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Investigators Release Harrowing 911 Call in Which Father of Prominent S.C. Family Says He Found Wife and Son Dead



Harrowing 911 audio of the moment the father of a prominent South Carolina family told dispatch he had just found his wife and son fatally shot has been released. The shocking discovery sparked the investigation into these still unsolved murders and cut short a criminal case against the son in a boating crash that killed Mallory Beach, 19, two years earlier.

As heard on audio, a clearly distraught Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh, 53, reported finding Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, shot dead June 7 on their property in Colleton County.

“My wife and child were shot badly,” he said. In his exchange with 911 dispatchers, he pleaded for first responders to hurry.

Alex Murdaugh told a dispatch he found them on the ground near his kennels. He did not see anyone in the area, he said.

“I just came back,” he said.

A dispatcher asked if anyone else was supposed to be at the house.

“No, ma’am,” he said.

Neither Maggie nor Paul were breathing or moving. Asked by a dispatcher not to touch them, he said he had touched them to see if they were breathing.



The newly released audio sheds no light on who killed the Murdaughs or why. The case caught national attention in part because Paul faced a felony trial for Beach’s death; a Murdaugh-owned boat crashed in the pilings of a local bridge, throwing them and another man into the water. Authorities blame Paul Murdaugh. He had been allegedly seen on surveillance video at a bar drinking two shots. He was indicted for boating under the influence causing death and two counts of boating under the influence causing great bodily injury. In the aftermath, Paul Murdaugh received death threats online, family said.

Both the homicides and the fatal boating crash also caught attention because Alex Murdaugh’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all served as solicitors of the 14th circuit. All told, a Murdaugh family member held the position for 87 consecutive years.

Maggie Murdaugh was killed with what seemed to be a rifle, while Paul was killed with a shotgun, sources said in an Island Packet report.

“The Beach family extends its deepest and warmest sympathies to the Murdaugh family during this terrible time,” said laywer Mark Tinsley, an attorney for Mallory Beach’s family, in a statement obtained by the outlet. “Having suffered the devastating loss of their own daughter, the family prays that the Murdaughs can find some level of peace from this tragic loss. They would like the family and the community to know that their thoughts and continued prayers are with the Murdaughs. It is their most sincere hope that someone will come forward and cooperate with authorities so that the perpetrator of these senseless crimes can be brought to justice.”

[Screengrab of the Murdaugh family’s Colleton County property via WLCJ]

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