Tipster made authorities aware of potential suspects in Stephen Smith’s death

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:10 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT
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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - WTOC Investigates has been looking through files and audio recordings from the initial death investigation in 2015.

Someone did report two young men that they say hit Smith with a truck but they were never charged.

A phone call in December 2015 between now-retired Corporal Michael Duncan with the South Carolina Highway Patrol and former Hampton County Police officer Nick Ginn reveal a tipster made authorities aware of two potential suspects, in 19-year-old Stephen Smith’s death.

We’ll call them Person 1 and Person 2.

“Can you tell me what was told to you? We’ve tried to get in touch with (Person 1) but he’s kind of avoiding the call, the contact and all,” Cpl. Duncan said.

“This is what I was told: he said (Person 1) came over to the house, and told me that (Person 2) was drunk and hit something. He said he went back the next day to see what it was he had hit, and he saw a lot of police out there. And then he learned by media that someone had been killed in that same area. That’s why the police were there,” Officer Nick Ginn said.

The Tipster told Ginn Person 1 was visibly distraught.

“(Person 1) was crying telling him. And after he got done telling the story, he walked outside his house and threw up,” Officer Nick Ginn said.

They also said Person 2 the driver of the truck may have tried to cover-up the evidence.

“Supposedly he had fixed his mirror. He had patched one of the mirrors up on the truck,” Officer Nick Ginn said.

Both officers acknowledged this was the only concrete lead, they’d come across in the investigation.

“I heard some rumors around town, but as far as something with validity this would be it.”

“Up until now, it’s only been rumors, right.”

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division or SLED is investigating Smith’s death as a homicide.

They reopened the investigation after finding evidence during the Murdaugh double-murder investigation in 2021.

But again, neither of these potential suspects discussed in this recording are part of the Murdaugh family.