5 Theories About What Really Happened In The Murdaugh Family Murders From True Crime Sleuths

Things are not as they seems.

Murdaugh Family Facebook

On Thursday, prominent South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh turned himself into police and was arrested on charges related to his alleged assisted suicide attempt and insurance fraud scheme.

The allegations are another layer in a seemingly never-ending story of murder and deceit that has rocked Hampton County. 

His arrest comes in the midst of an ongoing investigation into the murders of Alex’s wife and son, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, who were shot dead earlier this year.


Everyone from police to online crime sleuths have been investigating possible links or explanations for the bewildering crimes — and the three other deaths the family have been linked to.

Here are 5 theories about the Murdaugh family murders. 

Did Alex Murdaugh shoot Paul and Maggie Murdaugh?

One popular theory is that Alex is behind the killings of his wife and son. 


Some believe Maggie may have known about Alex’s financial issues and alleged drug addiction and threatened to turn him in, risking the family legacy. 

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Maggie was killed with a semi-automatic rifle while Paul was reportedly shot with a shotgun. Their bodies were found near the dog kennels outside of their Islandton property. 

One theory suggests that Paul, hearing the rifle shots, ran outside with the shotgun. But the killer let him approach instead of shooting from afar. 

“Paul must have personally known the shooter if he didn’t fire at him,” one theorist wrote on Reddit, “[Paul] must’ve lost the shotgun fighting whoever the shooter was once he approached them.”


Supporters of this theory believe Alex shot Paul in a moment of panic but had initially only intended to kill Maggie. 

However, police have insisted Alex Murdaugh has an “ironclad” alibi and cannot be placed at his home at the time of the killings. 

That could still mean Alex hired someone to kill either one or both members of his family. 

Some have also speculated that Murdaugh ordered a hit on himself in order to make it seem as though the whole family is being targeted. 

Is Buster Murdaugh involved in the Murdaugh murders?

One mysterious character in the complex tale of the Murdaugh’s is the Murdaugh’s oldest son, Buster. 

Theorists on Reddit have suggested Buster may have been behind the killings of his mother and brother over fears that they would turn him in for his alleged involvement in the death of Stephen Smith.


Smith was a local gay teenager who was killed near the Murdaugh’s home in 2015 in what was initially deemed a “hit and run.”

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However, reports have suggested it may have been a deliberate hate crime and Buster’s name was once on the radar of investigators in the case. 

Not to mention the fact that Smith’s death is now being reinvestigated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED.)

The case was reopened “based on information gathered during the course of the double murder investigation of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.”


Theorists think Paul intended to expose Buster’s crime to use it as leverage in his own civil lawsuit for his involvement in a fatal 2019 boat crash. 

It’s possible Alex agreed to take the fall for his son and plotted his own suicide to distract the investigation from turning on Buster. 

Buster was reportedly in his home in Rock Hill, miles away from the murders, on the night in question. 

Were Paul and Maggie Murdaugh killed by an enemy of the Murdaugh family? 

Given how many fatal incidents the family have been associated with, it’s likely the Murdaugh’s had plenty of enemies. 

At the time of Paul’s death, he was out on bond and facing charges for the 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach. 


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Some have also suggested Alex Murdaugh owes money to the killers of his wife and son so staged his own shooting in order to distract investigators and buy himself more time to pay off his debts. 

We know that Alex is being investigated by his law firm for allegedly misappropriating funds so it doesn’t seem unlikely that the family murders were financially motivated. 

Did Alex Murdaugh murder his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield?

Another area of suspicion in the Murdaugh family history is the death of the family’s housekeeper in 2018.

Satterfield’s sons took a wrongful death lawsuit against Murdaugh that claimed the woman died in a “slip and fall” accident but her death certificate lists that she died of natural causes. 


The lawsuit declared that Murdaugh was, in part, responsible for her death and was ordered to pay $500,000 to the family. 

Online, people have suggested Satterfield may have discovered something incriminating about the Murdaugh’s before her death.

The $500,000 settlement — that Satterfield’s sons say has not yet been paid — may have added to preexisting financial struggles. 


Over the past number of years, these financial issues may have mounted even further with Paul’s lawsuit, threats of a divorce from Maggie, and more.

So, maybe Alex plotted to murder some of his family members in order to avoid his financial or drug issues being exposed?

Is Alex Murdaugh’s suicide attempt and drug addiction a cover up?

Many following the case are not buying Murdaugh’s claims that he is a struggling addicted or the recent revelation that he plotted his own suicide as an attempt to secure a life insurance check.

One person suggested that even the police know his “assisted suicide” story is fabricated but arrested Murdaugh and his alleged co-conspirator, Curtis Edward Smith, in order to gather more information.


What exactly Alex is trying to hide is still a subject of great speculation online but people seem unconvinced that someone could hire a hitman to have themselves killed but still manage to survive. 

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.