The Netflix true crime docuseries Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal exposes a series of unsolved deaths connected to a Southern Carolina family. The documentary opens with the death of Mallory Beach, a young woman in a boating accident with a group of friends. The boat, owned by the Murdaugh family, was being driven by Paul Murdaugh while he was heavily intoxicated. When the boat crashed into the pillar of a bridge, Mallory and her boyfriend Anthony were thrown overboard. Anthony made his way to shore, and the others on the boat sustained injuries, but Mallory was nowhere to be found.
Unfortunately, this was not the first death connected to the Murdaugh family nor the first attempted coverup. This documentary explores how the series of deaths surrounding the Murdaughs went cold in their respective investigations due to the influence and power of the Murdaugh family. With ties to politics, the justice system, and the police system, each death was swept under the rug and went unsolved. That is until the most recent deaths of Margaret and Paul Murdaugh in 2021, which finally resulted in the arrest of Alex Murdaugh, whose trial concluded on Mar. 2, with Alex being found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
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The first known case associated with the Murdaugh family was the death of a young man named Stephen Smith in 2015, who was found dead in the middle of a road three miles away from his car. However, this was not the result of a car accident, as stated by the SLED report, but rather the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Stephen's car was found and appeared to have run out of gas on the highway. Detectives determined that Stephen called Buster Murdaugh for a ride, and there were rumors that the two were not just friends but perhaps had a romantic relationship as well. So what happened after Buster picked him up? No one knows.
In 2018, Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh's housekeeper was reported to have tripped over the family dogs and fallen down some stairs, where she hit her head and died. Upon investigation, several inconsistencies arose regarding the manner of her death, the injuries sustained, and the circumstances surrounding her death. Having been close to the family and privy to the issues within the Murdaugh household, Gloria had discovered a stash of Alex Murdaugh's drugs and reported this to Paul. After her death, Alex Murdaugh filed a wrongful death claim to be paid out to Gloria's family in the amount of half a million dollars, but mysteriously the funds never made it to any of the members of her family.
Then came the shocking deaths of Margaret and Paul Murdaugh, Alex's wife and son. In 2021 the two were shot dead on the Murdaugh property, and Alex himself called for an ambulance. Although he created an alibi for himself and later arranged for an attempted shooting of himself to establish his own innocence and frame someone else, he was arrested as the prime suspect. The Murdaugh's owned the very same guns used to kill Margaret and Paul, and mysteriously those went missing from the collection.
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The documentary goes over how the family attempted to cover up these crimes and the theories that detectives formed based on each case's strange connections, especially in their connection to the Murdaugh family. Evidence was withheld, and the family used their wealth and power within the community to manipulate what had happened. This was demonstrated in the case of Mallory Beach, with each of the remaining survivors of the boat crash recounting what had happened.
Immediately after everyone got to shore, Paul called his grandfather to tell him what had happened and claimed another friend had been driving the boat. Then the family went to work to get the situation "handled" and covered up. The Murdaughs tried to spin a different story of what happened and even brought the family lawyer to the hospital to attempt to manipulate those involved in the accident. They even hauled the boat away before it could be investigated.
The longstanding established power of the Murdaugh family in the justice system seemed to place them above the law. Those who interacted with the family during these cases took notice of the privileges the family received and the suspicious activity but feared to speak up or get involved. Rumors about their ability to make evidence and even people disappear came true when they were able to silence, bribe, and manipulate those within the justice system and law enforcement. But it all came crumbling down around them with the murders of Margaret and Paul Murdaugh when outside investigators took on the case and were able to remain uninfluenced by the power and wealth of the family.2023-03-18T21:31:10Z dg43tfdfdgfd