COLUMBIA, S.C. — State police confirmed Monday that they have opened an investigation into missing money that a law firm said was taken by an attorney from a prominent South Carolina legal family whose wife and son were killed at their home three months ago.
Monday’s announcement means that, along with the investigation into the deaths, the State Law Enforcement Division has four other ongoing investigations into Alex Murdaugh and his family.
“I continue to urge the public to be patient and let this investigation take its course. Investigative decisions we make throughout this case and any potentially related case must ultimately withstand the scrutiny of the criminal justice process,” State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said in a two paragraph announcement.
Murdaugh’s PMPED law firm announced earlier this month that Murdaugh had misappropriated money from the business and was no longer associated with the firm. Exactly how much money might be missing has not been made public.
Just days after reporting a gunshot wound to his head, it became public that Murdaugh was accused of misappropriating funds, had resigned from the powerhouse law firm his family helped establish, and announced he was entering rehab.
On Sept. 4, state police confirmed reports that Murdaugh had called 911 to report being shot in the head along a rural road in Hampton County, and was transported to an area hospital with superficial injuries.
Murdaugh issued a statement two days later, saying: “The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret. I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.”
The law firm said in a statement last week that Murdaugh had resigned. “His resignation came after the discovery by PMPED that Alex misappropriated funds in violation of PMPED standards and policies,” the statement said.
“A forensic accounting firm will be retained to conduct a thorough investigation. Law enforcement and the SC Bar have been notified by PMPED,” the statement added. “This is disappointing news for all of us.”
In addition to the alleged misappropriated funds, other investigations are underway:
– On the night of June 7, Murdaugh called 911 Dispatch to report that his wife Margaret, 52, and son Paul, 22, had been shot and killed at their Colleton County hunting estate. SLED has announced no arrests have been made.
– As a result of information obtained in the course of the double-homicide investigation, SLED opened an investigation into the unsolved 2015 homicide involving Stephen Smith in Hampton County. The Murdaugh name was mentioned several times in statements taken by police in 2015.
-SLED has made no arrests in the active investigation of Murdaugh’s reported shooting on Sept. 4.
Murdaugh is the son of the late Randolph Murdaugh III, a former 14th Circuit Solicitor like his father, Randolph Jr., and grandfather, Randolph Sr., before him. For more than 85 years, this trio served as chief prosecutors over the five-county Lowcountry region.
The Murdaugh family was already in the regional spotlight following the February 2019 boat crash in Beaufort County in which Mallory Beach, 19, lost her life and Alex’s son, Paul, was facing three felony charges of felony boating under the influence.
Alex Murdaugh and others are still facing a wrongful death civil suit filed by Beach’s mother, Renee, on behalf of Mallory’s estate.
Contributing: Associated Press