Questions surround presence of Murdaughs at Stephen Smith’s death scene

Posted at 8:04 AM, June 21, 2023


HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (Court TV) — In an interview with Court TV on Tuesday evening, the attorney representing Stephen Smith‘s mother, Sandy, revealed that the Murdaugh family is calling Sandy’s recollection of the morning her son died into question.

Stephen Smith selfie

This undated photo provided by Sandy Smith shows Stephen Smith, a South Carolina teen whose body was found on a road in 2015. (Sandy Smith)

Stephen Smith was 19 when his body was found along a rural road in Hampton County early on the morning of July 8, 2015. A passing driver saw his body and called 911. His death was initially ruled a hit-and-run, but was reclassified as a homicide years later after investigators uncovered new evidence while investigating the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. Alex Murdaugh, Maggie’s husband and Paul’s father, was convicted of their murders and is serving a life sentence.

MORE: Grand jury impaneled in Stephen Smith death investigation

Sandy Smith previously told Court TV’s Vinnie Politan that on the morning her son’s body was removed from the road, she saw Alex and Randy Murdaugh at the scene. On Tuesday, Eric Bland told Politan that Randy Murdaugh’s attorney is disputing Sandy’s recollection of events. Murdaugh, through his attorney, said that was at the scene where Stephen’s body was found the day following his death with an investigator, but denied being there when Sandy was. Sandy has said that Randy was at the scene twice: both when the body was moved initially by police and again the next day with an investigator.

The questions surrounding who was present at the scene come as Bland confirmed that a grand jury has been impaneled in Stephen’s death. Bland said that he has heard through several sources that there are five to six people with knowledge of what happened the night Stephen was killed, and that the grand jury has been issuing subpoenas.

Stephen Smith’s car

Stephen Smith’s car, which was found along Sandy Run Road in Hampton County. (SLED)

Bland also offered new details about Stephen’s cause of death. Stephen’s body was exhumed in the spring for a second autopsy, and Bland confirmed that the report on that autopsy was delivered to him on Tuesday. While he was unable to reveal the contents of the report, Bland said that he believes that Stephen died on the road where he was found and that he was hit by something projecting out of a moving vehicle.

WATCH: Attorney Offers Theory of Stephen Smith’s Death

“I absolutely believe that they knew that Stephen was on that road,” Bland said. “And whether they were trying to scare him and it got out of control and they hit him — I don’t think the automobile actually struck him or the moving vehicle — I think there could have been something extending from the moving vehicle, we’ll have to see what the professionals say.”

Dr. Michelle DuPree, who attended the autopsy, confirmed that Stephen’s skull was fractured, but did not have any depressed fractures that would have been consistent with being beaten by a bat or a pipe.

Bland said Sandy would like justice for her son, but her main goal is to find out what happened.

“She is not looking for a particular person to be charged. Her number one goal is just to find answers.”