It was reported on Wednesday that South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, who found his wife and son dead in their home in June in a murder case that has yet to be solved, had hired a former client, Curtis Edward Smith, to kill him so his surviving son could get a $10 million insurance payout. Now South Carolina law enforcement has released a statement saying they have launched a probe into the 2018 slip-and-fall death of the Murdaugh family’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
"Based upon a request from the Hampton County Coroner earlier today,” the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said in their statement, “as well as information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh, SLED is opening a criminal investigation into the death of Gloria Satterfield and the handling of her estate.”
The investigation follows the filing of a lawsuit brought by Satterfield's two sons, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott, alleging Murdaugh has failed to pay damages for her death. According to the lawsuit, Murdaugh agreed to a $505,000 settlement in December 2018 to be paid to Satterfield's sons. $500,000 would cover wrongful death and survival action; $5,000 would cover medical costs. "To date, Tony and Brian have not received any monies from any claims or settlements with Murdaugh and his insurance carriers following their mother’s death,” attorney Eric Bland claimed in the filing. “Not one dime.”
Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper wrote, in a Wednesday letter to SLED, that Satterfield's death "was not reported to the Coroner at the time, nor was an autopsy performed." Topper continued:
"On the death certificate the manner of death was ruled ‘Natural,’ which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident. In light of the inconsistencies, I feel that it is prudent to pursue an investigation into Gloria Satterfield's death."
Alex Murdaugh, meanwhile, is expected to turn himself in for insurance fraud on Thursday afternoon.