Did Buster Murdaugh Kill Stephen Smith To Cover Up Their Relationship?

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Damir Mujezinovic

On July 8, 2015, 19-year-old Stephen Smith's body was found with a fatal head wound on a road in Hampton County, South Carolina.

The investigators concluded that Smith was walking home after running out of gas, and was then struck in the head by a vehicle.

Stephen's mother Sandy Smith has always maintained that her son -- who was openly gay -- did not die after a hit-and-run, but that he was murdered over his sexual orientation.

New reports suggest that a member of the Murdaugh family, Buster Murdaugh, may have been involved in Smith's death.

Who Killed Stephen Smith?

The Daily Mail recently obtained documents implicating the Murdaugh family in Smith's apparent murder.

The documents reveal that investigators did not find any evidence that Smith was hit by a car.

"The victim was found in the middle of Sandy Run Road deceased from some sort of blunt force trauma to the head. Responded to the scene. I saw no vehicle debris, skid marks, or injuries consistent with someone being struck by a vehicle," the original report, which was written by South Carolina Highway Patrol, states.

But there's more.

Second, Third Report

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A second report, written by two deputies from Hampton County Sheriff's office states, "I spotted a person laying in the middle of Sandy Run…The person was a white young male with a severe head wound."

"After inspecting the body, it appears the victim had been shot," the deputies' report says.

A third report, which was written by a Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation (MAIT) officer, shows that Hampton County Coroner Ernie Washington ruled Smith's death a homicide.

"'I asked for clarity if they were sure, it was a homicide, and their response was yes," the MAIT officer's report says.

Buster Murdaugh

Why was Smith's death ruled a hit-and-run when all evidence seems to suggest otherwise? This remains unclear, but it has been speculated that Buster Murdaugh's involvement in the case might have something to do with that.

One of the tips investigators received claims that Murdaugh and Stephen Smith were in some kind of a relationship.

According to Ordinary Times, Buster and Smith were allegedly friends, but rumors swirled in 2015 that the two men were "romantically involved," and that Buster murdered his boyfriend.

Murdaugh Murders

A powerful legal dynasty, the Murdaugh family has been involved in a number of suspicious deaths and apparent homicides.

As reported by The New York Times, Alex Murdagh -- Buster's father -- was shot in the head earlier this month, but survived.

He initially blamed the murder on an unidentified man, but then admitted to participating in a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

Alex Murdaugh's wife Maggie and his other son, Paul, were killed in June. Paul, meanwhile, was involved in the death of Mallory Beach.