The four survivors of a fatal boating accident for which the murdered scion of a powerful South Carolina family was awaiting trial have voluntarily stepped forward to give DNA samples and statements to investigators, DailyMail.com has learned.
Paul Murdaugh, 22, was gunned down alongside his mother Maggie, 52, in a brutal double homicide in the family’s sprawling hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina, Monday 7 June.
Murdaughs’ father, Maggie’s husband, Richard Alexander Murdaugh, 53, told investigators that he found the bodies outside the family’s hunting lodge, by the dog kennels when he returned from a night out. He placed a call to 911 at 10.07pm. The time of death has been placed between 9pm and 9.30pm.
Both had been shot multiple times: Paul in the head and torso with a shotgun, his mother with an assault rifle.
News of the survivors’ and Beach’s family members pro-active co-operation comes as Murdaugh’s uncles, Randy and John Marvin, appealed for information and told Good Morning America that their nephew had received threats in the wake of the accident.
Paul Murdaugh (center) was facing three felony charges in relation to a drunken boat crash in 2019 that killed a teenage girl at the time of his death. Paul, 22, and his mother Margaret, 52, were found shot dead at their hunting lodge in Islandton, South Carolina on the night of June 7
Mallory Beach (pictured ) was killed in a 2019 boating accident allegedly caused by Paul. Questions around a possible tie between her boating death and last week’s murders continue to mount as the state attorney general is refusing to close the case into the boat crash despite the death of the man accused of being culpable
Neither man specified any threat in particular as they said they had dismissed them as the work of a ‘crackpot.’
John said, ‘I didn’t think it was a credible threat. If it was I would have tried to something or notified someone. But I guess maybe I made a mistake.’
The younger Murdaugh was awaiting trial on three felony counts – two of boating under the influence and one of causing death and bodily injury – for his role the 2019 boating accident that claimed the life of 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Paul had been indicted and released on a $50,000 bond
He had been indicted and released on a $50,000 bond.
According to legal documents seen by DailyMail.com Murdaugh was ‘highly intoxicated,’ ‘drunk’ and ‘belligerent,’ on the February night two years ago when he sped his boat into a piling on Archer’s Creek.
All of the six youths on board that night were under 21, all were ejected from the vessel and all but Beach made it to shore.
Beach’s mother, Renee, has brought a wrongful death suit which is currently proceeding against the company who sold alcohol to Murdaugh, his father, who is known as Alex, and his older brother, Richard Alexander Jr, known as ‘Buster,’ whose ID Murdaugh used that day.
One theory into which investigators of Colleton County Sheriff’s Officer and South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division have said they are looking is that Murdaugh was the target of the killing while his mother’s death was unfortunate ‘happenstance.’
But, as rumors swirl around the deaths, DailyMail.com has learned that the four youngsters on board that night – Paul’s ex girlfriend Morgan Doughty, Beach’s boyfriend Anthony Cook, his cousin Connor Cook and Connor’s girlfriend, Beach’s best friend, Miley Altman – and members of Beach’s family have all given DNA samples to homicide investigators.
All of the survivors testified to Murdaugh being drunk and there being arguments over his determination to drive his boat. Beach’s boyfriend Anthony Cook offered to get an Uber but Murdaugh was insistent they would travel by boat despite the fog and the lack of any light on the vessel
‘We went from a two-mile-per-hour idle to the bow of the boat sticking up in the air and I went to the back,’ Anthony Cook said as he described the accident
Corporal John Keener, an officer on the scene on the night of the crash, spoke about Murdaught being ‘belligerent and stupid’ and generally difficult
Both Cook and Altman told how Murdaugh, ‘slapped, pushed and spat’ on his girlfriend Doughty as the bitter arguing continued
Doughty told how she and Beach cowered in the boat with their arms ‘intertwined,’ as Murdaugh continued the journey that was doomed to end in such tragedy
Will Folks, founding editor of local outlet Fitsnews.com told DailyMail.com, ‘All of the kids on the boat and their family members have voluntarily come forward to provide DNA samples and speak to investigative officers.’
SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby confirmed that investigators have also pulled digital and cell-phone records – including those belonging to Alex Murdaugh – to pin down individuals’ movements on and around the day of the murders. He described this as ‘a usual investigative process.’
Murdaugh was interviewed by investigating officers on Thursday 10 June. Sources close to him state that he has a ‘cast iron alibi’ for the night of the killings and that he is merely co-operating with the investigation to clear himself.
The Murdaugh family has loomed large over the small county seat of Hampton where their legal dynasty has dominated for the better part of a century.
Three generations of the family have held the title of solicitor, with sway over the fate of criminal cases in South Carolina’s 14th Judicial Circuit and the name carries a legacy of power and influence.
