BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office issued a joint statement Thursday regarding the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

The wife and son of Alex Murdaugh — who practiced law in the 14th Circuit — were found shot to death last June at the family’s Colleton County hunting property.

Such a response is rare for an ongoing investigation, though SLED and the solicitor’s office said it was necessary in the interest of fairness and public confidence given recent “unfounded and ill-informed speculation.”

No one media outlet was singled out in the statement, but the agencies addressed the role of the solicitor’s office in the investigation and images of Alex Murdaugh’s brother, John Marvin Murdaugh, taken at the scene of Maggie and Paul’s deaths.

Photographs from the Charleston Post and Courier showed John Marvin Murdaugh with three investigators from the solicitor’s office. John Marvin Murdaugh told The Island Packet the photos were taken as he and the investigators were tracking his sister-in-law Maggie’s phone.

Meanwhile, FITS News recently published a report questioning whether the solicitor’s office tampered with evidence, i.e. Maggie Murdaugh’s phone.

SLED Chief Mark Keel and 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone issued the following statement saying, in part:

At the scene and in subsequent days, Solicitor’s Office investigators acted solely under SLED’s direction. At no time did the Solicitor’s Office conduct a separate or parallel investigation, or act in any manner to undermine SLED’s role as the lead investigative agency. On a related note, much has been made about media photographs taken at the scene on June 8th that depict Solicitor’s Office investigators speaking with a member of the Murdaugh family. Not only was the depicted action undertaken at SLED’s request, the photographs were taken after the crime scene had been processed and after SLED had cleared the Murdaugh family to return to the property. Other law enforcement agencies, including SLED, were present at the time. Any speculation to the contrary is simply false.

Further, Keel and Stone said the involvement of the solicitor’s office is routine.

In a previous statement about the case, Stone said his office “is available to SLED for legal advice and investigative support, as it would be to any law-enforcement agency leading an investigation of this type in the 14th Circuit.”

In Thursday’s statement, Keel and Stone said they agreed, along with South Carolina Attorney General Wilson, that if evidence emerged establishing a potential conflict, Keel would contact Stone and Wilson immediately.

Ultimately, in August 2021, Stone recused himself from the investigation.

To date, no suspects have been announced in the murders of the Murdaugh mother and son.

“Chief Keel has maintained from the outset that SLED will pursue justice for Maggie and Paul no matter where that leads, and SLED’s resolve in that regard has not wavered,” Thursday’s joint statement read.

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