The 19-year-old’s body was found on July 8, 2015. Investigators previously believed that the death was caused by a hit-and-run. Now, authorities are viewing the death as a homicide.
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On Tuesday, the Bland Richter Law Firm, who is now representing the mother of Smith, released a press statement. According to the statement, during a phone call, SLED Chief Mark Keel revealed that Smith’s death was more than the initially reported “’highway vehicular manslaughter.”
Attorney Eric Bland released a short statement regarding the matter. “We have a chance to right eight years of wrongs, and we intend to do just that.”
During the original investigation, questions were raised about Stephan’s death. Many speculated that the Murdaugh family had a hand in the tragedy.
Whispers turned into constant chatter once Alex Murdaugh was charged and convicted of murdering his youngest son Paul and wife, Maggie. The horrific incident led authorities to reopen Stephen’s case in 2021.
Last week, Stephen’s mother Sandy set up a GoFundMe page with the hopes of raising money to exhume her son’s body for an independent autopsy. She believes that this will prove he wasn’t killed by a hit-and-run.
“State police first said that Stephen Smith had car trouble, was walking for help, and got hit by a car,” the law firm representing the family shared. “Smith’s family believes he was murdered, and wants an unbiased look at his body and an accurate determination of his cause of death based on facts.”
As of yesterday, the crowdfund has raised almost $85,000
In a joint statement, Eric Bland and Ronnie Ritcher shared that “SLED officials have revealed that they did not need to exhume Stephen Smith’s body to convince them that his death was a homicide. However, they will be present and participate in any exhumation of Stephen’s body to gather more evidence. We are committed to finding out what really happened, and getting the peace and justice the Smith family deserves.”