This article is subscriber-only content. To get access to this and the rest of HeraldOnline.com, subscribe or sign in.

Thanks for reading! To enjoy this article and more, please subscribe or sign in.

Unlimited Digital Access

$1.99 for 1 month

Subscribe with Google

$1.99 for 1 month

Let Google manage your subscription and billing.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to the HeraldOnline.com's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
No thanks, go back

Are you a subscriber and unable to read this article? You may need to upgrade. Click here to go to your account and learn more.

South Carolina

Alex Murdaugh tried to interfere with boat crash investigation at hospital, docs show

 
READ MORE

2019 Boat Crash Coverage

The crash of a Murdaugh family boat in 2019 killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach and started a chain of events that would remain in the news two years later. Here are the stories from that crash.

EXPAND ALL

Hampton South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh is facing lawsuits tied to the boating death of Mallory Beach and trip and fall death of Gloria Satterfield.

SC responded Wednesday to a petition alleging a civil conspiracy in Mallory Beach boat crash. SCDNR included a copy of boat passenger Connor Cook’s deposition.

Defense attorneys said they would have argued issues with evidence, police & witness statements against Paul Murdaugh in 2019 Mallory Beach boat crash trial.

After the 2019 boat crash near Beaufort SC, at least 3 aboard — Connor Cook, Mallory Beach, Paul Murdaugh — had illegal BAC levels, according to SLED.

The SC Attorney General’s Office’s case file shows extensive damage to the boat allegedly driven by Paul Murdaugh that crashed and killed Mallory Beach

Where were passengers seated before the Beaufort SC 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach? Documents released after Paul Murdaugh’s killing offer details.

SC AG’s Office on Friday dropped all BUI charges against Paul Murdaugh in Mallory Beach boat crash after his homicide in June. The investigation remains open.

Paul Murdaugh had BAC three times higher than legal limit in 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, forensic toxicologist says. He was murdered 2 months ago.

Documents from the night Mallory Beach was killed in a boat crash show Alex Murdaugh tried to interfere at hospital, limit suspects’ interviews with police.

DNR documents show a timeline of events, where boaters went, prior to the 2019 SC boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. Paul Murdaugh was indicted for the crash.

New depositions in Mallory Beach family civil case show police were unsure whether Paul Murdaugh or Connor Cook was driving the boat in 2019 South Carolina crash.

New depositions filed on behalf of Connor Cook show several inconsistencies by investigators after the 2019 boat crash that Paul Murdaugh was ultimately charged for.

Interviews from SC DNR, Sheriff’s Office give new information about the 2019 deadly boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, led to charges for Paul Murdaugh.

Connor Cook, one of the passengers in the 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, filed a petition claiming civil conspiracy during the investigation that charged Paul Murdaugh.

South Carolina Attorney General’s Office begins investigation how police responded Mallory Beach boat crash killing, where Paul Murdaugh was indicted for BUI.

A lawyer for Mallory Beach’s family says police improperly investigated, influenced the 2019 SC boat crash investigation for which Paul Murdaugh was indicted.

Almost 20 months after Paul Murdaugh crashed a boat into a bridge near Beaufort SC and killed Mallory Beach, the lawsuit her mother filed may go to trial.

Hampton SC teen Mallory Beach killed in Beaufort boat crash in 2019. On death anniversary, a look at events surrounding wreck, Paul Murdaugh criminal charges.

Parker’s #55 Convenience Store says via court documents Paul Murdaugh and his family used a plan of deceit to trick a clerk when buying alcohol ahead of a Beaufort County boat crash that killed teen Mallory Beach.

The family of Mallory Beach is asking that a civil case connected to a fatal 2019 boat crash stay in Hampton County and that a judge deny a motion to change venue to Beaufort County previously filed by Parkers 55.

Phillip Beach, Mallory Beach’s dad, remembers his life with his teen daughter a year after she was killed in a Beaufort County boat crash. He asks for justice in the criminal and civil cases.

A motion filed by an attorney representing Mallory Beach’s mom in a wrongful death lawsuit says Parker’s has failed to provide evidence in the civil case over the fatal boat crash that killed the teen.

Months after 19-year-old Mallory Beach died in a boat crash near Parris Island SC, a motion to move the civil case from Hampton County to Beaufort County was filed. No date has been set in Paul Murdaugh’s trial.

Paul Murdaugh, the son of a powerful Hampton SC family, was the only driver IDed by victims the night of the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, recently released reports say. No trial date set.

911 calls show confusion among Beaufort County police, fire and rescue officials after the boat crash that killed Hampton County teen Mallory Beach. No charges filed yet in the case that involved alcohol.

Paul Murdaugh, the Hampton man facing felony BUI charges in the fatal boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, asked Beaufort County SC court to change his bond conditions so he can go to University of South Carolina.

Paul Murdaugh, the Hampton, SC man accused of drunkenly driving the boat that crashed near Parris Island and killed Mallory Beach, was charged with an alcohol violation in 2017 in Beaufort, SC area by DNR.

