'He was murdered': Former highway patrol Lt. recalls finding Stephen Smith's body in middle of road

ByEva Pilgrim ABCNews logo
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
New details on investigation after family of Buster Murdaugh's killed classmate speak out
State authorities reopening the investigation into Stephen Smith's death after saying they found new evidence while looking into the Murdaugh murders.

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- There is new fallout from the Alex Murdaugh double murder case, as well as new developments in the investigation into the death of Stephen Smith.

Smith, who died eight years ago, was a classmate of Murdaugh's son Buster.

RELATED: Buster Murdaugh speaks out as Stephen Smith's body will be exhumed for private autopsy

"I mean, I definitely think he was he was murdered," said Tommy Moore, a former lieutenant for South Carolina Highway Patrol.

In a new interview with ABC affiliate WCIV, Moore recalled when he found Smith's body in the middle of a road.

"Before I could get out the car good, the coroner said, 'No, no, this not a wreck. Its' a murder,'" Moore said.

Authorities classified Smith as a victim of a hit and run. However, Moore said -- from what he saw - it didn't look like Smith was hit by a car.

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"There's two things that come to my mind either: He was murdered there, or he was murdered elsewhere and dropped there," Moore said.

Smith's family is now raising over $80,000 to exhume the 19 year old's body for an independent autopsy.

"My hope is that we can find the right people that we need to just start from the beginning and to get us answers," said Smith's mom, Sandy Smith.

State authorities are reopening the investigation into Smith's death in June 2021, after saying they found new evidence while looking into the Murdaugh double murders.

RELATED: What happened to Stephen Smith? Spinoff investigations heat up in wake of Murdaugh family murders

They recently said they have made progress in the death investigation of Smith, however, this investigation remains active and ongoing.

"I'm hoping to get the truth of what happened to my son. I just want justice and I feel it wasn't done right the first time," Sandy said.

Buster Murdaugh also broke his silence this week to address what he called "vicious rumors."

"These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false. I unequivocally deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family," Buster said.

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