How a tragic boating crash is connected to the family of Alex Murdaugh

Two years before wealthy and respected attorney Alex Murdaugh made international headlines for staging his own shooting, a fatal accident involving the Murdaughs was making waves in South Carolina.

30 October 2021 Saturday 02:22
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How a tragic boating crash is connected to the family of Alex Murdaugh

Two years before wealthy and respected attorney Alex Murdaugh made international headlines for staging his own shooting, a fatal accident involving the Murdaughs was making waves in South Carolina.

Investigators believe that Alex's 19 year-old son, Paul Murdaugh, took the boat of his family out on February 23rd for a night partying with friends along the Beaufort River.

Mallory Beach, 19, was killed in a boat accident that ended his night.

Lynn Reavis, Mallory’s aunt, recalls hearing the news from a relative.

"I was at home. Someone called to say they found her. "And I fell apart," Reavis told "48 Hours" contributor Nikki Battiste during an exclusive interview in The Murdaugh Mysteries , airing Saturday October 30th at 10/9c CBS.

Reavis and Reavis were especially close. "She was a wonderful, joyful, and fun-loving girl. Reavis stated that everyone loved her.

Mallory Beach's family created Mals Palz, a nonprofit in her memory. It was started by Mallory Beach and is dedicated to the 19-year old's compassion and love for animals. Its purpose is to create a new shelter for animals in the area where she lived.LYNN REVIS

Three couples were on board that night: Paul Murdaugh with Morgan Doughty and Miley Altman with her boyfriend Connor Cook and Anthony Cook with Mallory Beach, and Paul Murdaugh and Morgan Doughty.

The six passengers were all minors, but the friends later revealed that some partygoers used fake IDs and borrowed IDs to purchase alcohol.

The night started on Murdaugh Island where the family has a private residence. According to the passengers, Murdaugh drove his boat to another location, which was an oyster roast on Paukie Island. GPS data from the Murdaugh boat shows that they arrived at 8 p.m., and stayed there until midnight. Later, Paul and his friends told investigators that the river was darkening and fogging up as they headed towards downtown Beaufort.

Investigators believe Murdaugh and Connor Cook entered a bar at the Beaufort waterfront while the rest of their passengers lingered in a nearby park.

"He just kept going up and getting a shot," Miley Altman, a passenger, would later relay to investigators about Murdaugh’s behavior.

Surveillance video taken from Luther's Rare and Very Well Done bar showed Murdaugh & Connor taking two shots each before joining their friends at 1:15 a.m.

Surveillance video captures Anthony Cook and Mallory Beach returning to the boat at 1:13 a.m. SOUTH CAROLINA DIVISION NATURAL RESOURCES

The six friends boarded the boat as captured by cameras on the dock. Surveillance footage captures Mallory and Anthony Cook walking together down the dock in what are her last known photographs.

Passenger statements indicate that Paul Murdaugh's behaviour on the boat was becoming more alarming.

Altman said that Paul was driving and doing donuts.

Altman says that Connor Cook was once at the wheel.

"Connor begins driving a bit, then Paul stops him and he's like, No this is my boat. Let me drive.' Altman said that he remembered. Altman recalled, "I saw it coming."

A distraught Anthony Cook dialed 911 shortly after 2:20 AM. "We're in an Archer's Creek boat crash... There are six of us, and one missing."

Stephen Domino, then-Beaufort County Sheriff, was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Domino spoke out in an exclusive interview with Battiste, "48 Hours" and recalled the chaos that he witnessed.

Domino stated, "Everyone was crying, scared and shocked, just worried about their friend."

Mallory wasn't there. Anthony Cook, her boyfriend, was almost distraught as he talked to the deputy and identified Paul Murdaugh the boat's driver.

"Do you know Alex Murdaugh?" Anthony Cook asked the deputy to answer in a dashcam video. "That's his son."

Domino said, "48 Hours" that Domino indicated to Domino that Domino had indicated that he could not be touched.

Mallory Beach's remains were found after eight days of intensive searching by volunteers and law enforcement.

Mallory's aunt said that she learned more details about what happened that night.

Reavis said that Murdaugh told him, "He didn’t want anyone else driving the boat." "But all those kids say that they begged Murdaugh to stop, and they begged... 'Just let's out. He refused. "... It hurts my heart that she was so afraid."

After the crash, Alex Murdaugh's behavior attracted much attention.

Witnesses at the hospital have stated that Alex was moving from one room to another, trying to communicate with his son's wounded friends.

As editor of The Hampton County Guardian newspaper, Michael DeWitt was a local journalist who extensively covered the Murdaugh family's story and the boat accident.

"I believe that from day one, ground zero," DeWitt said. "What can we do to get Paul out this mess?" DeWitt told "48 Hours". "How do we create confusion?... And say, 'Can't you prove who was driving this boat?'"

Connor Cook stated that Alex Murdaugh said to him, "I don't need tell anyone driving." A hospital security guard also recorded that Alex said, via his cell phone: "She's gone." Don't worry."

Paul Murdaugh was a victim of a three-fold overage by hospital staff.

Paul Murdaugh was arrested for three felonies, including boating while impaired by alcohol or drugs and causing the death Mallory Beach. This happened nearly two months after the boat crashed. He pleaded not guilty.SOUTH CAROLINA NATTORNEY GENERAL

Mallory Beach's loved ones filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Murdaugh family members on March 29, 2019. Paul Murdaugh was later charged with several felonies, including boating under the influence, resulting in Mallory Beach's death, and serious bodily injury to two other passengers. He pleaded guilty to all charges.

This is the story South Carolina Lowcountry residents believe signaled the end of the famous family. Over 85 years of service as solicitors and chief prosecutor for Murdaugh have been part of the Murdaugh family's legacy. Although Alex Murdaugh did not continue the legacy of his great grandfather, he maintained a high level in legal circles, both as a volunteer at the solicitor's offices and as a partner in Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick's family law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick.

Alex Murdaugh's legal connections and his behavior following the fatal crash played a part in several legal filings. These included the Beach wrongful-death lawsuit and a petition filed by Connor Cook seeking an investigation into civil conspiracy and collusion.

Paul Murdaugh was not charged with the murder of Mallory Beach. On June 7, 2021, he was shot along with his mother Maggie Murdaugh.

Mallory's aunt was shocked to hear about the double homicide.

Reavis stated, "The thought about the horror they went through, it made me cry." "Things such as that shouldn't happen in our small community."

Reavis still grieves Mallory but says that she didn't wish any harm on Paul Murdaugh.

Reavis stated, "48 Hours" that all he wanted was for Reavis to stand up and apologize.

Saturday's broadcast will include all ongoing investigations into Murdaugh's family affairs.

Updated: 30.10.2021 09:02
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