if something happens. you're like one big family. >> when you live in a small town, you sort of have a personal relationship with everybody. and if i could help you at some point, i would help you. >> before these murdaugh cases started happening, if you knew where hampton county was at all, you associated us with the watermelon festival. started in 1939. there used to be a seed spitting contest. the mayor of every town would get together and see who could
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spit a watermelon seed the farthest. welcome to life in the rural south, right? there's a lot of family pride here. families and generations have lived here, just like you see in the murdaugh family. >> our family is very close, like most families down here. you know, most folks have roots here usually and have family here, and we certainly did. >> we have to go back to the history of the murdaugh family. and it goes back a very long time. >> this family has been there for over a century, powerful in the legal community, elected prosecutors for three generations. >> for 85 consecutive years, some member of the murdaugh family was the solicitor. >> what we call solicitor in other states is district attorney. >> specifically, my great grandfather, my grandfather, and my father were solicitors. >> there was
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randolph murdaugh sr., then randolph buster murdaugh jr., and then randolph "randy" murdaugh iii. >> they were the big fish in the small pond. >> you're the person that the community looks to keep you safe, to prosecute the people who do wrong. and so it is a powerful position. >> not only did they have this built-in system of power. by nature, a prosecutor and a law enforcement officer, whether it be a sheriff or a police chief, have to work together. but the murdaughs took it further, and it was a social thing. they might go hunting or fishing with the jasper county sheriff. they might drink whiskey with the beaufort county sheriff. they might invite the hampton county sheriff over to the house for barbecue. >> in addition to the murdaughs history in the solicitor's office, the they also founded a prestigious civil firm more than 100 years ago. >> so no matter what you were doing in the legal field, whether it was criminal or civil, chances are you're going to bump up against a murdaugh. >> so it's into this family of
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power and privilege that paul murdaugh is born. his father alex is a prominent lawyer, his mother maggie and his older brother who's known as buster. >> that night, paul murdaugh and five of his friends decided that they were going to do a date night. >> three couples who planned on getting on board the murdaugh boat and traveling to an oyster roast, doing what people in the low country do -- we ride around in boats. >> so this was a saturday night. these three couples were going out. paul murdaugh was there with his girlfriend, morgan doughty. girlfriend, mallory beach.h his- and anthony's first cousin, connor cook, was with his girlfriend, miley altman. >> paul, who was 19 at the time, was borrowing his father, alex murdaugh's, boat for the night. and it was a 17-foot center
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console boat so it wasn't very big for six kids. >> they're going to drink, they're going to party. they're just going to have a good evening together. and nobody saw the tragedy coming. >> according to depositions, they went to parker's, which is a local gas station. >> we can see the video that night, where paul is hauling the boat and he parks at parkers and he goes in. >> when he goes in the store, he's not 21. >> he's not. he's 19. >> so do they check his i.d.? >> he handed his brother's i.d. and he hands it to the clerk. >> and as paul's leaving parkers, he actually lifts his hands, displaying his new purchase to his friends. look what we've got for our party on the boat. >> but that night on the boat, the party is going to take a turn. >> the teenagers said that it was very clear that paul murdaugh was extremely intoxicated. >> and his behavior was getting increasingly belligerent. paul was saying, this is my
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boat. nobody else is driving it. >> he was bordering on a rage. >> and that's when the boat accelerated. >> these kids were terrified. >> i mean he was being very reckless. and morgan was like, you have lives in your hands right now. you need to stop. >> the whole scene was chaos. >> 911, what's your emergency? >> we're in a boat crash. and one is missing. >> and mallory's nowhere to be found. squirmy? scratchy? family not getting clean? get charmin ultra strong. go get 'em. it just cleans better. with a diamond weave texture, your family can use less while still getting clean. goodbye itchy squirm. hello clean bottom! we all go. why not enjoy the go with charmin. at intra-cellular therapies, we're inspired by our circle. a circle that includes our researchers,
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>> february the 23rd is really the seminal event that most will agree began this unraveling of the fortunes of the murdaugh family. it was to be an afternoon of fun for these six young people. unfortunately, that was not to be this night. >> so all six of them congregate at about 6:30 to get in the boat. >> they leave and they go to the oyster roast for about five hours. >> it's a cookout of sorts, and they roast oysters and they do what's called a low country boil where they boil shrimp and sausage and potatoes. >> and they kept going back to the boat to drink. they weren't drinking in front of everyone. paul's uncle was there, too. >> and were people drinking at this event? >> some people were. >> did he look like he was really drunk at the event? >> he didn't look like that to me. >> so just after midnight, the group leaves the oyster roast and they go to downtown beaufort
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to a place called luther's. >> according to depositions, paul wants to take a shot. he's not done with the night yet. >> if you've ever been out drinking, alcohol talks to you and plans emerge in your head. some of the ladies wanted to go home, but paul, it was his boat. he was driving, and he wanted to go get a shot. there's video footage. we can see them walking on the dock. >> you can tell that the girls and anthony do not want to go, but paul and connor want to go to the bar. >> we can see in that video that they have a couple of shots, stay for about 10 minutes, and then they head back to their friends on the dock. >> paul is -- he's swaying. i mean, he clearly is intoxicated. >> mallory and anthony were sharing such sweet moments, and it's heartbreaking because you know what's about to happen to them. >> the following day, miley altman does an interview with law enforcement, and it's videotaped. >> it provides a first
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clearheaded window into the chaos and confusion about what happened that night. >> you said you noticed that paul was getting kind of drunk. >> i could tell he was drunk because he like -- he gets drunk a lot and it's just kind of like he is a whole other person when he's drunk. >> according to depositions, paul changed so much when he drank that his friends, when he started getting aggressive, they'd be like, oh, that's timmy. timmy is his alter ego when he gets drunk. >> for some reason, in paul's drunken stupor, he takes off his clothes, and he's standing there in his boxer shorts. >> so, some point on the boat ride he just took all of his clothes off? >> yeah. they say when he got drunk like that, that's what he'll do is take his clothes off, because he's angry. >> paul was just driving and doing donuts and -- we're not going anywhere. we're just doing these circles and like morgan gets mad and
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like yells at him, was like, "listen, you need to stop. i want to go home." >> his behavior was getting increasingly belligerent. >> did paul have a issue with drinking that you guys know of? >> what do you mean by that? >> drinking too much, becoming belligerent when he was drunk. >> i mean, i've seen him drink, but, no, he's -- i would categorize him as like everyone else. >> paul was saying, this is my boat. nobody else is driving it. >> and they are telling him, >> and they are telling him, let connor drive. you can't drive. >> we were just like, anything is better than paul right now because who knows what he would do. i mean, he was like riding close to sailboats that were parked and just like being very reckless. >> the testimony was mallory asked to be let off, but there comes a point where there's no place to get off, and he wouldn't stop and wouldn't let anybody else drive. >> according to depositions, paul murdaugh even had an altercation with his girlfriend. >> he would leave the wheel and run up to the front of the boat where his girlfriend was and yell and scream at her. >> he just started calling her a
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bitch and was like, you're such a whore and all this kind of stuff and was really yelling, too. and he got this close to her face. >> he slapped morgan. he spit on her and cursed her. >> when paul would step away, from the wheel, the boat would be dropped back into near neutral an idling speed. >> and at that time connor would grab the wheel and kind of make sure they were steady. >> and that is the extent of connor's operation of the boat. >> paul's behavior on the boat that night -- they said he hit his girlfriend. is that behavior that you guys were aware of? >> no. i've never seen paul do that. and i'm not saying he didn't do it that night. i don't know the answer to that. but i would be very surprised. i've never seen that happen before. >> eventually paul, he's like, y'all want to go home, we're going home. so he puts the throttle down, planes the boat out. >> and they go here where they turn into archer's creek.
