The death of a South Carolina man who was found on a rural road about 15 miles from the home of now-convicted killer Alex Murdo is being investigated as a homicide, the state law enforcement agency said Tuesday.
Lawyers for the family of 19-year-old Steven Smith said the investigation into the murder was a major development. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said it has been investigating this since 2021.
“SLED is investigating the death of Stephen Smith in 2015 as a homicide and has been investigating it since 2021,” agency spokeswoman René Wunderlich said Tuesday.
The confirmation, which the family lawyers say came from a phone call with SLED chief Mark Keel, comes almost three weeks after Murdo was found guilty of killing his wife and adult son in a highly publicized case.
No one was arrested or charged in Smith’s death. His body was found around 4 a.m. on July 8, 2015, on a rural road in Hampton County, about 15 miles from Murdo’s home.
An autopsy report at the time indicated that the cause of death was a collision with a car, as Smith was a pedestrian who apparently walked after running out of gas.
Smith’s family members do not believe it was a hit-and-run.
Smith’s death received renewed attention in 2021 when SLED said it was launching an investigation into his death “based on information gathered from the double murder investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdo.”
What this information is, the agency did not say.
Alex Murdo, an attorney from a prominent South Carolina family, was convicted March 2 of the murder and other counts of murder of his wife, Maggie, and their youngest son, 22-year-old Paul.
Murdo was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He is also accused of financial crimes.