SLED opens criminal investigation into death of Murdaugh housekeeper
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - State authorities report they are opening a criminal investigation into the death of the Murdaugh family’s longtime housekeeper due “inconsistencies” in the original report of her death.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced today a request from the Hampton County Coroner earlier today, as well as information gathered during the course of the ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh led authorities to take another look at Gloria Satterfield’s death and the handling of her estate.
According to Satterfield’s obituary, she died at the age of 57 on February 26, 2018 at Trident Medical Center. Satterfield died from injuries she sustained after “a trip and fall accident,” according to the settlement.
In a letter, Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper states Satterfield’s death was not reported to the coroner’s office at the time, nor was an autopsy performed.
“On the death certificate, the manner of death was ruled “natural,” which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident, the Topper wrote.
Satterfield’s estate attorney recently filed a lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh.
After Sattererfield’s death 2018, the Murdaugh family and Satterfield’s estate reached a settlement of $500,000, according to a copy of the wrongful death settlement.
“My client has not been paid one single dime since this was settled in 2020,” Eric Bland, an attorney representing Satterfield’s estate, said. “My job is to get information and find out why these boys didn’t get any money when there was a settlement.”
Bland said this case was brought to him after his name was recommended to Satterfield’s children through a mutual connection.
He said Satterfield worked for the Murdaughs for more than 20 years and had become, “part of the fabric of the family.”
After Satterfield’s death, Bland said the lawyer the Satterfield’s children chosen was referred to by Alex Murdaughs who was also one of Murdaugh’s “best friends and college roommate” after not getting paid Satterfield’s children later went to Bland for legal help.
“It’s very strange that [Alex Murdaugh] would hand-carry them to a lawyer that would come sue him,” Bland said.
The news from Satterfield’s attorney comes more than a week after her former employer Alex Murdaugh was shot in the head along a rural road in Hampton County.
After Murdaugh was shot, he announced he would enter rehab and resign from the law firm his family founded after facing accusations of misappropriating funds from the firm. SLED confirmed Monday they have opened an investigation into Murdaugh’s alleged misappropriation of funds.
State authorities report Murdaugh conspired with Curtis Edward Smith in planning an assisted suicide so that Murdaugh’s surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.
Bland said it’s possible his clients were “a small part on the bigger wheel.”
Murdaugh is the father of Paul Murdaugh, 22; and the husband of Margaret Murdaugh, 52; who were found shot to death at their hunting property in the rural Colleton County community of Islandton on June 7.
SLED confirmed Alex Murdaugh discovered them after they were shot. The Murdaughs were both shot multiple times, investigators confirmed.
Days after the double shooting, the family patriarch, Randolph Murdaugh, died. He was Paul’s grandfather and Alex’s father.
The family has strong connections to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which serves Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper Counties.
Members of the Murdaugh family ran the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for about 87 years, believed to be the longest consecutive run in American history.
Court documents released after Paul and Maggie’s murders revealed a prior potential conspiracy to shift blame for the deadly 2019 boat crash away from Paul Murdaugh.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating both the double slaying and the weekend shooting incident.
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