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now, you can see in this picture that archer's creek is a narrow very winding waterway. >> there's no big bright search lights on this boat. one of the boys was holding a flashlight ahead of them while they were driving. >> the boat's going pretty fast at this point. mallory is on anthony's lap. >> mallory was in the back of the boat seated on a cooler that's immediately behind the console. >> gps records tell us the boat was traveling somewhere between 32 to 34 miles per hour. >> i saw the bridge coming, and i was just in shock. and then like at the last second, i screamed. >> the boat hit a dolphin head, which is three pylons that are lashed together. >> the boat hits the piling. it throws anthony and mallory into the water and mallory's nowhere to be found. >> there's a panic that starts, there's a feeling that this isn't just a little accident. this is really, really bad. >> connor had his phone still on him. so i was like, call 911. >> it's absolutely disturbing.
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you hear screaming in the background, screaming for mallory. >> mallory! >> please send someone. >> we're coming, we're coming, an okay? >> it just sounds like chaos.
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paul, what bridge is? paul, what bridge is this? >> 911, where's your emergency? hello? >> when the boat hits, it's a bad crash. everybody's kind of thrown around, and mallory beach is thrown off the boat. >> who calls 911? >> connor called 911. >> we're in a boat crash on archer's creek. >> whereabouts on archer street? >> in archer's creek, the only bridge on archer's creek. we have someone missing.
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>> at first, nobody can pinpoint exactly which bridge and which river they're talking about. >> is everybody there -- is anybody injured? >> morgan's hand is injured. she's bleeding. connor has a fracture in his jaw and a laceration where he hit the console during the impact. paul is in the water, comes out of the water. he's only wearing his boxer shorts. anthony apparently injured his shoulder. and then mallory's missing. >> please send someone. >> we're coming, we're coming, okay? >> 10-4. i'll be en route to the bridge. >> people arrive on the scene. who shows up? >> beaufort county sheriff's department shows up. port royal police department responds. parris island marshal's office responds. >> between ems, fire, and police, the first job is to find mallory. >> i got a call from my mom,
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to ask me if mallory was home with me, and i told her no. and she just said that there had been a boat accident. >> i had a phone call from mallory's mom. she was frantic. i hung up the phone and said, "no god, not my child." >> what was she like as a baby? >> um, very headstrong. she was the child that had to be near you all the time. >> what kind of things did she like? >> animals, any type. she didn't care. >> she followed me everywhere i went. she wanted to do what i did. she could be a lady when she needed to be a lady, and she could be a tomboy, so to speak. >> i lost my paddle!
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>> she loved hunting and fishing. >> she just never met a stranger. she was always a people person. >> i actually taught her for elementary school as well as middle school. very energetic, very bright. a very effervescent sort of young lady. >> at what point did she meet anthony? >> we went to church with his family, so they've actually known each other since they were very small. >> were you surprised to find out that she was dating him or that she liked him? >> i was. she wouldn't talk to me about boys. but then, i kind of put two and two together. >> she was happy with him. when she left that night, when i spoke to her before they went out, i knew she was happy. >> so, you just got in the car and headed in the direction of the crash. >> yes.
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>> this scene is chaos from the start. you've got law enforcement from several different agencies responding. >> technically, the department of natural resources, which is our wildlife law enforcement agency, has jurisdiction. >> and in south carolina, when there's a boat crash, that is dnr's investigation. >> but i think that there were ample law enforcement authorities there to begin an investigation to determine who was driving and how this accident occurred. >> we've seen the dash cam video from the beaufort county sheriff's office. there were a couple of cars on the scene, and their cameras were rolling. you don't really see a lot, but you hear a lot. >> one of the people you do see on the dash cam footage is anthony cook, mallory's boyfriend. he's crying, and he just looks devastated. and at certain points you can hear him talking to a deputy.
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>> if my girlfriend's gone, i ain't even going to be able to live with myself. >> he can still see paul walking around. >> he can. >> and what kind of a reaction does that -- >> he screams at him. >> get that [ bleep ] right there away from me. bo, you [ bleep ] smiling like it's [ bleep ] funny. >> sit down. sit down. >> my [ bleep ] girlfriend's gone, bo! you think it's [ bleep ] funny? >> sit down. sit down. >> hope you rot in [ bleep ] hell. >> anthony cook is losing his mind. he's telling them, that s.o.b. killed my girlfriend. >> and part of what anthony was so upset about that night was this idea that paul wasn't going to get in trouble. he has a conversation with this officer to that point. >> he does. he asked him, does he know who his father is? >> y'all know alex murdaugh? >> yeah, i know the name. >> that's his son.
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>> that's who was driving the boat? >> good luck. >> and he says, he's never going to go to jail. >> this crash response is further evidence of the murdaughs' connections around the five county area. >> now remember -- and think about this -- paul murdaugh's grandfather is the former solicitor in this area. and his dad alex murdaugh is a prominent lawyer, and at the time of the crash was even a volunteer prosecutor for the current solicitor. >> and according to depositions, at least three members of law enforcement on the scene that night had a connection to the murdaughs. >> there was one guy there who said he played in a golf tournament that was hosted by the murdaughs. there was one guy there who said he had been invited to the house and his wife worked at the law firm for a period of time. there's another officer there who the murdaugh law firm had gotten his mother a large settlement in a recent personal injury suit.
