A rape package was requested in the hours immediately after Stephen Smith’s overall body was located lying lifeless in the middle of a nation road, a freeway patrol officer has disclosed.
The 19-12 months-old was initially considered to have been killed in a strike and operate on July 8, 2015, but this 7 days it was declared that the South Carolina Legislation Enforcement Division (SLED) was investigating his demise as a murder.
Michael Duncan, a former South Carolina Freeway Patrol (SCHP) supervisor, explained to NewsNation that a rape kit was purchased inside 13 hrs of Smith’s demise – a thing he experienced ‘never’ encountered in his several years investigating deadly targeted traffic accidents.
Smith’s circumstance is intertwined with that of Alex Murdaugh who was jailed for lifetime final thirty day period for the brutal murders of his spouse Maggie and youthful son Paul at the family’s hunting estate in Moselle on the night time of June 7, 2021.
SLED mentioned they began investigating Smith’s demise as a murder right after evidence which came to light-weight subsequent the killings. Police studies stated the Murdaugh household several moments, together with rumors that his surviving son Buster was associated.
Stephen Smith (pictured with his mom Sandy) was discovered lying in the center of Sandy Operate Highway in Hampton County with a blunt power trauma injuries to the head on July 8, 2015
Michael Duncan, a previous South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) supervisor, instructed NewsNation that a rape kit was ordered within 13 hrs of Smith’s demise – one thing he had ‘never’ encountered in his many years investigating fatal traffic mishaps
Buster Murdaugh sits with his girlfriend Brooklynn White during his father’s double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, on February 23
Murdaugh’s older son Buster, 26, this week denied ‘vicious rumors’ about his alleged involvement in his classmate’s dying. Two significant-profile documentaries by HBO and Netflix aired promises that the pair had been allegedly joined romantically.
Freeway cop Duncan mentioned Smith’s wounds had been inconsistent with a website traffic incident, which corroborates the findings of the area coroner who described that Smith had been shot.
The community sheriff’s division and highway patrol cops informed SLED they thought the demise really should be investigated as a murder.
Nevertheless, a subsequent autopsy by a pathologist in Charleston located that Smith’s head wound was induced by blunt pressure trauma constant with a vehicular collision.
When the outcomes arrived back, highway patrol did not want to take the scenario, insisting that SLED really should be subsequent up with a homicide probe.
‘We don’t think it at any time elevated to invoke the comprehensive investigatory authority of SLED,’ Ronnie Richter, an attorney for Smith’s loved ones, instructed NPR on Wednesday. ‘It has now.’
Duncan advised NewsNation we was ‘extremely disappointed’ with the way the investigation was carried out.
‘I’ve never ever noticed wounds like this that appear from a vehicle … In totality, it did not make sense why they were contacting it a traffic accident,’ Duncan mentioned.
Requested if he had at any time noticed a rape package utilised in this kind of a case, Duncan said: ‘When it will come to visitors mishaps … in no way.’
He added: ‘This was the quite initially time. I did not have an comprehension of why it was staying purchased. We ended up not notified right until afterwards that it experienced been requested. I have no responses for you as to why they would have ordered a rape package for what would be suspected as a strike and run, which it wasn’t’.
Richter verified on Thursday that a rape package experienced been requested. It is not very clear what the success were being or if the exam was actually carried out.
In a statement Wednesday, SLED stated that it opened an investigation into Smith’s demise in June of 2021 following ‘agents received information about his demise and subsequently reviewed the SCHP investigative file.’
Stephen Smith’s automobile observed along Sandy Operate Highway in Hampton, South Carolina in 2015. The teen’s loss of life was to begin with dominated a hit and operate, but freeway patrol officers have since claimed they do not imagine the scene was regular with a highway site visitors accident
Maggie Murdaugh is observed with her partner Alex and sons Buster (ideal) and Paul (remaining)
Buster, who supported his doomed father just about every working day through his trial final thirty day period, reported he preferred privacy to ‘grieve above the brutal murders of my mother and brother’
SLED claimed that Highway Patrol’s circumstance notes built it ‘apparent that the SCHP did not think Mr. Smith’s demise was a hit and operate.’
His household have extended considered he was murdered. Smith was located lying in the middle of Sandy Operate Road, around five miles from the Murdaugh estate.
He did not have injuries to his reduce body, no vehicular debris was identified at the scene, nor had been there tire marks on the highway, reliable with a traffic incident.
He also remaining his vehicle at the roadside close to three miles absent, leaving his telephone and wallet in the hatchback. Smith’s mom Sandy stated he would under no circumstances have still left his wallet guiding and would have at the very least known as his sister.
