South Carolina authorities have named two persons of interest in the cold-case murder of Stephen Smith, according to a bombshell report. The 19-year-old was murdered in 2015 near the site of the infamous Murdaugh murders.
On July 8, 2015, Stephen Smith was found dead in the middle of a road in Hampton County, South Carolina. Smith's body was found eight miles from "Moselle," the Murdaughs' 1,770-acre hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina.
Smith died from blunt force trauma to the head. Smith's death was ruled to be caused by a hit-and-run by a car, and no suspects were named or arrested.
However, the officer who wrote the initial report found no evidence that Smith was hit by a car.
"I saw no vehicle debris, skid marks or injuries consistent with someone being struck by a vehicle," the officer noted. "The victim’s shoes were loosely tied and both were still on. … We see no evidence to suggest the victim was struck by a vehicle."
State Highway Patrol trooper Thomas Moore wrote in his report that upon arriving at the scene, the county coroner "immediately advised me it was a homicide." Smith had an injury on his head that the coroner believed was a gunshot wound.
A report from a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division special agent added that an EMS worker found a projectile wound on the victim's head. A report from a Hampton County Sheriff’s Office deputy stated that it appeared that Smith had been shot in the head.
Smith's death was re-examined during the investigation into the murders of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22 – who were murdered by Alex Murdaugh on June 7, 2021. Alex was Maggie's husband and Paul's father.
Earlier this month, Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to two life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole after he was found guilty of murdering his wife and son.
Some loosely connected Smith's death to the South Carolina legal dynasty family featured on the Netflix docuseries "Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal." Smith was a classmate of Buster Murdaugh – Alex's other son.
Court TV reported, "The investigative file in Smith’s death mentions several names of people who were listed by various witnesses as having the potential to be involved in the case, among them Buster Murdaugh."
Former South Carolina Highway Patrol detective Todd Proctor and Sandy Smith, the mother of the victim, previously believed the Murdaughs had some kind of involvement in Smith's murder, but did not present any solid evidence.
Smith's attorney Eric Bland told Fox News, "We have no direct knowledge that any Murdaugh was involved in any shape or form in Stephen's murder."
Buster Murdaugh has denied any involvement in the murder of Smith.
"This has gone on far too long. These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false," Murdaugh said on Monday. "I unequivocally deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family."
"I have tried my best to ignore the vicious rumors about my involvement in Stephen Smith’s tragic death that continue to be published in the media as I grieve over the brutal murders of my mother and brother," Murdaugh continued. "I love them so much and miss them terribly."
On March 22, 2023, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced that it had re-classified Smith’s death as a homicide.
FitsNews reported on Thursday that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division identified Patrick Wilson and Shawn Connelly as persons of interest.
The independent news outlet stated, "Both Wilson and Connelly lived in the area near where Stephen Smith’s body was found … and there is information obtained by SLED investigators which has reportedly drawn a sharper focus on them as potential suspects."
FitsNews claimed that Wilson and Connelly were "embroiled in various legal actions tied to the Murdaugh family in the months following the murder."
Sandy Smith raised more than $117,000 on GoFundMe to exhume her son's body so that an independent autopsy could be conducted. She is also hiring a private investigator to help solve the cold case from eight years ago.
The Mysterious Death of Stephen Smithwww.youtube.com
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