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>> so, we do hear paul at some point? >> you do. he asked to use the officer's phone. >> can i use your phone? >> hey, bro, i ain't got my phone on me, bro. >> you ain't got your phone on you? >> no, you dropped yours in the grass right back there. >> what's your last name, buddy? >> murdaugh. >> m-u- >> r-d-a-u-g-h. >> then the officer begins to get his personal information and paul again asked, can i use your phone? >> here, stay right here. i'm going to go get that one you dropped on the ground back there, all right? >> it sounds like two adults, which are likely officers, you can hear them say that they found paul's phone. >> we picked that up. >> you got it already? >> yep. >> you hear someone has picked up paul's phone. >> correct. >> and it's not in the evidence. >> it's not. >> there is an unusual amount of evidence that seems to be unaccounted for. paul murdaugh's clothing, his pants, his cell phone, his wallet, these are things not accounted for. >> why wasn't that submitted to
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evidence? because this is a crime scene. that's what you do in a case like this. >> a beaufort officer would later testify that he saw the cell phone but didn't collect it because he though the investigation would ultimately be turned over to the department of natural resources. he thought his agency was only there to assist. >> a deposition from a dnr officer who was on the scene indicated that he never saw paul murdaugh's cell phone, his clothes, or his wallet, but just about everyone at the scene noticed how paul was acting. >> paul is still being aggressive. paul is still acting like he's drunk. >> paul was just going on and on and on. he got into a guy -- an officer's face, and he was like, you think you're a bigger man than i am? >> paul was having this conversation with the officer? >> the police officer. >> and so you would think that that would be a signal to the
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first responders that they need to do a field sobriety test, but that isn't done. >> while the other kids have all now gone to the hospital, anthony cook is refusing to leave without his girlfriend. and mallory's parents are now there as well, desperately hoping for any news on their daughter. >> i just kept praying that they would see her on a sand bar or somewhere that she just couldn't get to us but she was safe. >> so, there are investigators there at the hospital, and they're trying to figure out what happened. >> a dnr officer says he's trying to talk to paul when in walks his father and grandfather, and they say, "look that's it, you're done." >> was the murdaugh family trying to protect paul? trying to steer the blame to somebody else? >> do you think anyone in your family interfered in any way with the investigation? (vo) america's most reliable network is going ultra! with verizon 5g ultra wideband now in many more cities so you can do more. ultra w.
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♪ that night at the hospital, paul is strapped to a gurney, because they were afraid of him being violent. >> so, they drew his blood at 4:00 a.m., two hours after the
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crash. he was more than three times over the legal limit for driving. >> so there are investigators there at the hospital, and they're trying to figure out what happened. that's their job to do. >> a dnr officer says he's trying to talk to paul when in walks his grandfather and father, and the whole thing stops. >> alex and randolph murdaugh come in. it's not just a concerned parent and a concerned grandfather, you've got two attorneys walk in. randolph was reported as saying, you're not talking to him anymore. you're talking to us. we're his attorneys, okay? >> it's understood why they would want to protect their child, but then you have to look at the fact that there was a tragedy that was involved. >> witnesses like medical personnel became concerned about alex murdaugh's movement around the treatment rooms. >> we also know from court records that alex went from room
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to room, telling these young kids to be quiet, don't talk. connor cook's testimony is particularly important. he's in a wheelchair being transferred to have his jaw examined, and alex stops him in the hallway to try to talk to him. >> alex murdaugh says, you don't have to tell anyone who was driving. we're going to take care of this. you don't have to say anyhing. and connor doesn't. >> in a legal filing, alex murdaugh has denied telling connor cook not to cooperate with law enforcement. >> although there was no indication in the investigative file that paul murdaugh was asked to perform a sobriety test -- and keep in mind his family owned the boat and he was clearly very intoxicated that night -- someone else was asked to. connor cook, but he refused. >> i think his parents began to develop that belief and concern that somehow things were off kilter here, that their son was being wrongly focused on as the
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possible operator of the boat. >> law enforcement interviews with people at the hospital that night suggest many of them thought that grandfather and father's main goal was to protect paul. >> i've never been involved in a fatality where the operator of a vehicle was under the influence, that that person didn't go to jail immediately. >> immediately? >> immediately. you or i would have probably been wearing an orange jumpsuit before daylight. >> but after he's evaluated at the hospital that night, paul murdaugh's allowed to go home with his family. >> do you think anyone in your family interfered in any way with the investigation? >> no. >> none whatsoever. >> no one -- i'll ask you both directly just so that we're clear. no one made a phone call to a law enforcement person? no one reached out to dnr or anything trying to influence? >> i can speak to that. i certainly didn't, and i know of nobody that did.
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>> i have friends in those agencies, but no, no one that i know of reached out and tried to influence it whatsoever. >> we reached out to alex murdaugh's team about the allegations that he tried to interfere in the crash investigation, but they declined to comment. do you think that their prominence in this area played a part in how this investigation was conducted? >> i think there's certainly a lot of connections the people that were involved have with the family. >> why the investigation was not done in a more professional way is something we intend to find out. whether that was a function of interference, whether it was a function of law enforcement relationship with the murdaugh family, deference to them, or something worse, i mean, is exactly what we're going to be exploring. >> we reached out to the department of natural resources and the beaufort county sheriff's office with questions regarding the handling of the investigation, but both agencies declined to comment.
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>> and now we've learned that the south carolina state law enforcement division has launched a criminal probe into whether alex murdaugh obstructed justice in the boat crash investigation. >> and so, that night i'm worried about finding my child and they're worried about how they're going to cover up paul driving. >> the search for mallory beach went on a whole week. it was huge. the community really rallied. >> did you go to the boat landing, to that area every day? >> every day. every day. >> the lead agency on the search is south carolina department of natural resources, but this is very much a multi-agency effort. >> you had dnr searching. coast guard searching. volunteers. anybody with a boat. they were putting it in the water and they were looking for mallory.
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>> we'd been getting bits and pieces of information about, they're still looking for the body. they haven't found the body. you know that the longer it's drawn out, the more likely that the results aren't going to be what you want them to be. >> i prayed every day. lord. i wanted some closure and we prayed for that closure for seven days. and on the eighth day was a sunday, and we went to church. >> we left church and decided to drive on after church towards the landing. >> and we seen these cars pull up, and i looked at this one gentleman at his shirt and it said coroner on it. >> you saw his shirt and you knew. >> oh, yeah. >> 911, where's your emergency! we're on the search team rescue. we think we found her. >> mallory's body is found a week later by two fisherman about five miles from the crash site.
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>> i know there's so many times that -- that people go missing and they never find the body. so, but it was like a closure for that. >> open arms fellowship church in hampton, south carolina, was packed with people who came to say goodbye one last time. >> there were hundreds of people at her funeral in hampton county. >> a lot of people that were coming to just support the family, to give them our condolences. >> then in the days and weeks to come, you began to see this wondering, is justice going to be served? there was talk of a whisper campaign to cover this thing up. >> were you worried that there wasn't going to be a charge for what happened? >> yes, i was worried about that. just being from the family that he's from, it would be probably a cover-up. >> you thought that from the first day. >> i did. >> it did feel to me as though it was the beginning of quite a drama.
