Police officer Stephen Smith comments on crucial evidence at the scene of the accident as police investigate the death as a homicide
A FORMER soldier with inside knowledge of Stephen Smith’s death always believed the 19-year-old was murdered and not killed in a hit-and-run accidenthe said.
Attorneys for Smith’s mother announced Tuesday that South Carolina police are officially investigating the 19-year-old’s death as a homicide.
That’s how Smith’s death should have been viewed from the start, said Thomas Moore, a former lieutenant in the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
He was one of the first officers on the scene when Smith’s body was discovered in 2015.
Smith’s case has received increased attention since disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh was charged with the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.
Alex’s other son, Buster, spoke out this week, strongly denying rumors linking him to the death of his classmate Smith.
He denies any involvement and allegations have never been made by law enforcement.
It was always obvious to Moore that Smith was a murder case because he didn’t have much rash and his shoes hadn’t been ripped off his feet, Moore told local news station WCIV.
“I definitely think he was murdered,” said the former lieutenant.
“Either he was murdered there or he was murdered somewhere else and deposed there.”
After the death was ruled a hit-and-run, Moore said he brought his concerns to the chain.
“I felt that the people who would run the highway patrol should stand up and go to SLED [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] and said, ‘This is not a hit-and-run, you’re going to ask us to investigate something that isn’t a hit-and-run,'” he said.
Moore said he then went straight to the sheriff’s office.
“Line by line, (I) explained to them why this wasn’t a hit-and-run and tried to hand them the file and they didn’t physically take it with their hands,” he said.
The case was eventually closed after a coroner ruled that Smith died after being hit by a car.
It was reopened by SLED in 2021 after police uncovered new information while investigating the Alex Murdaugh murder.
He was found guilty of killing his wife and one of his sons earlier this month.
The agency said that while it was assistance to other law enforcement agencies at the scene, it was not originally a SLED death investigation.
SLED said Wednesday it was “clear” that at the time, officers did not suspect that the incident was actually negligent homicide by vehicle.
“On June 23, 2021, SLED began an investigation into the death of Stephen Smith after SLED agents received information regarding his death and subsequently reviewed SCHP’s investigation file,” the agency said.
“Out of [South Carolina Highway Patrol] Case Notes, it was apparent that SCHP did not believe that Mr. Smith’s death was a hit-and-run by motor vehicle.
“SLED’s investigation into Mr Smith’s death was never closed – it remains a murder investigation.
“Progress has been made and the investigation of SLED is active and ongoing.”
The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to The US Sun’s request for comment on Moore’s claims.
Smith’s family started a GoFundMe to support an “independent exhumation and autopsy” as they continue to search for answers about the teen’s death.
The fundraiser was launched on March 9th and has raised $95,430.
“Thank you for not letting Stephen’s story be swept under the rug,” Smith’s mother, Sandy, wrote in an update.
“We will follow up on the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way.
“Thank you for the kind words, prayers and donations. You made this possible and it means the world to us.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7697295/stephen-smith-death-cop-speaks-scene/ Police officer Stephen Smith comments on crucial evidence at the scene of the accident as police investigate the death as a homicide