HAMPTON CO., SC (WTOC) - A Lowcountry mother who lost her teenage son in July spent her first Thanksgiving without him.
Investigators say 19-year-old Stephen Smith was struck by a car near Sandy Run and Joe Miley roads in Hampton, but his mother doesn't believe that story.
Investigators believe Stephen Smith was on his way from college when he ran out of gas about five miles from his home. What happened after that is unclear.
Sandy Smith says losing a child is a hard pill for any parent to swallow.
"We did have 18 Thanksgivings together. When we all sit down and eat, we'll just say our prayers and be thankful for what we did have with him," said Sandy.
Police began investigating Stephen's death as a hit and run – they thought he may have been walking home when he was struck by a vehicle. Sandy says that story just doesn't add up.
"He called his sister one night he ran out of gas and he hid in the woods and would not come out until he was sure it was her. We know for a fact it was not a hit and run. Stephen would not have been in the roadway," said Sandy.
She added the autopsy results don't match the story either.
"The only damage to his body was his head. The right side of his head. From his right eye socket to the back of his head and his right shoulder was dislocated. There was no other marks on his body and he had his shoes and everything on," she said.
And right after he died, she did a little investigating herself.
"No car parts. There was no blood. I walked from where his car was, all the way to where his body was and found nothing at all," said Sandy.
Whether it was foul play or a hit and run, Sandy wants the person who's responsible for her son's death to know something.
"I hope they enjoy their day because we're going to enjoy ours. I just want to say I forgive you. I don't hate you. I just want answers," she said.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Hampton County Sheriff's Office are still investigating Smith's death. If you have any information about the incident, call CrimeStoppers.