GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The timeline surrounding the Murdaugh family stretches back years. The family name has appeared in headlines consistently since 2015.
A double murder, insurance fraud, a deadly boating accident and a dead housekeeper are some of the events surrounding the Murdaugh family.
Many in the Upstate may not have known the name Murdaugh until recently, but in South Carolina’s Lowcountry the family name holds power.
Upstate public affairs consultant Chip Felkel said he is not tied to the case, but like many, he has been following it closely.
“This family has been powerful, and at the center of power and influence there for almost 100 years,” Felkel said.
That power is what has pushed the name into headlines as tragic events seem to surround the Murdaughs.
Upstate attorney John Reckenbeil said he has been keeping a close eye on the case.
“The slow drip that we are getting daily about this is just really disconcerting,” Reckenbeil said.
The intertwining cases date back to July 2015 when a young man was found dead in Hampton County.
“Stephen Smith who was found by the side of the road, allegedly of, you know, drive-by, [he was] hit,” Felkel explains.
The case initially was investigated by South Carolina Highway Patrol, and the case was reopened by SLED in June of this year after more information was discovered in connection to another criminal case surrounding the Murdaughs.
Then in February of 2018, the family housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, died in what was then classified as an accident.
“[She] apparently fell and tripped down some stairs, and her family is saying they never got the settlement that was agreed to there as well,” Felkel said.
Something local lawyers said should have raised red flags from the start.
“I know, in personal injury cases, you would have to fight extensively to get such a high settlement,” Reckenbeil said.
That case was reopened by SLED this week.
A year later, in February 2019, a tragic boating accident killed a young woman named Mallory Beach.
“The younger Murdaugh son was there and was apparently driving the boat,” Felkel said.
That son, Paul Murdaugh, was facing related charges until June of this year when he and his mother were found murdered.
Their bodies were found by husband and father, Alex Murdaugh. They had been shot. No arrests have been made. And just a few weeks ago, Alex Murdaugh was shot, in what is now being investigated as insurance fraud.
“It is grabbing world attention because you just can’t make the facts up in this case, and it just gets worse every single day,” Reckenbeil said.
“This went from a news story, to a movie, to a mini-series all in about a couple of weeks,” Felkel said.
Some believe this could be a case of the Murdaugh family having powerful influence that allowed too much mystery and led to this point.
“A lot of influence across the board, nothing really happens unless the Murdaugh family says it happens,” Felkel said.
“We have to put a spotlight on things like this because it cannot continue,” Reckenbeil said.