Family still hoping for answers about what happened to Stephen Smith
HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) reopened several investigations connected to the Murdaugh family because of the murder case.
One of those is the 2015 death of Stephen Smith. His body was found on the side of a Hampton County road in what was described at the time as a hit-and-run.
According to the report from South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Murdaugh name was mentioned multiple times while they were investigating his death.
SLED said they reopened that investigation on June 22, 2021, due to evidence they found during the Murdaugh murder investigation.
Smith’s final resting place is at Gooding Cemetery on Sandy Run Road. The same road where his body was found in 2015.
Now, his family is reacting to the guilty verdicts in the Murdaugh murder trial, saying they soon hope that Stephen will get justice as well.
SLED still hasn’t officially said what the connection between Stephen Smith’s case and the Murdaugh family is.
In the Smith family statement released by their attorney, Sandy Smith, Stephen’s mom, says the verdict provides much needed closure to Maggie’s and Paul’s loved ones adding, “We know firsthand the agony and frustration of being in the dark about how a family member was killed and I am thankful the whole story was put before the jury in a public trial. One day, I pray the same happens for my Stephen, but today we should honor and remember the victims of this man who so many people trusted.”
Mike Hemlepp, the attorney representing the family, says the verdict in this trial is the result of hard work from SLED and the state’s attorney general’s office– and that the family is, “confident they will continue to exhibit this level of dedication to their investigation into Stephen’s murder, no matter where that investigation may lead.”
Just this past July at the Gooding Cemetery, Stephen’s family and friends gathered to reveal a new headstone for him seven years after his death as the investigation into the incident continues.
Stephen’s family continues to encourage anyone with information about his death to reach out to CrimeStoppers of the Lowcountry at 843-554-1111 or through their website or you can contact the SLED at 803-737-9000.
You can read the full statement provided by the lawyer representing the Smith family below:
“The Family of Stephen Smith believes justice was served today in the case of the tragic 2021 murders of Maggie Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh at their home, “Moselle”. A Colleton County jury convicted the victims’ husband and father, Alex Murdaugh of two counts of murder after deliberating only a few hours following a month-long trial.
Sandy Smith, mother of Stephen Smith: “This verdict provides Maggie’s and Paul’s loved ones the answers and closure which they need to heal from this vicious tragedy. We know firsthand the agony and frustration of being in the dark about how a family member was killed and I am thankful the whole story was put before the jury in a public trial. One day, I pray the same happens for my Stephen, but today we should honor and remember the victims of this man who so many people trusted.”
Mike Hemlepp, legal advisor to the Smith Family: “The hard work exhibited by the State Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office in the Alex Murdaugh murder trial demonstrates their grit and resolve for the truth. We are confident they will continue to exhibit this level of dedication to their investigation into Stephen’s murder, no matter where that investigation may lead.”
Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old nursing student and graduate of Wade Hampton High School in Hampton, South Carolina, was found dead on Sandy Run Road in Hampton County on July 8, 2015. A chaotic and confused early investigation revealed too few answers into his mysterious death, but the State Law Enforcement Division opened their own investigation into this event while investigating the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh in Colleton County, S.C. in 2021.”
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