As the hunt for answers into the fatal shooting of a mother and son from a prominent South Carolina family widened with investigators searching a river near their home, those close to them are opening up to say they don’t know why the pair was apparently targeted but that threats were previously made.
“I don’t really know of any enemies,” Randolph “Randy” Murdaugh IV, the uncle of Paul Murdaugh and brother-in-law of Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, said Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“You hear all of this talk on social media with regard to Paul, but I don’t know of anybody that would truly be an enemy and would truly want to harm them,” he added.
Investigators with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which is overseeing the case, has released few details since the mother and son’s bodies were found June 7 on their rural estate in Colleton County, west of Charleston. The Murdaugh family has a long legacy in the region of the state known as the Lowcountry, where three generations of patriarchs were elected as the top prosecutor for more than 85 consecutive years and had ties to thousands of criminal cases. The family also has a private practice.
The slayings of Paul, 22, and Maggie, 52, was followed by the loss of former 14th Circuit Solicitor Randolph Murdaugh III — Paul’s grandfather and Maggie’s father-in-law — who died June 10 at 81 after falling ill.
On Wednesday, divers were searching the Salkehatchie River near the family’s property. The State Law Enforcement Division declined to comment on what they were doing, but said the agency is dedicated to a thorough investigation, reported NBC affiliate WCBD in Charleston.
Another uncle of Paul Murdaugh’s, John Marvin Murdaugh, told “Good Morning America” that Paul’s father and Maggie’s husband, Alex, was the one who discovered their bodies.
John Marvin Murdaugh wiped away tears as he recalled how his brother was frantic when he called him that night: “He just told me, he said, ‘Come as fast as you can. Paul and Maggie have been hurt.'”
Police said Alex Murdaugh called 911 at around 10 p.m. after finding their bodies near dog kennels on the property, which includes a hunting lodge. His brothers told “Good Morning America” that he was out that day taking his dying father to the hospital and went to check on his mother before returning to home. The local coroner said Paul and Maggie were shot multiple times.
John Marvin Murdaugh said his nephew had been threatened in the past.
“I didn’t think it was credible threats,” he said. “If it was, I would have notified someone. Maybe I made a mistake.”
Paul Murdaugh was facing trial in the February 2019 death of Mallory Beach, 19, who was killed in a boat crash during a night of underage drinking with friends.
Local reports after the boat crash said that the Murdaugh family did not initially cooperate with law enforcement agencies’ investigation and that officers never gave Paul Murdaugh, who was believed to have been driving the boat, an alcohol breath test, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, which led the investigation. Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of boating under the influence. He had been out on a personal recognizance bond of $50,000 at the time of his death.
The Murdaugh brothers on “Good Morning America” denied they used their connections to protect Paul Murdaugh and agreed that the perception of their family was wrong.
“We’re just regular people,” Randy Murdaugh said. “We’re hurting just like they would be hurting if this had happened to them.”