Paul Murdaugh, of Hampton, SC, filed a motion to change the conditions of his bond in the case of the fatal Beaufort County boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. Murdaugh faces 3 felony charges

Paul Murdaugh, the 20-year-old Hampton Co. man facing 3 felony boating under the influence charges in the fatal crash that killed Mallory Beach in Beaufort County SC, was allowed to take his mugshot wearing his own clothes.

Two judges have asked to be removed from a Hampton County lawsuit alleging a former solicitor, Randolph Murdaugh III, allowed underage drinking before a Beaufort County SC boat crash that killed Mallory Beach.

An attorney for Mallory Beach’s mom has subpoenaed the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for the investigative case file on a Beaufort County SC boat crash that killed the teen in February.

Paul Murdaugh, of Hampton, SC, is set to appear in a Beaufort County court Monday. The 20-year-old from a powerful family is accused of drunkenly driving the boat that crashed near Beaufort and killed Mallory Beach.

Paul Murdaugh of Hampton SC indicted on 3 counts, boating under the influence causing death and two counts of BUI causing great bodily harm, in the Feb. 24 Beaufort Co. boat crash that killed Mallory Beach.

Paul Murdaugh, 20, has not been arrested on charges connected to a Beaufort County SC boat crash that killed Mallory Beach in February. He was charged last week with boating while intoxicated causing death.

South Carolina attorney General has received the report into SCDNR’s investigation of the Mallory Beach boat crash. Beach died in a bridge crash where alcohol was involved just outside of Parris Island.

Mallory Beach’s mother filed suit in Hampton County against 3 Murdaugh family members. The lawsuit claims the former solicitor allowed minors to drink alcohol on his property before the fatal Feb. boat crash.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has recused itself from the investigation into where the 18-to 20-year-old boaters bought and consumed alcohol prior to a Feb. 24 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach.

Mallory Beach’s mother is suing the Beaufort, SC party hosts, bar, and business that allegedly provided alcohol to minors who were in the boating crash that killed the 19 year old near Parris Island bridge.

The owner of a boat involved in a Beaufort County boat crash that killed teen Mallory Beach of Hampton County on Feb. 24 will be sued in the future, an attorney for Beach’s mother said.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources said “charges are very possible” in the investigation of a Parris Island boat accident that killed Mallory Beach, a Hampton County teen. Beach was missing for a week after the Feb. 24 crash.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials say two people suspected of driving a boat that crashed into a bridge near Parris Island killing teen Mallory Beach on Feb. 24 have yet to talk to investigators.

Hundreds attended a funeral for Mallory Beach, 19, of Hampton County Thursday. Beach went missing after a Feb. 24 boating crash in Beaufort County. Her body was found Sunday.

A sobriety test was not offered to two boaters suspected of possibly being the driver of a fatal boat crash in Beaufort County, officials have said. Hampton County teen Mallory Beach was killed in the Feb. 24 accident.

A body found Sunday has been identified as missing boater Mallory Beach. Beach was ejected from the boat she was riding on when it crashed into a bridge in Beaufort County. She was missing for a week.

Volunteers helped search Beaufort County rivers for Mallory Beach, who went missing Feb. 24 after the boat she was in crashed into a bridge near Parris Island. A boater discovered a body in a marsh Sunday afternoon.

A female body has been found near where Mallory Beach, 19, of Hampton County went missing, sources say. Beach has been missing for a week, after the boat she was a passenger in struck a piling on a bridge in Beaufort County at 2 a.m. on Feb. 24.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources is still investigating who was driving a boat that crashed into a Beaufort County bridge early Sunday morning. The search continues for missing Hampton County teen.

Members of the well-connected Murdaugh family in South Carolina were in legal trouble after a boat crash killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach near Beaufort, SC.

A search for a teenager Mallory Beach, missing since a boat crashed into a bridge off Parris Island, SC, early Sunday morning, continued Tuesday. Officials said they don’t yet know whether alcohol had a role in the accident.

A water search for a boater missing after a boat crashed into a bridge in a Parris Island creek continued Monday. SCDNR, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and other emergency officials searched for Mallory Beach.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources and local agencies are searching the Archers Creek waterway near Shell Point for a female boater who went missing after the boat she was on crashed into a bridge early Sunday morning.

This story first published July 20, 2021.

New documents released from the 2019 boat crash investigation involving Paul Murdaugh reveal how extensively his father, an influential attorney, inserted himself in the early hours of the criminal investigation.

In the morning hours of Feb. 24, 2019, Murdaugh’s father, Alex, a volunteer prosecutor for the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, and his grandfather, Randolph, the former solicitor, burst into Paul Murdaugh’s room in Beaufort Memorial Hospital. They forbade police from obtaining any statements from the 20-year-old, according to several witness statements and interviews.

Click to resize

Investigators with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources were there to figure out who was driving: Paul Murdaugh or Connor Cook, one of the five others in the boat.

Several hospital workers noted how Alex Murdaugh, the boat’s owner, attempted to intercept other boat passengers before officers interviewed them, according to the tranche of documents released on Friday.

“Mr. Murdaugh seemed to be trying to orchestrate everyone getting on the same page,” according to one nurse.

