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Stephen Smith's Death Officially Ruled Homicide 8 Years After Body Found Near Convicted Murderer Alex Murdaugh's Home

Stephen Smith's Death Officially Ruled Homicide 8 Years After Body Found
Source: COURTESY OF SANDY SMITH; Mega

Mar. 22 2023, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

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The death of Stephen Smith was officially ruled a homicide this week nearly eight years after his body was found near the home of convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh, RadarOnline.com has learned.

In a sudden development to come almost eight years after Smith’s body was found near the Murdaugh family home on July 8, 2015, the law firm representing Smith’s family announced on Tuesday that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has officially ruled the 19-year-old’s July 2015 death a homicide.

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Stephen Smith's Death Officially Ruled Homicide 8 Years After Body Found
Source: GoFundMe

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel also released a statement confirming that while the department did not need to exhume Smith’s body to rule his death a homicide, he and his officers will “be present and participate in any exhumation of Stephen's body to gather more evidence.”

“We have a chance to right eight years of wrongs, and we intend to do just that,” said Eric Bland, the attorney representing Smith’s family, according to Daily Mail.

Stephen Smith's Death Officially Ruled Homicide 8 Years After Body Found
Source: COURTESY OF SANDY SMITH

“SLED officials have revealed that they did not need to exhume Stephen Smith's body to convince them that his death was a homicide,” he continued in a statement Tuesday. “However, they will be present and participate in any exhumation of Stephen's body to gather more evidence.”

“We are committed to finding out what really happened, and getting the peace and justice the Smith family deserves.”

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As RadarOnline.com previously reported, 19-year-old Smith was found dead just outside the Murdaugh family’s Hampton, South Carolina home in July 2015.

Although the teenager’s death was initially ruled a hit-and-run, the investigation into Smith’s death was reopened in 2021 after new evidence was uncovered in connection to the murder of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

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Stephen Smith's Death Officially Ruled Homicide 8 Years After Body Found
Source: South Carolina Department of Corrections

Alex Murdaugh was then found guilty of murdering his wife Maggie and his son Paul last month and sentenced to life in prison.

Smith’s death officially being ruled a homicide this week also came just two days after Buster Murdaugh, Alex’s only surviving son, denied having any involvement in the 19-year-old’s 2015 death amid rumors suggesting the two had a relationship.

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Stephen Smith's Death Officially Ruled Homicide 8 Years After Body Found
Source: Mega

“I unequivocally deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family,” Buster, 26, wrote on Monday. “I am requesting that the media immediately stop publishing these defamatory comments and rumors about me.”

“I have tried my best to ignore the vicious rumors about my involvement in Stephen Smith's tragic death that continue to be published in the media as I grieve over the brutal murders of my mother and brother,” he added.

According to local reports, the Murdaugh family name was featured over 40 times in documents connected to the reopened investigation into Smith’s suspected murder.

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