Buster Murdaugh Denies 'Vicious Rumors' Connecting Him to Stephen Smith Death

Buster Murdaugh, the surviving son of convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh, is speaking out against any speculation linking him to another death.

In 2015, Murdaugh’s former high school classmate Stephen Smith was found dead on the side of the road in Hampton County, South Carolina — about 15 miles from the Murdaugh property known as Moselle. Though Smith’s death was initially deemed a hit and run, the case was reopened in June 2021, based on information learned while investigating the murders of Buster’s mother Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and younger brother Paul.

No details about that information was ever released, however, and nobody in the Murdaugh family was ever officially named as a suspect.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division told CNN over the weekend they have “made progress in the death investigation,” which they said “remains active and ongoing.” On Monday, Buster also finally addressed any speculation he’s connected to Smith’s death with a lengthy statement to TODAY.

“I have tried my best to ignore the vicious rumors about my involvement in Stephen Smith’s tragic death that continue to be published in the media as I grieve over the brutal murders of my mother and brother. I love them so much and miss them terribly,” he said.

“I haven’t spoken up until now because I want to live in private while I cope with their deaths and my father’s incarceration,” he continued, saying he’s been “targeted and harassed” before and after his father’s trial.

“This has gone on far too long. These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false,” he added. “I unequivocally deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family,” he concluded, before asking the media to “immediately stop publishing these defamatory comments and rumors.”

The statement comes amid plans by Smith’s family — who believe there’s more to the story — to exhume his body and get a new autopsy, after raising money on GoFundMe.

“Our family is so very grateful to all of you who came together to help us in our fight for justice for Stephen. I could not have imagined when we began this fundraiser that it would take off the way that it did,” Smith’s mother Sandy posted to the fundraiser last week. “Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s story to be swept under a rug. We will pursue the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way. Thank you for the kind words, prayers and donations. You have made this possible, and it means the world to us. This is Stephen’s year.”

Eric Bland, whose firm is representing Smith’s family, also spoke out on Monday — saying, “This is not about Buster Murdaugh. This is about Stephen Smith. It’s about trying to get answers to questions that his mother desperately needs answers for.”

“So there’s no reason to discuss Buster at all, and there’s no comment to make back to Buster at all,” he added. “We’re going to find out, God willing or willing, what was Stephen Smith’s true cause of death?”

Bland said the autopsy “may yield a different conclusion that Stephen was not killed on Sandy Run Road in Bamberg County. That maybe he was killed somewhere else.”

Earlier this month, Alex Murdaugh, Buster’s father, was found guilty of murdering his wife and son. Following the verdict, Murdaugh’s legal team told TMZ, “We are disappointed in the jury’s verdict but we will not have any further comment until after sentencing.”

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