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>> but nobody could have envisioned just how dramatic a turn this case was going to take. >> i got a call from alex. soorn soon as i answered the phone i knew something was wrong. >> hampton county 9-1-1, what is your emergency? >> this is alex murdaugh. i need the police and an ambulance immediately. please hurry. >> yes, sir. stay on the line with me, okay? i always had a connection to my grandfather... i always wanted to learn more about him. i discovered some very interesting documents on ancestry. this is the uh registration card for the draft for world war two. and this is his signature which blew me away. being able to... make my grandfather real... not just a memory... is priceless. his legacy...lives on. with clean, fresh ingredients, is priceless. panera's new chicken sausage and pepperoni flatbread is a mouthwatering explosion of yes. craft? yes! heartiness? yes!
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with chase security features, guidance and convenience, banking feels good. chase. make more of what's yours. today marks the third day since the boater went missing near parris island. >> 911, where's your emergency?
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>> we're on the search team, rescue. we think we found her. >> it took a week to find her. >> paul is not charged even after she's found. a month goes by, he's not charged. people in the community, some thought, you know, maybe he's going to get away with it. he's a murdaugh. >> within weeks of the boat crash, mallory beach's mother files a civil lawsuit against the convenience store where the alcohol was purchased and against paul murdaugh's father alex and his older brother buster. >> what was the reason for why you guys filed the civil suit? >> what motivated me was getting evidence of everything. i knew who we were up against and how things would probably disappear if we didn't act quickly. >> her life meant something. for us, she was our baby. we had to defend her honor. >> the beaches particularly thought that it's important to
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make sure that the people who enabled this to happen are held accountable. >> his brother is the one that gave him his i.d. to use to buy alcohol illegally. his dad is the one who's never made him be accountable for his actions. >> in response to mallory's mom's lawsuit, parkers, that convenience store where paul purchased alcohol, denies that it knowingly and willfully sold that alcohol to a minor. >> for their part, the murdaugh attorneys deny all wrongdoing alleged in this suit. they deny that buster knowingly gave paul his i.d., and they deny even that paul was driving the boat at the time of the crash. >> i didn't want to take sides. i just wanted justice to be served, yes. but i didn't want this tragedy to be any more devastating for our community than it already was. >> did the dynamic in the community towards paul and even towards your family, did that shift after the accident
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happened? >> people that knew paul didn't. but he was not favorably portrayed in the news. >> do you feel like some of the perception of your family has been wrong? >> yes. i see words like "dynasty" used, and "power." and i don't know exactly how people use those words, but we're just regular people. and i think this perception of power is not right. >> so you don't think your family has power? >> i don't view my family that way at all. >> you knew who they were. >> i knew who they were. >> do you feel like they're a powerful family? >> i do. >> what makes them seem powerful? >> like, above the law. like the law didn't pertain to them. >> i wanted accountability. i wanted paul to just own up to,
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yes, i was driving the boat. it was an accident. i'm sorry. >> this was a group of friends who went out on a boat. some very bad things happened. paul was sad. one of his friends was killed paul was very sad about that. >> we all doubted that there would ever be charges. but we kept covering it and kept pressuring dnr, what are you guys doing? what's taking so long? it took nearly two months, but paul murdaugh was charged with three boating under the influence felony counts on april 18th, which was mallory beach's birthday. if convicted, he was facing up to 25 years in prison. >> as powerful as the murdaughs are, they could not prevent paul being charged with boating under the influence, three counts. now, the local prosecutor didn't handle it. it got turned over to the attorney general's office.
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>> what was your reaction to hearing that he had been charged finally? >> i was pleased that finally we would -- it was starting to move forward. >> when we found out that paul was charged, i thought for sure he'll at least have to spend some time in jail. he'll have to wear the orange jumpsuit like everybody else in beaufort county. that's what happens. >> instead of being arrested and taken to a jail, paul murdaugh's attorneys are able to arrange for him to come to court to be arraigned and booked there. >> i heard it described as a gentleman's treatment, if you will. he was not handcuffed in the courtroom. >> when one of the deputies, after he's arraigned, went to cuff him, which is the procedure, he was waved off by the prosecutor. no, no, no, not necessary. not necessary here. >> later that day, i asked the attorney general's office for a mugshot, and i opened the files of that photo and saw the properties. and it was taken from an
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iphone 7 in the hallway of the courthouse. >> who has their mugshot taken in the hallway of the courthouse? i've never seen that. >> paul murdaugh was released on his own recognizance, and for two years, this case just dragged on, many people thinking he would never have a day in court. but then in june, something happened that stunned not just south carolina, but the whole country. >> on june 7th, 2021, the world changed for the murdaugh family, and the world changed for hampton county. >> hampton county 911. what is your emergency? >> this is alex murdaugh. i need the police and an ambulance immediately. my wife and child have been shot badly. >> on the night of june 7th, there's this 911 call and it's alex murdaugh. he's panicked. >> he has just found his wife and his youngest son shot to death. >> people are thinking, wait, another young person from this
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both crash has tragically died? >> colleton, i have a alex murdaugh on the line. he's advising that his wife and child was shot. >> i've been up to it now, it's bad. >> are they breathing? >> no, ma'am. >> the media coverage just exploded immediately. national news outlets started descending upon the state. >> everyone is asking who could have killed them? >> the young man who allegedly killed mallory beach has been shot and killed. was this backwoods justice? now this story becomes an international murder mystery. our priorities, they've changed. hey lexus, play my music. it's not just about getting ahead. or the constant grind. it's about knowing what you want... (car sfx: beep beep) (car sfx: watch for traffic) ...and focusing on what matters. welcome to the next level. this is all-new lexus nx. with available remote park... and our most advanced safety system—ever. ♪
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♪ everything started to come undone. >> hampton county 911. what's your emergency? >> this is alex murdaugh. my wife and child are shot badly. >> what information could you find in the double homicide that le leads you back to a 2015 supposed hit and run. >> hampton county is investigating a hit and run that claimed the life of a teenager. >> everybody keeps coming up to me claims it was murdaugh, whoever they are. >> alex murdaugh shot and wounded on a rural country road yesterday. >> it's like, what? alex murdaugh got shot? i mean, his wife and son have
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just been killed, and now he's been shot? >> how many disasters can happen in one family? the boat crash was the first domino. then the mom and the son. then a housekeeper who fell at their home. four deaths in all surrounding the murdaugh family. >> the murder mystery in south carolina taking a bizarre turn. >> it just took this story to a whole other level. >> is somebody trying to finish the job by killing another member of the murdaugh family? two members of a well-known low-country family were discovered overnight. >> no arrests have been made, no suspects named. >> the fbi is now involved in the murdaugh investigation. >> this is a story that for months gripped not just the state of south carolina, but the whole country.
