Police have released the heartbreaking 911 call placed by the heir of a South Carolina legal dynasty after he found his wife and son shot dead in the grounds outside the family’s hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh, 53, is heard sobbing and gasping in distress as he tells the dispatcher ‘my wife and child have been shot badly’ and repeatedly pleads with them to ‘please hurry’.
He says neither his son Paul nor wife Maggie were breathing when he found them by the kennels of their estate and that he has not seen anyone else in the area or noticed anything out of place.
Paul, 22, and Maggie, 52, were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7, while Paul was awaiting trial for the 2019 boating death of a 19-year-old woman.
More than six weeks on from the slayings, the murders remain a mystery with no arrests, suspects or persons of interest named by authorities – and no one also formally ruled out of the investigation.
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Buster, Margaret ‘Maggie’, Paul and Richard Alex ‘Alec’ Murdaugh (left to right). Police have released audio of the 911 call placed by Alex after he reportedly found his wife and son shot dead in the grounds outside the family’s hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina
Investigators with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) released the 911 call and redacted call log Thursday after coming under increasing pressure to make records relating to the high-profile murders public.
Murdaugh placed the distraught 911 call at 10.07pm after he said he had returned to the home from visiting his sick father. Maggie and Paul’s time of death was placed between 9pm and 9.30pm.
In the six-minutes of audio obtained by DailyMail.com Murdaugh can be heard whimpering and wailing as he calls in the gruesome discovery.
‘This is Alex Murdaugh at 4147 Moselle Road,’ he tells the dispatcher.
‘I need the police and an ambulance immediately. My wife and child have been shot badly.’
The dispatcher confirms the address with him, with Murdaugh repeating it back and begging ‘please hurry.’
The Hampton County Dispatcher connects Murdaugh with a Colleton County dispatcher, telling him to stay on the line as he is heard gasping and sobbing.
Murdaugh says ‘it’s bad’ as dispatcher Angel Fraser asks him questions to get more information.
‘Are they breathing?’ asks Fraser.
Murdaugh replies: ‘No ma’am.’
‘Are they in a vehicle,’ Fraser continues.
‘No ma’am. They’re on the ground out at my kennels,’ Murdaugh replies sobbing.
Murdaugh is asked if he has seen anyone else around in the area and if his wife and son are breathing, to which he cries ‘no.’
The dispatcher continues to ask for details about the home as law enforcement head to the scene.
Investigators with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) released the 911 call and redacted call log Thursday after coming under increasing pressure to make records relating to the high-profile murders public
Investigators also released the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) report of the night of the killings. It shows police impounded a 2021 Chevrolet Suburban owned by Hampton based law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick – where Murdaugh and his brother work
At times, Murdaugh is unintelligible, breathless, and apparently moving around the property, while the family’s dogs are heard barking in the background.
‘Did you hear anything or come home and find them?’ asks the dispatcher.
‘No ma’am, I’ve been gone. I just came back,’ Murdaugh replies.
‘Was anyone else supposed to be at your home?’ the dispatcher continues.
‘No ma’am,’ he replies, before again pleading: ‘Please hurry.’
When asked again if his wife and son are breathing or moving at all, Murdaugh sobs: ‘Nobody [is breathing] at all.’
The dispatcher asks if he notices anything out of place.
‘Not particularly really, no ma’am,’ he replies.
At one point he states: ‘I’ve been up to it now…It’s bad.’
A few minutes into the call, Murdaugh says he is ‘going back down there’ and appears to be moving around.
When the dispatcher tells him not to touch the bodies ‘in case they can get any evidence,’ Murdaugh says: ‘I already touched them to see if they were breathing.’
The dispatcher asks him to turn on the lights on his car so emergency services can find the kennels.
Murdaugh then tells the operator he needs to go to ‘call some of my family.’
The SLED said in a statement that it was releasing the calls ‘in the interest of transparency’.
Alex Murdaugh, 53, is heard sobbing and gasping in distress as he tells the dispatcher ‘my wife and child have been shot badly’ and repeatedly pleads with them to ‘please hurry’ to the estate (pictured above)
The bodies were said to be found near a dog kennel on the family’s property on June 7
Investigators also released the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) report of the night of the killings.
It shows that police impounded a 2021 Chevrolet Suburban owned by Hampton based law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick – where both Murdaugh and his brother work.
To date, police have given little away about the investigation into the murders that have rocked the small South Carolina community.
