The murder trial of Alex Murdaugh brought renewed attention to the case of Stephen Smith, whose body was discovered in South Carolina in 2015. Smith’s mother claims she has now raised enough money to have her son’s body exhumed for an independent examination.
In the month of July 2015, the body of Stephen Smith was discovered on Sandy Run Road in Hampton County. At the time, he was only 19 years old. Accidental death was listed as the official cause of death. No one has been taken into custody since then.
The South Carolina Department of Law Enforcement reopened its investigation into Stephen’s death in June of 2021. They released a statement explaining that evidence uncovered during the Paul and Maggie Murdaugh murder investigation prompted them to open an investigation into this killing as well.
SLED Director of Public Information Renée Wunderlich responded to recent inquiries from WYFF News 4 about the Smith case by issuing a statement.
The investigation into Stephen Smith’s death is still underway, but “SLED has made progress,” Wunderlich said. Sandy Smith, Stephen’s mother, has started a GoFundMe to collect funds for an independent autopsy and the exhumation of her son’s body.
As of Friday 17 March, morning, $41,720 had been donated out of a targeted $15,000.
On Thursday 16 March, she updated me with the following:
“Our family is so very grateful to all of you who came together to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen. I could not have imagined when we began this fundraiser that it would take off the way that it did.
Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s story to be swept under a rug. We will pursue the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way. Thank you for the kind words, prayers and donations. You have made this possible, and it means the world to us. This is Stephen’s year.”
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This is what she originally wrote in her GoFundMe appeal:
“We feel it’s critical to seek a new goal – an independent exhumation and autopsy – and we’re launching Justice for Stephen N. Smith with that immediate goal in mind. While the state can elect and fund an exhumation and new autopsy, it is our understanding that it would be carried out at MUSC, where his death was initially classified as hit-and-run despite no evidence to support it.
“We need a new, unbiased look at his body and an accurate determination of his cause of death based on facts. There was no debris in the road, and his injuries were not consistent with a hit-and-run.
“We have learned that an independent autopsy will be approximately $7,000. In addition, a private medical examiner must be present from the start of the exhumation through the examination period at a cost of approximately $750 per hour.
“It is a huge expense, but we are hoping that with your support we can make this happen and finally get the answers we need. If you can give, we thank you for your generosity. If you cannot give, we would appreciate you sharing and praying for justice for Stephen.”
There is no further news at this time regarding the Stephan Smith Autopsy. Anyone who has any fresh information about this case is encouraged to share it with us in the comments section.
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