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>> you never know what the next twist and turn is going to be. every time something happens, your jaw drops and you gasp. >> i feel like i'm in a three-ring circus. there's no bottom to this case. i'm shocked every single day. >> there are more new details. >> alex murdaugh calling 911 for help. >> for a gunshot wound to the head. >> it's got all the elements of a great story. >> there's murder, but there's also deceit. there's lies. it's like a soap opera. >> the murdaughs issuing a plea for help. >> john grisham, all he has to do is come south carolina and just write non-fiction. there's no fiction here. >> i have been following this story since 2019, and i've always thought that it would make for a really good podcast. ever since i heard the news of the boat crash on february 24th, 2019, i just couldn't stop. there's just so many different angles and different story lines. my name is mandy matney. i'm the news director at and this is the murdaugh murders podcast.
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within south carolina, just so many people know who this family is. and then the double homicide happened. >> hampton county 911. what is your emergency? >> this is alex murdaugh, at 4147 moselle road. i need the police and an ambulance immediately. my wife and child have been shot badly. >> on june 7th, 2021, at 10:07 p.m., alex murdaugh calls 911, and he is frantic. >> are they breathing? >> no, ma'am. >> okay. and you said it's your wife and your son? >> my wife and my son. >> the scene that alex murdaugh is looking at is his 52-year-old wife, maggie, and his 22-year-old son, paul. >> is he moving at all, your son? i know you said that she was shot, but what about your son? >> nobody -- they're not. neither one of them's moving.
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>> the mother and the son were found dead, not too far from each other, near a dog kennel. >> they were both shot to death outside their property, a place they call moselle. >> moselle was basically their primary residence at that time. >> do you see anyone in the area? >> no, ma'am. >> did you hear anything, or did you come home and find them? >> no, ma'am, i've been gone. i just came back. >> when you look at where this is, i mean, it's surrounded by woods. it's in a real remote area. >> please hurry. >> we're getting somebody out there to you. >> oh, man. i'm going to call -- i need to call some of my family. >> when did you hear from alex about that something had happened at his property? >> so, i got a call from alex monday night. soon as i answered the phone, i knew something was wrong. he said, come as fast as you
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can. paul and maggie have been hurt. and i dropped the phone and got dressed and started driving. >> he was just distraught. i didn't know if something was still happening. he was only able to tell me it was very, very bad. he said he thought they were dead. and, of course, i rushed over. >> when you got there, what was he doing? >> i couldn't believe it was true. i could see the white sheets. i still couldn't believe it could be them. there were first responders there. my focus was to go to my brother. he was standing at a distance, looking on, like, in disbelief, crying. >> could he tell you anything about what happened? >> he had a difficult time talking. and he would -- he would try to talk and he would breakdown. >> alex and maggie murdaugh also had an older son, buster. >> buster came later, 'cause i think he had to drive from -- from rock hill. >> so, he doesn't live in this area?
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>> that's right. >> who called him? >> alex tried to call him, and he -- he got through to him. and he tried to tell him, but he broke down and couldn't. and so i got on the phone with him. >> that's a long drive to make. >> that's a very long drive to make. >> colleton county sheriff's office immediately responded to the 911, but it seems like within minutes they call the south carolina law enforcement division, which we call s.l.e.d. and s.l.e.d. took over the case. they discovered these two bodies on their 1,700 acre property. >> we're talking about a sprawling property that there's a main home, and then there are dog kennels that are hundreds of yards away. >> it was in that area that they were killed. >> and the shell casings that are found later will show that they were shot by two different firearms. >> they were able to find out
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that one of the guns was a semiautomatic rifle and the other one was a shotgun. >> it raised all sorts of questions. why were they shot with these two different guns? were there two shooters? >> the coroner tells us that the killings happened sometime between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. >> your brother was at your mom's house the night of the shootings? >> he had gone to visit my mom. my dad was in the hospital. >> so, he was just making sure she was all right that night. >> you know, she tends to get -- get anxious when he's not around. you know, she has dementia. and he was just going to check on her. >> in a double homicide, i think it's pretty clear that you look at the family first. >> and according to his own lawyers, alex murdaugh himself immediately becomes a person of interest. >> there's no possible way he could have anything to do with this, i can assure you. >> i can tell you he was willing, and still is willing, to do anything that's -- that's asked of him. he wants this solved. >> this morning a grieving family looking for answers. >> national news outlets started
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descending upon the state. every major newspaper in the united states, "the new york times," "the washington post", and even "the daily mail." >> the family releasing a statement saying they are devastated by the deaths. >> law enforcement put out a statement the next day that said, at this time, there is no danger to the public. >> i was really scratching my head, because generally when you say something like that, you have a good idea who did it. they must believe that the murdaugh's were targeted. >> one of the more common comments that i heard on the street was this must have something to do with that boat crash. >> the beaches never wanted anything like this to happen. they didn't. so we volunteered to give dna and statements so they could be excluded, which they were. >> we've heard that statement, that you finally got justice. this is not justice for us. these people were brutally murdered, and he did not deserve it. neither did his mama. >> do you have any idea who would have done this? did they have any enemies? >> i really don't know of any enemies.
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you hear all this talk on the, social media with regard to paul. >> i've heard that paul had gotten some threats. >> i knew generally about them, yes. >> but as reporters are digging into everything associated with the murdaugh family, they discover that mallory beach's death, isn't the only untimely death that seems to be connected to this family. >> they learn about a young man named stephen smith who was found dead in the middle of the road. >> law enforcement in hampton county is investigating a hit and run that claimed the life of a teenager. >> they begin interviewing people who may have known steve. the name murdaugh pops up numerous times. >> it's like, what's going on here?
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while no suspects have been publicly named in the double murders of maggie and paul murdaugh, the investigation is raising more questions about this prominent family. you see, just two weeks after the homicides, another case from 2015 resurfaces. >> s.l.e.d. has reopened a cold case involving the death of 19-year-old steven smith. the agency said they made the decision based on information gathered while investigating the double murder of maggie and paul murdaugh. >> smith's body was found more than six years ago in the middle of a road in hampton county. his family says how he died has long been in question. >> around 4:00 a.m. on july 8th, 2015, a man named ronny capers called 911 and said that he saw a man in the road in hampton county, south carolina.
