In the wake of Qnotes‘ report March 17 on renewed interest in the death of South Carolina gay nursing student Stephen Smith, Buster Murdaugh, son of former attorney and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh, has released a statement through his attorneys in response to the ongoing speculation that he may have been involved in Smith’s death.

“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. I love them so much and miss them terribly.

“I haven’t spoken up until now because I want to live in private while I cope with their deaths and my father’s incarceration.

“Before, during and since my father’s trial I have been targeted and harassed by the media and followers of the story. This has gone on far too long.

“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.

“I am requesting that the media immediately stop publishing these defamatory comments and rumors about me.”

While no one in the Smith family or any attorneys representing them have come forward and specifically said they believed Buster or any of the Murdaugh family members were responsible for Stephen Smith’s death, Stephen’s mother Sandy Smith has said that she did not believe her son was involved with Buster because “[Stephen] preferred older people.”

To date, no suspects have ever been specifically named in Stephen Smith’s death, but the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) stated they reopened the investigation into the 2015 death on June 22, 2021, based on information gathered during the Murdaugh homicide investigations.

As well, Smith family friend Suzanne Andrews also told Charleston television station WCSC-TV that the Murdaugh family name comes up 40 times in investigative files she has.

Sandy Smith raises funds for independent autopsy of son

In another development since the story appeared in Qnotes, Sandy Smith has reportedly raised over $60,000 through a GoFundMe account to have son Stephen’s body exhumed from his plot in the Gooding Cemetery and another autopsy performed by an independent source. 

“I could not have imagined when we began this fundraiser that it would take off the way it did,” Smith wrote to the many people who donated money to the effort. “Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s story to be swept under the rug. We will pursue the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way.”

Stephen Smith’s body was found July 8, 2015 on Sandy Run Road in rural Hampton County, South Carolina. He was 19 at the time of his death. Today, a roadside wooden cross marks the spot where Smith’s body was found, bearing his name and date of birth and passing.

David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...

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