COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel told Stephen Smith’s family attornies that they are considering his death a homicide.
The announcement comes after Smith’s death was deemed a hit-and-run in 2015. Smith’s body was recently exhumed after his family wanted more details about his death. Now, SLED is also interested in those findings.
Smith was found dead on a South Carolina road in 2015, questions were raised about his passing in the midst of the investigation into the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh in 2021. New information regarding Smith’s death during the double murder investigation prompted police to reopen Smith’s Case, according to a news release from SLED.
Smith’s mother, Sandy, opened a GoFundMe page in March to raise money for an independent autopsy after state police first said that Smith had been struck by a car while searching for help following car troubles. The family believes he was murdered and would like an unbiased look at the body along with an accurate determination of the cause of death, according to Smith’s family attornies. The fundraiser has managed to collect over $80,000 so far.
Click here to learn more about what happened to Stephen Smith.
“We are committed to finding out what really happened, and getting the peace and justice the Smith family deserves,” said Smith’s family attornies Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter in a joint statement.
SLED reportedly confirmed that they were waiting until the Murdaugh trial ended to make the announcement out of concern that witnesses would not be as open and honest due to Murdaugh’s influential impact, according to Bland Ritchter Law Firm. Officials told the law firm they have vowed to support Sandy Smith and her efforts to find out what really happened to her son. SLED also told the family they plan to work diligently to hold those responsible for Smith’s death accountable.
The investigation into the death of Smith is ongoing, and SLED officials are urging anyone with information about the case to come forward by calling SLED’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-SLED.