Rape kit ordered on Stephen Smith within hours of his death

  • Stephen Smith's body was discovered July 2015 on a South Carolina road
  • His death is now being reinvestigated
  • New details have continued to come out about his case

(NewsNation) — A rape kit was reportedly ordered hours after Stephen Smith’s body was discovered following what officials initially claimed was a hit-and-run.

Michael Duncan, a former South Carolina Highway Patrol supervisor, told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield during an exclusive interview Wednesday that this was the first time he had seen this kind of kit being ordered for a traffic accident. 

Eric Bland, the attorney representing the Smith family, later confirmed to PEOPLE that a rape kit was performed. However, it was not tested, he said. 

Highway patrol officials were never given any more information about the kit, Duncan said on “Banfield.” Troopers were not given the opportunity to present their findings either, he added. 

“I have no answers for you for why they would order a rape kit for what would be suspected as a hit-and-run — which it wasn’t,” Duncan said. 

According to Duncan, Smith’s wounds didn’t make sense with a hit-and-run.

“I’ve never seen wounds like this that come from a car,” Duncan said. “In totality, it did not make sense why they were calling it a traffic accident.”

Duncan was working during the incident, but he never went to the scene. He said troopers received a call to stay back.

What’s known is that on July 8, 2015, Smith was on his way home from nursing school when it appears he ran out of gas. His car was found down a dark rural road in Hampton County, South Carolina, while his body was eventually found three miles away in the middle of a road. There were no skid marks or other physical evidence that Smith was hit by a vehicle.

His death was investigated by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety but never solved.

Now, South Carolina authorities are reinvestigating Smith’s death, and they no longer believe he was killed in an accident. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced a separate investigation into Smith’s death based on information “gathered during the course of the (Alex Murdaugh) double-murder investigation.”

Alex Murdaugh is a former South Carolina lawyer recently convicted of the murders of his wife, Maggie and son, Paul. There is no known evidence linking any Murdaugh family members to Smith’s death, though their names did come up during the investigation into what happened to him. 

SLED agents did not elaborate on what information came up during the Murdaugh investigation, or how it connects to Smith’s case.

Steve Peterson is a former investigative consultant for Smith’s family. He told “Banfield” that the case has been “screwed up completely.”

Still searching for answers, Smith’s family has raised enough money for an independent exhumation and autopsy. According to his mom, Sandy’s, GoFundMe page, an independent autopsy would be about $7,000 while a private medical examiner would cost about $750 per hour. As of Friday, the family has raised $106,599, a number way higher than the original goal of $15,000.

Sandy Smith, on the page, said her family is grateful to the people who came together “to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen.”


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