Murdaugh Mysteries

Netflix Documentary Follows a “Southern Scandal” 

Claire Arneson, Editor

On February 22nd, 2023, Netflix released their next crime documentary called “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal.” The limited series documentary follows the death of a young girl on the Murdaugh’s boat in 2019, the mysterious killings of Paul and Mandy Murdaugh, and the shooting of Alex Murdaugh in 2021. The name “Murdaugh” means little to us in the Midwest, but in the South, the name holds a sense of power and mystery. In South Carolina, the Murdaughs had been practicing as the lead prosecutor in their local area for 87 years according to CNN. The family consists of Randolph Murdaugh III, his son Alex Murdaugh, his wife Mandy, and their sons Buster and Paul. As of today, Alex Murdaugh stands trial for 23 charges, including murder. The timeline for the accidents, fraud, and murders that have occurred while the Murdaugh family remained in town is constructed into a long confusing web of coincidences and death. Here is a complete recounting of everything we know about the case.  


In 2019, under the Archers Creek bridge in Beaufort County, South Carolina, the Murdaugh family boat crashed. 19-year-old, Mallory Beach tragically passed away after falling out of the boat and hitting her head as the boat ran into a piling. The group that was out on the boat consisted of Mallory, her boyfriend Anthony, her best friends Miley and Morgan, Miley’s boyfriend Connor, and Paul Murdaugh. It is important to note that this boat consisted of three sets of couples, but Paul and Morgan had recently broken up because Paul was physically abusive. All of them suffered serious injuries, Morgan got her fingers sutured, and Connor bit through his jaw. After the crash, the police began their questioning and everyone said that Paul was driving the boat, except Paul himself. He told the cops that Connor was driving. As the families of the victims came to their children’s side, Alex Murdaugh started using his power to manipulate the situation. He used his connections with law enforcement to skew the blame for the crash in Connor’s direction. This did not stand when Connor’s lawyers proved due to his injuries that there is no possible way he could have been the one driving the boat. They eventually charged Paul Murdaugh with two counts of boating under the influence resulting in bodily injury, and one count of boating under the influence resulting in death. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.  

Following Paul’s declaration of not guilty to the charges, he was murdered, along with his mother Mandy. On June 7th of 2023, Alex Murdaugh called the police to report the murder of his wife and son. Alex claims he was visiting his parents at the time, but his alibi was not airtight. At the time, the officers in the town took his word for it. He was friends with people in law enforcement, and it is inferred that he used these connections to his advantage. He and his son Buster set a $100,000 reward for any information that the public can give to aid with these murders.  

The investigation continues, and no new evidence was brought to light until September when Alex Murdaugh was shot. A superficial gunshot wound to the head was followed by his exit from his law firm. He claimed it was the result of the emotional toll that he experienced as a result of the death of his wife and son, but the law firm he worked for released a statement the next day that completely disregarded his claims. They say that he wasembezzling and misappropriating funds, and we later find out that Alex has an opioid addiction. His drug dealer, Curtis Edward Smith claims Alex coerced him into shooting him, providing him with the firearm to carry out the deed.  

There is much more to be said regarding the murders the Murdaugh family is rumored to be associated with. This family has bodies piling up around them, and with the release of the Netflix documentary, theories and evidence has been circulating. As of today, Alex Murdaugh is on trial and in jail. His trial can be streamed on YouTube; the trial is coming to an end. The Murdaugh family name may mean nothing to us here in the Midwest, but in the South, it causes chaos. The name is associated with the death of a young girl, a son, his mother, and others whose families still have not gotten justice. If you want to know more, watch “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal” on Netflix or watch live updates on  

UPDATE: Alex Murdaugh, as of 3/2/2023, has been found guilty for the murder of his wife and son.  


Claire Arneson is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]