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>> hampton county 911. where's your emergency? >> i see somebody laying out. >> he sees a kid in the road, but he doesn't stop. >> and is it in the road or on the side of the road? >> he in the road. somebody's gonna hit him. it's dark. >> okay. we'll get an officer headed out that way. >> steven has a 7-inch gash on the right side of his forehead, and his head is caved in. it looks like from force of some kind. >> toxicology reports don't indicate that he was under the influence of anything. >> his car was a couple miles away, and it was out of gas. and the cap was hanging out. >> there's no tire marks. there's no pieces of car, no debris. just a 19-year-old kid, dead in the middle of the road. >> stephen smith was 19 years
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old. he was a twin. he had a sister stephanie. he lived with his mother sandy smith. >> the doctor said, do you see what i see? and i was like, oh, my gosh. and there was two. >> stephen was funny. the life of the party. very intelligent, sassy. we were always together. we would always do anything together, regardless if i wanted to do it or not. >> there's hardly words to describe him. jubilant. crazy. an actor. he could cry on a dime. >> his hair had to be perfect, his makeup had to be perfect. he didn't miss a beat. >> and he was openly gay in this very small town, which could not have been easy. >> not an easy thing, but his family accepted it. >> i know a lot of people ask
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me, when did stephen come out? and he never had to come out, you know, because it's just something we knew. and it didn't matter to us. i was so proud of him. his favorite saying is, i am who i am, and god made me and god don't make his tamistakes. once he started high school, he knew what he wanted out of life. >> he had plans to get out of hampton. he was not gonna stay there. >> he was going to get his nursing degree and then work his way up to a medical doctor and go overseas to take care of children who did not have any medical attention. that was his dream. >> i wanted to see him be the doctor that he wanted to be, because he always talked about helping people. that's what stephen did. >> how did this 19-year-old end up dead just a few miles from home in the middle of the night?
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>> first responders get to the scene, and they first think that it is a gunshot wound, and they thought it was a homicide. so they called s.l.e.d. to assist the scene and they also call highway patrol. and they start throwing around the possibility of maybe this was a hit and run. >> when there's a hit and run, often there is evidence -- a broken mirror, a scrape of paint, shards of glass or plastic. maybe there's skid marks. >> there's nothing. >> investigators with s.l.e.d. and the hampton county sheriff's office decide it must be a homicide and they released the highway patrol from the scene. but then the pathologist who performed steven's autopsy determines it is a hit and run, surprising the investigators. >> that makes it highway patrol's case. >> the highway patrol, just didn't -- they didn't buy it, that this was a hit and run. >> does not appear to be, in my
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opinion, struck by a vehicle. >> he had no abrasions, no torn clothes. his shoes were still on his feet. cell phone's still in his pocket. >> when somebody is hit by a car, the force of it usually pops shoes off and shoes go flying. stephen's shoes are still on his feet. >> with little to go on, the south carolina highway patrol has a mystery on its hands. >> the theory was that stephen was walking home after he ran out of gas and a mirror of a semi truck hit him in the face. >> but stephen smith's mother did not believe that. >> a mother knows her child, and no, my son would not do that. he would not be walking in the road. he had his cell phone. he was six miles from the house he would've called somebody.
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>> just days after stephen's death, the county is alive with gossip, from the coffee shop to the barber shop. people are saying, "have you heard? this is what i heard." >> sandy smith hears the same rumors and she shares them with investigators just days after stephen is killed. >> have you heard any rumors or anything like that? >> the rumors that's going around hampton that everybody keeps coming up to me and saying, it was murdaugh boys. >> the murdaugh boys? >> yes, whoever they are. had the talk. 's timee uh... no... dad... t-mobile has more 5g bars in more places so even here i can use my new iphone 13 pro with 5g share this video i made with your mom in cinematic mode. oh... what? plus with speeds as fast as wifi nationwide, i can upload this fast! i'm notsure you want to share that. too late, i already hit send. t-mobile has more 5g bars in more places than anyone. just one of the reasons t-mobile is the leader in 5g . for people living with h-i-v, keep being you.
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there's controversy around stephen smith's death. there are some who say this was a hit and run. others say this was an
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intentional homicide. >> they begin interviewing people who may have known stephen, and the name murdaugh starts popping up. >> there were other names in that investigation. it wasn't only the murdaughs, but there's the name, and there's the name again. the smith family told police stephen's dad was contacted by randy murdaugh right after they were contacted by the coroner, informing them of their son's death. >> no lawyers have contacted you about anything, have they? >> well, the day that stephen passed away, randy murdaugh was the second person to call my dad after the coroner. and he said he wanted to take the case, and it would be free of charge and everything. and my dad's a little iffy on that. >> why is this guy calling out of the blue? and we just found out our son died. this is just a weird thing. >> why would they be worried about my son's death? >> the most persistent rumor told to police alleged that paul's older brother,
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buster murdaugh, was involved. >> stephen smith was a classmate of buster murdaugh. and they went to wade hampton high school together. >> but we don't know if those people giving these statements had direct knowledge of this case or if they were repeating rumors. >> i heard a name and that name was -- he goes by buster murdaugh. >> we just heard that buster did it. so after that -- i mean, everybody knows who buster is and like his family and all that. so it was kind of, like, shocking. >> the police are checking it out, but they can't get to the root of where this rumor came from. they can't really make any headway with it. >> you are the one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight -- you're the ninth person that i've talked to in reference to this rumor, okay? >> the highway patrol tried to contact buster murdaugh one time, according to the file, but it said "didn't answer."
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>> neither buster murdaugh, nor anyone else in the murdaugh family, has ever been charged in this case. the family denied any connection to stephen's death when i sat down with them in june. >> i know who stephen smith was, and i know his family. i know of know connection at att with his death. >> and that was shortly before sled opened up their own probe into stephen smith's death, based on information that they were able to get during the investigation of maggie and paul's double murder. since then, randy murdaugh has declined to comment about the statement stephanie smith made to investigators that randy offered his legal services to the family. we also reached out to buster murdaugh, but the family has declined further comment at this time. >> but the glare of the investigation into maggie and paul's double murders is raising
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more questions than ever about a different untimely death. >> a lot of people said, "did you hear what happened to the housekeeper?" and i thought, "no way." then i was looking through the public index at different documents associated with alex murdaugh, and i find a wrongful death settlement for $500,000. >> gloria satterfield, who worked for the murdaughs for years, had died after a trip and fall accident. and alex murdaugh's insurance company had agreed to pay $505,000 for her wrongful death. >> gloria satterfield was in the fabric of the murdaugh family. >> she was a hard working woman, a people person. everywhere she wen,t she never met a stranger. always met a friend. >> when gloria started working for them, she took pride in that and honor in that, and she treated them like her family. >> my sources have said paul looked at her like a mother.
