(NewsNation) — The family of Stephen Smith, who has been linked to Buster Murdaugh, wants more answers about his death — and now, his mother has raised enough money for an independent exhumation and autopsy.
In 2015, Smith, 19, was found dead in the middle of a rural road in Hampton County, South Carolina. Although police determined it was a hit-and-run, his mother, Sandy Smith, believes her son was killed intentionally.
Now, the case is being reexamined in the wake of the trial of Alex Murdaugh, the disgraced South Carolina attorney from a powerful legal family who was recently sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife Maggie and younger son Paul.
Alex Murdaugh’s oldest son, Buster, was the same age as Stephen Smith and his twin sister. The two went to school together, and Buster’s name often came up in connection with the Stephen Smith case.
Reporter Will Folks with FITSNews previously told NewsNation that investigatory reports from Stephen Smith’s death mention the Murdaugh name “dozens of times.” According to the New York Post, Stephen Smith’s body was found a few miles from the Murdaugh family’s property.
Sandy Smith, in a GoFundMe page she created for an exhumation and autopsy, said her family is grateful to the people who came together “to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen.”
“Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s story to be swept under a rug,” she said. “We will pursue the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way.”
The GoFundMe page has raised substantially more than its original goal of $15,000. As of Friday afternoon, it showed $44,140 had been donated by more than 1,400 people.
According to Sandy Smith’s GoFundMe, an independent autopsy would be about $7,000. She said a private medical examiner would have to be present from the time the exhumation started and throughout the entire examination process. This, she said, would cost about $750 per hour.