In a further twist in this murky tale DailyMail.com has learned that allegations of obstruction of justice in the original criminal enquiry into the boat crash are also being investigated.
According to Folks the information comes from law enforcement and prosecutorial sources with direct knowledge of the case.
Beach family attorney Mark Tinsley maintained that the family have ‘every confidence,’ in the Attorney General and described them as ‘hopeful’ that the AG’s office would, ‘continue to investigate and prosecute any improprieties related to any attempts by any members of law enforcement to influence the original criminal investigation related to the boat crash.’
Paul’s ex-girlfriend Morgan Doughty (pictured together) has been cooperating. According to Doughty, Paul was, ‘an angry drunk,’ who thought he was ‘invincible’
Mallory’s best friend, Miley Altman, is one of six who were on the boat the night of the fatal crash who provided DNA samples and spoken with SLED officers. Miley is pictured with Mallory as a child and before her death
Beach’s boyfriend Anthony Cook (pictured) agreed to give DNA samples to police and is cooperating with investigators
Anthony posted a heartbreaking tribute to his girlfriend Mallory who he called ‘the love of my life’
The information has emerged as DailyMail.com can reveal new details of the night of the crash as set out in the youngsters’ devastating depositions obtained by DailyMail.com and given as part of Renee Beach’s civil suit.
They paint a chaotic scene of the events leading up to and after the horrific incident which took place when Murdaugh insisted on boating downtown after an oyster roast on Paukie Island.
According to Murdaugh’s then girlfriend, Morgan Doughty, Murdaugh was, ‘an angry drunk,’ who thought he was ‘invincible.’
All of the survivors testified to Murdaugh being drunk and there being arguments over his determination to drive his boat. Beach’s boyfriend Anthony Cook offered to get an Uber but Murdaugh was insistent they would travel by boat despite the fog and the lack of any light on the vessel.
Cook told attorneys that Murdaugh had a ‘crazy’ alter-ego called ‘Timmy’ who came out when he was drunk.
On the night in question Cook stated, ‘The whole way everybody was fighting and arguing. We drifted around in circles numerous times. We idled along….Miley was steady hollering that she had to work the next morning. She was ready to go.
‘All Paul was doing was making a fool of himself…then for some reason Paul acted like he was on drugs or something.
‘He started taking off his clothes during one of the arguments and it is 40 degrees outside.’
According to Cook, Murdaugh stripped ‘all the way down to his boxers,’ and belligerently refused to let anyone else drive his boat.
Both Cook and Altman told how Murdaugh, ‘slapped, pushed and spat’ on his girlfriend Doughty as the bitter arguing continued.
Asked if Murdaugh had ever spat on her when he was sober, Doughty replied, ‘No.’ She admitted to having witnessed him smoking weed and taking cocaine on other occasions.
Describing the terrifying scenes as the youngsters begged Murdaugh to let someone else drive, or just take them home, Altman recalled, ‘I yelled at him once and he just told me..he was like..shut the eff up and sit the eff down. Nobody else is driving my boat.’
Doughty told how she and Beach cowered in the boat with their arms ‘intertwined,’ as Murdaugh continued the journey that was doomed to end in such tragedy.
Alex’s brothers Randy and John Marvin Murdaugh (left and right) revealed Paul had been receiving threats from strangers but insisted the family did not have enemies
Ultimately, Cook remembered, the boat suddenly took off. In a chilling recollection he said ,’We went from a two-mile-per-hour idle to the bow of the boat sticking up in the air and I went to the back.’
Cook pulled Beach down next to him and held onto her but the next thing he knew, he testified, he was ‘waking up’ in the water, grabbing at piles of weed and debris and fighting against the swift current and frigid temperatures.
In among the panic the survivors quickly established that nobody could locate Beach.
In an emotional Facebook post barely a month after Beach’s death Cook wrote how he would have to live the rest of his life, ‘with the memory of getting thrown into the freezing pitch black water with the true love of my life in my arms.’
He wrote, ‘I had to swim against that current for 15 minutes in a panic screaming her name begging her to answer me. I had to swim to shore without her to save my own life and live in regret of that forever. I’m reminded of that by every little thing all day everyday!’
Charges against Murdaugh have been dismissed following his death but the criminal investigation into that night is still ongoing, as is Beach’s wrongful death suit.
The incident is still an open wound in the small community in and around Hampton. According to one local who asked not to be named the Murdaugh family moved from their home in town and onto their 1,700 acre hunting estate after the accident in a bid for privacy.
There was little movement at the property when DailyMail.com visited this week. One worker, who carried a firearm, arrived to feed the dogs still housed in the kennels next to the scene of last week’s gruesome discoveries. He declined to comment.