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>> he was barely walking whenever she started working for them. and he called her gogo and she called him paul-paul. >> what we think we know about gloria's death is that she was in the home of alex murdaugh, that alex's dogs had jumped up on her causing her to fall down stairs. >> 911, where is your emergency? >> my housekeeper has fallen, and her head is bleeding. i cannot get her up. >> she fell going up the steps, up the brick steps. >> she's cracked her head, and there's blood on the concrete. >> she lives for three weeks. she never regains full consciousness. >> she laid in the bed, and i took her hand and asked her, mom, what happened? and -- she couldn't tell me nothing. >> there were ups and downs, you know. you thought things were going to get better, and of course they didn't. >> according to the family at her funeral, alex murdaugh says,
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it's my fault that she died at our house. she tripped over our dog, and so i'm going to get you a lawyer. he can represent you, and he can bring a lawsuit against me. i will agree to it and you will get money for it. >> we didn't have no reason not to trust him. we've known him all our lives. >> he always took care of gloria, and he knew how important her children were to her. >> the satterfield boys say alex murdaugh looked them in the eye and said, trust me, i got you guys. you're going to get a lot of money, and i'm going to handle everything. >> but incredibly, one of the most shocking pieces of this story was still to come. >> alex murdaugh was shot in the head and wounded on a rural country road yesterday. >> alex murdaugh got shot? i mean, his wife and son have just been killed, and now he's been shot? verywhere living with type 2 diabetes are waking up to what's possible... with rybelsus®.
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for three months, there's virtually no news about the investigation into paul and maggie murdaugh's double murders. but as the summer ends, there's a new emergency. >> on september 4th, 2021, a 911 call comes in from alex murdaugh. >> i got a flat tire, and i stopped and somebody stopped to help me. and when i turned my back, they tried to shoot me. >> a murder mystery in south carolina taking a bizarre turn. alex murdaugh was shot in the head and wounded on a rural country road yesterday. >> he was airlifted to a hospital in savannah, georgia. >> it's like, what? alex murdaugh got shot? i mean, his wife and son have just been killed a few months earlier, and now he's been shot? >> it's almost too much to believe. >> oh, my god, they got targeted. like, that was the immediate
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reaction. something's happening. it's very bizarre. >> is somebody trying to finish the job by killing another member of the murdaugh family? >> but there's confusion every step of the way. >> police are saying one thing. his attorney's saying something else. >> when s.l.e.d. sends out their first press release about what happened, they make it abundantly clear that this is a superficial head wound to the head. immediately doubt is cast on what happened. who's lying here? >> two days later, on labor day, alex's pr team released a statement. >> this morning, the husband in a south carolina double murder mystery breaking his silence for the first time. alex murdaugh putting out a statement. >> he says that he's resigning from his law firm and that he's checking into rehab. >> "i have made a lot of decisions that i truly regret.
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i'm resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders." >> alex murdaugh is, he says, addicted to opioids. >> that just sent everybody into chaos. like what is going on here and why are they telling us this? >> if that's not someone saying i have committed crimes, i don't know what is. it's wild. >> as everybody's trying to process what that means, another statement comes out from alex murdaugh's law firm. >> overnight, a new bombshell. "abc news" has learned alex murdaugh resigned from his family's law firm amid accusations of misappropriating funds just the day before he says someone shot him. >> they alleged he'd been doing that on an ongoing basis for years. >> his brother, randy murdaugh, issued a statement saying, while i support him in his recovery, i do not support,
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condone, or excuse his conduct in stealing by manipulating his most trusted relationships. >> and it kind of just keeps snowballing from there. >> he loses his law license. he loses his privileges to be an assistant solicitor. i mean, his life is falling apart. >> people are saying, okay, so he's probably not the victim in this case. something weird happened with this shooting. >> clearly the story that they said initially about the shooting cannot be the full story. >> and breaking overnight, a suspect is now in custody in connection with the mysterious shooting of alex murdaugh. >> a south carolina man is behind bars for shooting prominent low-country lawyer alex murdaugh. >> curtis eddie smith, who was a distant relative and a former client of alex murdaugh, is charged with assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and assisted suicide. >> assisted suicide would mean that alex is trying to commit
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suicide, which is shocking. >> according to a police affidavit, murdaugh admitted to investigators the plan was for mr. smith to murder him, leaving his son buster to collect an life insurance policy valued at approximately $10 million. >> whatever's happening, you can see that alex is clearly spiraling. >> the life of a prominent south carolina lawyer at the center of a complex low country mystery unraveling. alex murdaugh's arrest is now imminent. >> alex murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report, which are all felonies. >> all rise. >> he's handcuffed. he's wearing shackles. he's wearing a hampton county jumpsuit. >> while the charges here under the law are not violent, the underlying facts are violent.
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>> the idea of alex murdaugh once being such a powerful figure in this area, a member of such a legal powerhouse family, quickly shatters. >> a picture is starting to come into focus, and it does not look good for alex murdaugh. >> who is this guy? what happened? what mistakes has he made? >> this morning, another twist. authorities announcing wednesday they have opened a criminal investigation into the 2018 death of his longtime housekeeper and nanny, gloria satterfield, as well as the handling of her estate. >> remember that wrongful death suit for gloria satterfield? her sons say they never got a dime. >> alex murdaugh took that money, but those alleged financial crimes may be the least of his worries. >> people are starting to wonder whether a man who says he hired someone to kill himself could be involved in the death of his
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breaking news overnight involving a murder mystery. alex murdaugh, whose wife and son were shot to death in an unsolved case three months ago, was found shot himself in south carolina.
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>> everything got so much crazier. >> murdaugh's life coming under scrutiny. >> it just took this story to a whole nother level. >> coming up, the latest twist in that fast developing case of a south carolina lawyer who police say tried to stage his own murder. >> your honor, he has fallen from grace. >> alex murdaugh's attorney, dick harpootlian, gets up, and he basically says, "this is the face of opioid addiction." >> if anyone wants to see the face of what opioid addiction does, you're looking at it. >> it was certainly a bombshell to drop that in court, that all of this was brought on from opioid addiction. >> also appearing in court on multiple charges, including assisted suicide, murdaugh's alleged accomplice, former client, curtis edward smith. >> curtis smith, what he said so far publicly absolutely contradicts alex's story. >> curtis says, oh, no, no, no. he called me up.
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he told me to come and bring the truck. >> he said that he showed up and alex had a gun. and he had to wrestle him for the gun and the gun went off. that's his story. >> according to curtis smith, it never even hit alex murdaugh. >> that's totally untrue. according to alex, he met with smith on the side of the road, gave him the gun, said, i'm going to look like i broke down. drive by and shoot me. which is exactly what smith did. smith was his longtime drug dealer, according to alex. >> in addition to the shooting charges, he was also arrested on two drug charges. >> now, he has not yet entered a plea on any criminal charges, but he denies he's alex's drug dealer. meanwhile, alex murdaugh is released on bond and sent back to rehab. >> the scrutiny on alex murdaugh now is at an all-time high. >> investigations are popping up -- civil, criminal. >> he's facing lawsuits from the boat crash. he's facing lawsuits from his own law firm.