Heavily redacted police reports and the 911 call were released only after The Post and Courier newspaper sued the SLED, saying the agency was breaking the state’s open records law.
Murdaugh was interviewed by officers on June 10, three days after the murders.
Sources close to him state that he has a ‘cast iron alibi’ for the night of the killings and that he was merely co-operating with the investigation to clear himself.
The Murdaugh family has loomed large over the small county seat of Hampton where their legal dynasty has dominated for the better part of a century.
Three generations of the family have held the title of solicitor, with sway over the fate of criminal cases in South Carolina’s 14th Judicial Circuit and the name carries a legacy of power and influence.
Paul, Margaret, Alec and Buster. In the 911 call, Alex says neither Paul nor Maggie were breathing when he found them by the kennels of their estate and that he has not seen anyone else in the area or noticed anything out of place
Paul, 22, (left) and Maggie, 52, (right) were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7
Alec and Margaret pictured together. More than six weeks on from the slayings, the murders remain a mystery with no arrests, suspects or persons of interest named by authorities
One theory that investigators are understood to have considered is that Paul was the target of the killing and his mother’s presence was ‘unfortunate happenstance.’
Paul was awaiting trial for his part in a fatal 2019 boat accident that claimed the life of 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Paul was on a $50,000 bond and facing three felony counts – two of boating under the influence and one of causing death and bodily injury.
According to legal documents seen by DailyMail.com Paul was ‘highly intoxicated,’ ‘drunk’, and ‘belligerent,’ on the February night two years ago when he sped his boat into a piling on Archers Creek following an evening of drinking and an oyster roast.
State wildlife officers recently released some records from their investigation into the boat crash that included statements from nurses at the hospital where Paul and others on the boat were taken.
The nurses said Alex Murdaugh and his former prosecutor father came to the emergency room and tried to talk to everyone on the boat.
Two nurses said he was looking closely at a board staff uses to track patients.
One nurse said she told Alex to stay in his son’s room or leave the hospital and told a security guard to keep an eye on him.
Investigators were trying to figure out who was driving the boat. They didn’t find out it was Paul until weeks later.
Last month DailyMail.com revealed that all of the survivors of that crash and members of Beach’s family voluntarily provided their DNA to police investigating the double-homicide.
Paul had been awaiting trial on charges relating to the 2019 boating death of Mallory Beach (pictured), who was thrown from the boat Paul was allegedly driving while drunk when he crashed it
All of the survivors testified to Murdaugh being drunk and there being arguments over his determination to drive his boat
Other mysterious deaths in the family’s past have also come to light, with police investigating the double murder announcing they had reopened their probe of a 2015 death of a gay teen.
Stephen Smith, 19, was found dead in July 2015 in the middle of Sandy Run Road around 15 miles from the Murdaugh family’s hunting lodge.
DailyMail.com revealed that despite investigators on the scene being convinced of foul play and finding no evidence of any vehicle involvement the death was written off as a hit and run.
Police said he was struck by a vehicle while walking on a two-lane road after his car ran out of gas.
Stephen’s mother has always believed it was a hate crime and that her son was beaten to death, rather than being struck by a vehicle, and his murder covered up.
DailyMail.com also revealed that investigators aggressively pursued tips questioning the dead boy’s ‘relationship’ with Paul’s older brother Richard ‘Buster’ Murdaugh whose name came up numerous times in case-notes we obtained.
No one has ever been arrested or charged over his death but investigators at the time received anonymous tips suggesting Paul and his older brother Buster as persons of interest, according to FITSNews.
Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith (above)
In 2018, Paul’s father Richard ‘Alec’ Murdaugh settled a wrongful death claim in the ‘trip and fall’ death of their 57-year-old housekeeper Gloria Satterfield (pictured)
In 2018, Alex also settled a wrongful death claim in the ‘trip and fall’ death of their 57-year-old housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.
The SLED Midlands division is handling the investigation into deaths of Smith and the Murdaughs.
The agency took over the investigation into the double murder after the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office handed over the case due to the Murdaugh family ties to the 14th Circuit solicitor’s office.
Three generations of the family – Alex’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather – ran the office nearly consecutively from 1920 through 2005, while Alex still works as a part-time prosecutor in the office.
Commenting on Paul and Maggie’s murders, SLED spokesman Tommy Cosby said only: ‘We will continue to evaluate other materials in this case and will release additional information at the appropriate time.’