South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, the current patriarch of a longstanding legal dynasty, has been taken into custody by police on charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and filing a false police report. Murdaugh’s family has been at the center of a chaotic series of deaths and investigations, and some speculate that Murdaugh himself could be at the center of a vast criminal conspiracy.
The Murdaugh family has operated a law practice in the Low Country of South Carolina for over a century. The family has been in a position of power in the southeastern corner of the state for much of that time, with Alex Murdaugh’s great-grandfather founding a practice in 1910.
Throughout the years, criticisms were leveled at the Murdaugh family for their privileged position in the area: the Murdaughs were both prosecutors and personal injury lawyers, meaning that essentially everyone who found themselves in court in the Low Country was being represented by or prosecuted by a Murdaugh or someone who worked for the family.
In 2015, a man named Stephen Smith was found dead by the side of the road in Hampton County. Smith was a gay man, and his mother has insisted that he was killed by a group of young men who were the sons of powerful families in the area. The state highway police have documents that indicate they researched rumors that Alex Murdaugh’s son, Buster, could have been involved.
In 2019, Paul Murdaugh got into a boat accident, driving one of the family’s boats into a bridge piling while intoxicated. A young woman named Mallory Beach was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene, while many of the survivors of the accident were rushed to the hospital.
Paul was expected to stand trial for criminal charges relating to the accident. He was facing down charges including boating under the influence. In June of 2021, however, Paul and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, were found dead by Alex Murdaugh. The two had been shot, according to police reports, though the investigation into their deaths is ongoing.
Alex Murdaugh’s recent arrest was due to his role in a bizarre murder-for-hire plot, where he allegedly paid a client named Curtis Smith to shoot him by the side of the road. Murdaugh alleged that this was done so that his son, Buster, could collect the life insurance policy Alex had taken out on himself. Both Murdaugh and Smith will face criminal charges for this incident.
It is unclear what, exactly, is happening with the Murdaugh family. However, the state of South Carolina is currently gripped by the story, which continues to get stranger by the day.