Murdaugh double murders: South Carolina investigators release harrowing 911 calls

Alex Murdaugh 911 call

Newly released 911 calls reveal the harrowing first moments after Alex Murdaugh discovered his 22-year-old son, Paul, and 52-year-old wife, Maggie, had both been shot to death on their South Carolina property

One night in early June, South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh came home to find his son and wife shot dead near the kennels on their property in Islandton.

Newly released 911 calls reveal the harrowing first moments after Murdaugh discovered his 22-year-old son, Paul, and 52-year-old wife, Maggie, on the ground.

The recordings were released Thursday, weeks after Fox News put in a public records request regarding the June 7 incident.

In rushed, frantic words, Murdaugh tells the 911 dispatcher, “It’s bad.” 

“I need the police and an ambulance immediately,” he tells the dispatcher, his voice cracking. “My wife and child were shot badly.”

Early in the call, the dispatcher asks if the victims are breathing.

“No ma’am,” Murdaugh replies. 

A vehicle sits in the driveway of a home, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in rural Colleton County, near Islandton, S.C. A mother and son from a prominent South Carolina legal family were found shot and killed on the family’s land, and authorities said they have made no arrests in the double homicide case. Maggie Murdaugh , 52, and her son Paul Murdaugh, 22, were shot several times and their bodies were found near a dog kennel, Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey said. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP)
(Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP)

When asked if he saw anyone else in the area, he gave the same answer. Was anyone else supposed to be there? “No ma’am” again.

“Neither one of them’s moving.”

“What color is your house from the outside?” the dispatcher asks, information that could help responding deputies.

“It’s white,” Murdaugh replies. “[But] you can’t see it from the road.”

She later asks him to turn the flashers on in his vehicle to help first responders find the kennels, then asks him not to touch the bodies.

“I already touched them to see if they were breathing,” he replies.

“OK,” she says. “I just don’t want you to move anything just in case they can get any kind of evidence.”

As deputies were racing to the scene, Murdaugh repeatedly asked how long they’d be. Then he told the dispatcher he was going to call other family members as he waited for them to arrive.

Days later, Alex Murdaugh’s 81-year-old father, Randolph Murdaugh III, died of natural causes at his home in Varnville.

The tragedies have stricken the most prominent legal family in the region, which has a lucrative personal injury law firm and boasts three generations of 14th Circuit Solicitors, the top prosecutor for the four surrounding counties.

Paul Murdaugh mugshot
(South Carolina Attorney General’s Office/WTAT-TV/DT)

But Paul Murdaugh was facing felony boating while intoxicated charges stemming from a crash that killed one of his friends, Mallory Beach, and injured several others in 2019. His father is a part-time prosecutor in the solicitor’s office, which recused itself from the BWI case.

And state investigators said that while looking into the slayings, they found information that led them to reopen the 2015 case of 19-year-old Stephen Smith, who was found dead on a rural road with severe head trauma near another Murdaugh property.

His death had officially been ruled a hit-and-run, although that decision has proven controversial.

“There was no evidence that pointed towards this being a hit-and-run, or a vehicle even being involved in it,” former South Carolina State Trooper Todd Proctor, who led the preliminary investigation into Smith’s death, told Fox News last month.

“It looked like it was more staged,” he said. “Like possibly the body had been placed in the roadway.”

That’s because there were no tire marks in the road or broken car parts that might have fallen off, and Smith did not appear to have slid across the asphalt after an impact.

Police said Smith’s car was found without any gas and that he may have started walking and been hit in the head by the mirror of a passing tractor-trailer.

The link between the Murdaugh slayings and Smith’s death remains unclear.

Alex Murdaugh has not responded to multiple inquiries from Fox News.

Fox News’ Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.

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