(NewsNation) — Case files from the death investigation of South Carolina teen Stephen Smith reveal a tipster made police aware of two potential suspects, according to media reports.
Smith’s body was found in the middle of a Hampton County road in 2015, and his death was initially ruled a likely hit-and-run. State law enforcement have since reopened the case and are now considering it a homicide.
Case files reviewed by WTOC-TV show that someone called police in December 2015 to report two young men that they say hit Smith with a truck. The tip was discussed in a phone call between now-retired Cpl. Michael Duncan with the South Carolina Highway Patrol and former Hampton County officer Nick Ginn.
Neither the tipster nor the two men were identified by WTOC-TV because nobody has been charged with a crime.
“This is what I was told: He said (Person 1) came over to the house, and told me that (Person 2) was drunk and hit something. He said he went back the next day to see what it was he had hit, and he saw a lot of police out there. And then he learned by media that someone had been killed in that same area. That’s why the police were there,” Officer Nick Ginn said.
Ginn tells Duncan he was told the driver of the truck allegedly tried to cover it up.
“Supposedly, he had fixed his mirror. He had patched one of the mirrors up on the truck,” Ginn said in the phone call.
The recording of the phone call between Duncan and Ginn was also reported by local media outlet FitsNews.
Smith’s family has doubted the conclusion about the hit-and-run since the beginning of the investigation. His mother recently told NewsNation she is “elated” police are now considering it a homicide.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said in summer 2021 that it was reopening the case following the death of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, the wife and son of Alex Murdaugh, who was convicted of their murders earlier this month.
The Murdaugh name repeatedly came up during the initial investigation into Smith’s death, though there is no known evidence linking any member of the family to his death. Buster Murdaugh, Alex’s only surviving son, recently denied claims he had any involvement.
High-profile defense attorney Mark Geragos and Florida prosecutor David Aronberg joined “CUOMO” on Friday to discuss the new development in the case. Watch their interview in the player above.