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>> pmped files their own lawsuit saying that alex murdaugh set up a bank account to basically divert payments that he made off settlements. >> in response, alex murdaugh pleads the fifth, refusing to incriminate himself. >> s.l.e.d. opens an investigation into alex's alleged financial crimes at the law firm. >> in the midst of all this craziness, a lawsuit drops from gloria satterfield's sons that says her sons never got any of the settlement money. >> according to gloria satterfield's family, they learned about this settlement in the press. >> the satterfield boys read my story. and that was the first time that they ever found out that a settlement existed for their mother's death. >> at that point, we knew that the boys hadn't got no money. so i said, well, where is this money at? >> they're looking around at each other saying, something's not right. >> i actually contacted my
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sister, my brother. and i said, y'all, something's kind of strange here. >> according to the lawsuit, alex introduced tony satterfield to his best friend from college, who was also a lawyer, cory fleming, who sued alex for gloria's wrongful death under his homeowner's insurance. tony was named the personal representative of his mother's estate. >> but alex had allegedly convinced tony to resign as the personal representative in favor of a banker that alex knew, chad westendorf. >> alex proposed it to me. we met at his office. >> the day after chad westendorf took over as personal representative, settlement papers were filed, but the satterfield family claims they never knew any of this. >> it took them some time to develop the courage to go to a lawyer. >> they're scared. they're rightfully scared. they're small players who are forced to ask important questions about important people. >> we know how to get the
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answer. you write a letter saying, we're sure there's a misunderstanding. just send us the evidence of the settlement agreement, the court order, and the checks. when you send a letter like that, lawyers like us, we expect a response. but we got nothing. >> the only way to get answers is to file a lawsuit, which we did immediately. >> alex murdaugh is now accused of taking millions on a wrongful death settlement. >> according to court documents, murdaugh allegedly worked with two of friends, an attorney and a banker, to pocket money which should have gone to the family of his former housekeeper, gloria satterfield. >> information starts coming in and developing very quickly. it's not even the $500,000. that was just the first insurance company's settlement. >> according to the lawsuit, there was a second settlement that was not properly recorded. >> as you can see here, it was never given a docket number and the case name was actually changed to in "re: gloria satterfield," meaning it
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was never connected to alex murdaugh in court filings or anywhere else. >> it is 100% in the dark, unfiled, off book, off record. >> it turns out to be 4,300,000 some dollars. $2.7 million should have been paid directly to brian harriott and tony satterfield. >> they say they never got a dime. >> alex murdaugh took that money. >> according to the lawsuit, he'd opened a bank account under the name forge. that's the same name as a respected holding company, forge consulting, that's often used in settlements just like this one, and the satterfield attorney say that it seems that it was chosen on purpose so the money could be diverted into an account that's controlled by alex murdaugh. >> the betrayal of trust is stunning. >> his deception, it runs deep,
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and it hurts,because we did think of him as family, and we know gloria did. >> did he do this to more people? what is he really capable of? >> and where is all this money going? >> this is an ongoing (vo) verizon is going ultra and so is our best unlimited plan ever! mary, welcome to verizon's new plan with 5g ultra wideband now in many more cities. (mary) cool. (vo) up to 10 times the speed at zero extra cost. our 5g data is foreals unlimited no matter how much you use. (mary) did you just say foreals? (vo) sorry. let's put it to work with six premium entertainment subscriptions included! (mary) shhh, i'm in the lead. (vo) go on, watch all you want. (mary) i love this show. (vo) and because a better plan deserves a better phone... how about a new one on us? (mary) seriously? (vo) yep, it's our best plan ever. verizon is going ultra, so you can too.
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back now with those major new developments involving prominent lawyer alex murdaugh. >> the 53-year-old was arrested last week, accused of stealing millions in insurance money which was meant to go to the son of his long time housekeeper, gloria
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>> he's the only one charged. no charges brought against anyone else. >> at this point alex murdaugh is charged with two different cases. one for orchestrating his own killing and one for diverting funds away from gloria satterfield's wrongful death lawsuit. >> writes a check for 610 grand to himself. writes a check for 125 grand to himself. not a dime goes to this family back here. >> a judge denying bail for that disgraced attorney alex murdaugh in columbia, south carolina. >> when the opportunity presents itself in front of a desperate man of low character, he's probably going to take it. that appears to be what alex murdaugh did. >> this is an ongoing investigation, your honor. this is the tip of the iceberg. >> over the next two months he's indicted on almost 50 additional charges. >> the charges run the gamut from money laundering the foreignry. >> he has not enter a plea on
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any charges. >> buster murdaugh was not by his father's side in court, instead traveling to las vegas. this image was snapped by a bystander and it was used to petition to attorneys to seize his finances. it also got a lot of attention online. >> alex murdaugh is seen as this man tricking people who are close toast him to help himself. >> in december, he apologized to the satterfield family, saying he planned to pay back $4.3 million to them. cory fleming and his law firm agreed to a payment and chad westindorf was dropped from the lawsuit when he paid back the fees he received. >> there's a long road head nor alex murdaugh. there's a long road ahead in civil court. whatever he has will be taken. >> i don't know that that man will ever be free.
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>> if he's convicted of just a couple of these crimes life is over for alex murdaugh and that part of the murdaugh dynasty. >> the boat crash was the first domino that really fell for them, and everything started to come undone. it is by far the craziest, most twisted saga i have ever written. >> this is a story that's dominated the headlines because of the powerful players involved. but if you shift the lens slightly it's about regular people who have lost something. stephen smith in his unsolved case has become a cause for many in south carolina, particularly the gay community. >> he would be so ecstatic just to know his name is everywhere. >> we're standing for stephen. >> he was honored at the 2021 gay pride parade in south
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carolina, and funds were raised for the headstone his family was never able to afford. >> i was like, stefan, what have you got me into? sometimes i was like, i just love you so much. yeah. >> watching a family of this influence and reputation collapse is a fascination and a sadness at the same time. the complexity of it is really perhaps the most amazing part. i don't know when we'll see the end of it. >> there's still so much we don't know. >> a lot of questions are being raised about who alex really is as a person, and what was going on in his life around the time that the double homicide? >> obviously the biggest question is, who killed maggie and paul, and why were they killed? >> and where is all this money
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going? does it have anything to do with the murders? >> and who else is to blame? >> this is a house of cards. >> i don't think this is the end in terms of wrong doing that whoo we're going to hear about with this family. >> of course we will follow all of those new twists and turns in this case. for now, alex mur dug is still in jail with that $7 million bond that he's been unable to meet. >> and the family law practice founded a century go dropped murdaugh from the firm's name. thank you for watching. >> i'm david muir. from all of us here at "20/20" and abc news, good night. ama: new cdc guidance unmasks.
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