THE sensational Murdaugh family murders will be explored in a bombshell special episode of 20/20 that airs tonight.
The two-hour program will include new footage from exclusive interviews with Mallory Beach’s parents and family members, as well as details about Alex Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes.
The reputable South Carolina family first made headlines in 2019, when the then-teenage son Paul Murdaugh was involved in a boating accident that killed 19-year-old Mallory.
Last summer, Paul and his mother Maggie Murdaugh were both shot and murdered – and discovered by the family’s patriarch, Alex Murdaugh.
Many unusual events and circumstances regarding the Murdaugh family have since come to light, including Alex’s alleged theft of insurance settlement money originally intended for the family of the Murdaugh’s housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who fell and died on their property in 2018.
Questions also arose about the unsolved roadside death of Stephen Smith in 2015. Authorities re-opened Smith’s case after gathering information regarding Paul and Maggie’s murders.
Just in September, Alex allegedly hired a hitman to kill him so that his remaining son “Buster” could collect life insurance money.
The surrounding details in the Murdaugh family’s case raise many unanswered questions that could possibly be tackled tonight on ABC News’s 20/20.
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Though grisly details have emerged regarding the double homicide of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, the killer, or killers, have not yet been identified.
Deputies arrived at the prominent legal family’s hunting lodge just after 10pm on June 7 before calling in the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for help.
The mother and son’s bodies were reportedly found lying yards apart near the dog kennels with multiple gunshot wounds.
It is believed that two different firearms were used to kill the mother and son—an assault rifle and a shotgun, respectively.
No motive or suspect have been identified in the murders.
STEPHEN SMITH CONNECTION
19-year-old Stephen Smith’s body was found on Sandy Run Road early on the morning of July 8, 2015.
Initial reports indicated he died from blunt force trauma to the head, but some of the responding troopers confidently reported that the injuries were gunshot wounds.
The SLED reopened the Smith case after discovering information in the investigation into the double homicide of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
Though no members of the Murdaugh family have officially been tied to Smith, investigators were repeatedly directed towards Buster Murdaugh being someone that law enforcement should question in connection to Smith’s death, according to investigative files from Highway Patrol.
Case files indicated 10 of 18 people interviewed had mentioned Murdaugh possibly being involved, according to ABC.
No details have been released as to why the Smith case was reopened.
GLORIA SATTERFIELD MYSTERY
Gloria Satterfield was a 57-year-old housekeeper and nanny who worked for the Murdaugh family for over two decades, according to local reports including her obituary.
She reportedly died as a result of a “trip and fall” accident, according to a document obtained by FITSNews.
According to court documents, Alex, an attorney, told Satterfield’s sons that he was personally responsible for the fall and that he would “sue himself” so that they would be financially taken care of.
Three years later, the family said that they had never received any money from Murdaugh. In September, Satterfield’s sons filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Murdaugh.
Also in September, the SCLED opened a criminal investigation into Satterfield’s death and the handling of her estate.
In a letter to SLED, the Hampton County Coroner allegedly believes that there are inconsistencies in the manner of her death.
Paul Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges related to Mallory Beach’s death.
Her body was found seven days after the February 2019 boat crash.
The group on the boat had been “grossly intoxicated,” according to police, even though they were all underage and could not legally buy alcohol.
Paul’s family’s ties to the legal system sparked questions about whether the investigation into the teen’s death was done properly.
Alex Murdaugh now faces almost 50 counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, money laundering, forgery, and computer crimes.
Alex’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all prosecutors in the tiny South Carolina Hampton county.
Through generations of relationships and secrets, Alex gained notoriety in his community that allowed him to commit these crimes, and maybe more.
It’s unclear how Alex allegedly got away with so many crimes for an extended period of time.
Alex Murdaugh has stolen over $6.2million, according to state prosecutors.
Murdaugh’s indictments so far accuse Murdaugh of laundering money from the wrongful death lawsuit settlement for Gloria Satterfield, and of convincing an injured former highway patrolman to sign over a settlement check to his law firm, allegedly telling the patrolman “the money could not be disbursed until his litigation was finished.”
Murdaugh’s attorney Richard Harpootlian, said to NBC that the “vast majority” of the stolen funds were used to buy opioids and that there were “checks written to drug dealers.”
Alex allegedly suffers from an oxycodone addiction, according to his attorneys.
His attorneys say that Murdaugh, currently in prison, is “too poor” to pay a phone bill.
Investigators found that Murdaugh spent more than $3.7 million since 2015, and much of that money remains unaccounted for, said State Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters
It is unclear what the stolen money was spent on, aside from the opioids.
Alex Murdaugh is now in jail, and he’s being held without bond.
All of the charges against Murdaugh are felonies.
He could face hundreds of years in prison if convicted of all them.
His attorneys are currently arguing for his bond to be reduced so his family can pay it.
Tonight’s 20/20 episode covering the Murdaugh family airs 9:01 to 11:00pm EST, on ABC.
Tomorrow it will be streaming on Hulu.