The body of a South Carolina teen who died mysteriously near Alex Murdaugh’s house will be exhumed, and a new autopsy will be performed.

On Thursday, Stephen Smith’s family revealed via GoFundMe that they had collected enough money to exhume his body for an independent autopsy. Smith’s 2015 death inquiry was reopened after the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh in 2021.

Smith, 19, was discovered deceased on Sandy Run Road in rural Hampton County, near the Murdaugh estate. His death was initially classified as a hit-and-run, but the case was reopened in 2021 after Maggie and Paul’s bodies were discovered; however, authorities have not yet classified his death as a homicide.

Smith’s family has long insisted that his death was not the result of a hit-and-run, but they have never explicitly implicated the Murdaughs.

Authorities have never publicly revealed the connection between Smith and the Murdaugh family, but Buster Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh’s surviving son, was one of Smith’s high school peers.


Alex Murdaugh, 54, was condemned to two consecutive life terms for the murders of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul. In addition to the murder charges, he faces more than 85 criminal charges, many of which were discovered after police started investigating the family after the killings. Those cases will be tried at a later period.

The Murdaugh Family.

Smith’s mother, Sandy, stated on the GoFundMe website that the exhumation and autopsy were proceeding. The page’s initial goal was to raise $15,000 for investigative costs. It has now made more than $44,000.

“Our family is so grateful to all of you who came together to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen,” Sandy Smith wrote. “I had no idea when we started this fundraiser that it would take off in the manner that it did. Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s tale to be swept under the rug.”

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