Four survivors in the deadly boating accident allegedly caused by the son of a prominent South Carolina prosecutor have voluntarily provided DNA samples to investigators — after it was revealed he received death threats mentioning the crash just months before his mysterious murder, according to a report.
Paul Murdaugh, 22, who was found shot dead with his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, faced three felony counts — two of boating under the influence and one of causing death and bodily injury — in the 2019 accident that killed a 19-year-old woman.
Murdaugh, who had been indicted and released on a $50,000 bond, was “highly intoxicated,” “drunk” and “belligerent” when he sped his boat into a piling on Archer’s Creek, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Mail.
The six people — all under age 21 — who were aboard the craft were all ejected.
All of them but Mallory Beach made it to shore, according to the news outlet. Beach’s body was discovered seven days later.
Now, all four survivors have have given DNA samples to police, the Daily Mail reported.
The four are Paul’s ex-girlfriend, Morgan Doughty, Beach’s boyfriend, Anthony Cook, his cousin, Connor Cook, and Connor’s girlfriend, Miley Altma, according to the outlet. Beach’s family members also have provided DNA samples, the report added.
“All of the kids on the boat and their family members have voluntarily come forward to provide DNA samples and speak to investigative officers,” Will Folks, founding editor of local news outlet Fitsnews.com, told the Daily Mail.
Tommy Crosby, a spokesman for the State Law Enforcement Division, confirmed to the Mail that investigators also have obtained digital and cell phone records to track people’s movements on and around the day of the murders.
In addition, investigators pulled similar records from Paul’s father, Alex Murdaugh, a prosecutor for the 14th Judicial Circuit, who found his son and wife shot dead near their home, according to the outlet.
Crosby described the move to retrieve digital and cell phone records as “a usual investigative process.”
Alex Murdaugh was interviewed by investigators on June 10 and sources close to him said he has a “cast iron alibi” in his family’s deaths and is merely cooperating to clear himself, the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, allegations of obstruction of justice in the criminal probe into the boat accident also are allegedly being investigated, the outlet reported, citing Folks, who said the information comes from law enforcement and prosecution sources with direct knowledge of the case.
Mark Tinsley, an attorney for the Beach family, said the family has “every confidence” in the attorney general — whose office they are “hopeful” will “continue to investigate and prosecute any improprieties related to any attempts by any members of law enforcement to influence the original criminal investigation related to the boat crash.”
The Daily Mail also obtained depositions from the crash survivors that were given as part of the wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Beach’s mother, Renee, against the company that sold alcohol to Paul, who used his older brother’s ID for the purchase.
The civil suit also names the older brother, Richard Alexander Jr., and the dad for their alleged role in facilitating Paul’s underage drinking.
Doughty, Paul’s then girlfriend, described him as “an angry drunk” who thought he was “invincible,” the outlet reported.
The group testified that there were arguments over his determination to drive his boat while drunk.
Anthony, Beach’s boyfriend, suggested taking an Uber but Paul — who had a drunken alter ego named “Timmy” — allegedly insisted they would travel by boat despite a fog and the lack of any light on the vessel, the Daily Mail reported.
“The whole way everybody was fighting and arguing. We drifted around in circles numerous times. We idled along….Miley was steady hollering that she had to work the next morning. She was ready to go,” Anthony said, according to the outlet.
“All Paul was doing was making a fool of himself…then for some reason Paul acted like he was on drugs or something,” he added. “He started taking off his clothes during one of the arguments and it is 40 degrees outside.”
Paul stripped “all the way down to his boxers,” refused to let anyone else drive his boat and “slapped, pushed and spat” on his girlfriend, according to the account.
“I yelled at him once and he just told me … he was like … “Shut the eff up and sit the eff down. Nobody else is driving my boat,’” Altman recalled.