‘Stephen was in the course of action of exploring himself and his sexuality,’ Sandy advised nearby news outlet Bluffton These days months immediately after her son died. ‘He was homosexual. A person rumor is that he may have had a person stalking him, the authorities asked me about that, but I have read other stories I believe that far more.’
She went on to say that she assumed someone Stephen knew from university could have been concerned in his loss of life.
‘One of the men that supposedly did this, Stephen informed his twin sister that he experienced a fling with the boy,’ Smith mentioned. ‘He also explained to me that he and the boy had a deep sea fishing trip planned for July. Stephen died on the eighth of July.’
The first incident report penned by SCHP investigators and contained in the Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation (MAIT) case file states: ‘He pointed out the wound to be a gunshot wound and confirmed me the entry position.
‘Assistant Coroner Kelly Greene then started to exhibit me photographs they took, once again pointing to the entry place to the head and also a defensive wound to the hand.’
Written by James B. Tallon III, the notes point out: ‘Originally HCSO experienced notified the South Carolina Highway Patrol in reference to this becoming a probable strike and operate.
‘After additional investigation it was thought that the target experienced been shot in the head.’
An EMS employee is pointed out as having, ‘stated that a projectile wound was positioned on the victim’s head.’
Eric Bland mentioned witnesses could now communicate ‘without fear’ following Alex Murdaugh’s conviction for killing his spouse and son
And the notes point out: ‘A hole in the cranium was located earlier mentioned the victim’s proper eye.’
But when the autopsy was carried out at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the fashion of death was listed not as murder but ‘undetermined,’ and it was dominated a strike and operate.
DailyMail.com completely discovered in June 2021, that SLED had reopened the investigation into Smith’s dying, with officers citing new evidence uncovered while probing the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
But according to attorney Eric Bland for Smith’s mother, officials said they were waiting around till after Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial to make this announcement because of their worry in excess of witness testimony.
‘SLED officials have exposed that they did not want to exhume Stephen Smith’s body to encourage them that his loss of life was a murder,’ Bland and his law associate Ronnie Richter claimed in a joint statement Monday.
‘However, they will be present and take part in any exhumation of Stephen’s body to gather extra proof. We are fully commited to locating out what seriously took place, and getting the peace and justice the Smith relatives deserves.’
In June 2021, Dailymail.com uncovered that law enforcement investigating the teen’s suspicious loss of life probed witnesses about any romance the useless boy may have experienced with the heir to a effective South Carolina authorized dynasty.
Buster released a assertion Monday prior to SLED’s affirmation of a murder probe, stating that speculation about his alleged involvement ‘has long gone on considerably as well extensive.’
In a assertion released by way of his father’s demo legal professionals Jim Griffin and Point out Senator Dick Harpootlian, the former law scholar mentioned: ‘I have experimented with my best to disregard the vicious rumors about my involvement in Stephen Smith’s tragic demise that carry on to be published in the media as I grieve above the brutal murders of my mother and brother.
‘I like them so a great deal and skip them terribly. I haven’t spoken up until finally now since I want to dwell in personal even though I cope with their fatalities and my father’s incarceration.
‘Before, throughout and because my father’s trial, I have been targeted and harassed by the media and followers of this tale.
‘This has absent on much also very long. These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his demise are wrong.
‘I unequivocally deny any involvement in his loss of life, and my heart goes out to the Smith family members.
‘I am requesting that the media straight away halt publishing these defamatory feedback and rumors about me.’
Investigators have hardly ever publicly revealed if there was a backlink concerning Smith’s demise and the Murdaugh household – despite witnesses allegedly offering recommendations to law enforcement linking the classmates with each other.
A Netflix documentary explored their alleged marriage, though at the time Buster refused to give a remark.
Much more than fifty percent of the people interviewed all through the investigation talked about hearing rumors of Buster’s probable involvement in Smith’s loss of life – but he was in no way introduced in for questioning, the documentaries said.
Buster is currently assumed to be holed up at his attorney girlfriend’s residence in Hilton Head, and was spotted walking canine at the house quite a few times through the trial.
Smith’s mom, Sandy, shared the information that they would be exhuming her son’s body and pushing ahead with an independent autopsy final 7 days on a GoFundMe webpage.
She wrote: ‘Our loved ones is so really grateful to all of you who came collectively to support us in our struggle for justice for Stephen.
‘I could not have imagined when we started this fundraiser that it would take off the way that it did. Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s tale to be swept underneath a rug.’
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