DNR’s release of documents comes more than seven weeks after Paul Murdaugh, who was indicted in the crash near Parris Island that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach, was found shot to death, along with his mother. Police have provided no information on suspects or motives in the June 7 double homicide.

 

Earlier this month, lawyers for Cook filed a civil petition alleging that some law enforcement officers may know about efforts to hamper the crash investigation and shift blame away from Murdaugh.

Sworn statements attached to the petition outlined several inconsistencies, deviations from common police practices and inaction by officers involved in the investigation.

‘Concern was staying out of trouble’

Alex Murdaugh’s behavior at the hospital the night of the boat crash was so troublesome that ER staff told him to either go back to his son’s room or leave the ER, according to the nurse in charge of the ER at the time.

The nurse, Linda Blount, asked a security guard to “keep an eye” on Alex Murdaugh and make sure he did not go into other passengers’ rooms, according to documents.

Alex Murdaugh, fourth generation of a powerful S.C. dynasty and owner of a boat involved in a fatal accident, leaves a hearing in a personal injury lawsuit at the Richland County Courthouse. John Monk

Karen Taylor, the nurse assigned to Murdaugh’s room, told DNR investigators that “Paul’s father spoke with Connor’s parents and after the conversation they told Connor not to say anything.”

Connor Cook’s written statement to DNR about the crash was two sentences, one of which read: “I remember seeing the bridge and that’s about it.”

Taylor, Murdaugh’s nurse, said Alex Murdaugh asked a DNR officer “multiple times if he had reason to believe that Paul was driving the boat.”

Two nurses said Murdaugh was looking through the emergency room’s tracking board, which assigns patients and nurses to rooms.

Alex Murdaugh stopped Connor Cook on his way to a CT scan and told him not to say anything and that he would take care of it, an ER technician told investigators.

Taylor “got the impression that the concern was staying out of trouble rather than what occurred,” according to her interview.

What happened in the crash?

Paul Terry Murdaugh uses a flashlight to see his father’s boat at the Beaufort Day Dock in this video surveillance still at 1:13 a.m. on Feb. 24, 2019 at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Mallory Beach, who died later that morning in the boating accident, is seen at back talking with her boyfriend. S.C. Department of Natural Resources

The 17-foot-boat was carrying six passengers when it crashed into bridge pilings in Archer’s Creek near Parris Island.

Mallory Beach was flung from the boat and went missing.

Divers with DNR spent days searching the area for Beach. Her body was found five miles from the crash site.

Several conflicting statements from passengers early in the investigation made it unclear whether Paul Murdaugh or Connor Cook was driving the boat.

Nobody was charged for nearly two months following the crash.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the Solicitor’s Office recused themselves from the investigation because of their ties to the Murdaugh family.

The S.C. Attorney General’s Office took over and indicted Paul Murdaugh. He pleaded not guilty.

‘Weird, corny teen drama movie’

In this Feb. 23, 2019 still from video surveillance, law enforcement says Paul Terry Murdaugh purchased alcohol and cigarettes using his brother’s identification at a Parker’s gas station on S.C. 170 in Ridgeland, S.C. S.C. Department of Natural Resources

Morgan Doughty, Paul Murdaugh’s ex-girlfriend, became noticeably anxious, according to her nurse, when Alex Murdaugh tried to get into her hospital room. Doughty wouldn’t let him come in.

From the hallway, Murdaugh kept telling the nurse that Doughty “was with him and that he needed to tell [her] what to say,” according to Doughty’s amended statement.

Blount, the nurse in charge of the ER, told investigators that she could smell alcohol on Alex Murdaugh and had to tell him multiple times to stay in his son’s room. She saw him try to get into Doughty’s room.

Several nurses noted that Paul Murdaugh had arrived at the hospital heavily intoxicated, in only wet boxers and socks. He tried to get out of his hospital bed three times, ripping off the monitors attached to his body, they reported.

Laura Kent, the ER technician, told investigators that Paul Murdaugh “did not express any concern” about the others involved in the crash.

When Kent asked Murdaugh for a urine sample, he smiled at her and asked Kent if she was going to help him, according to Kent’s sworn statement. Murdaugh also pointed to Kent’s buttocks and said “wow, that’s nice,” according to her statement.

Kent, who described the atmosphere of the ER as a “weird, corny teen drama movie,” also said that Alex Murdaugh was moving around the ER, trying to speak with other patients and watching the monitor to keep track of where the other patients were located, according to the record of her interview with investigators.

Shifting the blame?

The family’s behavior during the boat crash has come under scrutiny during the investigation into the deaths of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.

A state grand jury is reportedly looking into whether there was obstruction of justice by anyone in the boat crash investigation.

Among the documents released Monday, Anthony Cook, in a March 2019 interview with investigators, said he was worried about the Murdaugh family shifting blame from Paul Murdaugh to his cousin, Connor Cook.

“The Murdaughs are out to pin it on him,” he said.

This story was originally published July 20, 2021 3:45 PM.

$2 for 2 months
#ReadLocal

Subscribe for unlimited access to our website, app, eEdition and more

CLAIM OFFER
MORE SOUTH CAROLINA
Copyright Commenting Policy Privacy Policy Do Not Sell My Personal Information Terms of Service