Mallory Beach was killed in a deadly boat collision in February 2019 after her friend, Paul Murdaugh, reportedly wrecked his family’s boat while drinking.
Following Paul’s murder in 2021, police started to focus their attention on the Murdaugh family.
Mallory Beach was 19 years old when she died in a catastrophic boating accident in 2019.
In Beaufort, South Carolina, she had graduated from Wade Hampton High School and worked at a clothes business. Her family claims she aspired to be an interior designer.
Everyone adored her.
Mallory Beach was well-liked “and everybody loved her,” according to Mallory’s aunt, Lynn Reavis, in “48 Hours.” She had a lot of friends and a boyfriend named Anthony Cook.
Mallory and Anthony were acquainted with Paul Murdaugh, seen second from right.
He is seen with his brother Buster, his mother Maggie, and his father, Alex Murdaugh, a well-known local attorney. Paul was 19 years old in February of 2019.
A fateful evening
Mallory and Anthony had planned to spend Saturday night, February 23, 2019, at a home party and oyster roast on Paukie Island with their friends: Anthony’s cousin, Connor Cook, and Connor’s girlfriend Miley Altman.
They agreed to meet first at “Murdaugh Island,” a river property owned by their buddy Paul Murdaugh’s family. Because Paul and his then-girlfriend, Morgan Doughty, were also planning to attend the party, the pals decided to take Paul’s family’s boat there.
According to investigators, Paul, Connor, Anthony, Mallory, Morgan, and Miley were all underage and consuming alcohol on February 23, 2019. These are some of the drinks discovered in a cooler aboard the Murdaugh boat by investigators.
Surveillance cameras saw Paul Murdaugh buying booze at a neighborhood convenience shop earlier that day. He used his elder brother, Buster’s, ID.
The boat is being loaded.
According to Michael DeWitt, the editor of The Hampton County Guardian, who has covered the issue, Paul Murdaugh looks to be enjoying his successful purchase of booze in this still shot captured from security camera footage. Paul can be seen bringing the cooler onto the boat seconds later.
How did the celebration begin?
Investigators suspect Anthony, Mallory, Paul and his girlfriend Morgan, and another couple, Connor and Miley, gathered at the Murdaugh family’s river home about 6:30 p.m.
The gang is said to have gone via boat at 7 p.m. Miley told detectives that they came to the home party and stayed for many hours.
She claims she left the party at midnight with Paul, Morgan, Anthony, Mallory, and Connor. When they got back on the boat, Paul insisted on driving them to a pub in downtown Beaufort, according to Miley.
Taking their chances
GPS data from the boat’s gadget reveal that the gang docked the boat approximately 12:45 a.m.
According to the investigation, Paul and Connor headed to a waterfront tavern and ordered two rounds of shots. Later, Connor testified that he used a phony ID to gain in and that Paul used his brother Buster’s ID. The two were seen on surveillance camera [sitting inside the bar, at left], as the rest of the party waited outside for them to return.
Return to the boat
According to investigators, Paul and Connor rejoined their buddies and returned to where the boat was parked just after 1 a.m.
According to law enforcement interviews with some of the other passengers, Paul was supposedly inebriated and behaving rashly at this time.
A touching moment
Surveillance cameras from the pier recorded a poignant moment as Anthony and Mallory made their way back to the boat. It’s one of Mallory’s final photos alive.
The last ride
Another camera viewpoint caught the party boarding the boat and departing off at 1:15 a.m.
Are you losing control?
According to Miley, several members of the group began fighting with Paul when he began driving in circles and behaving inebriated. Anthony urged Paul to let him out at a nearby pier, according to Miley, but Paul refused.
Morgan would later testify that Paul kept getting out of the vehicle to argue with her, and that Mallory was terrified. Investigators then discovered that the boat’s speed had risen, as shown by the onboard Garmin GPS.
Mallory, where are you?
The boat collided with the Archers Creek Bridge at 2:20 a.m. Mallory was thrown off the boat into the darkness. Connor dialed 911 and pleaded for assistance. Mallory was quickly located by first responders.
Help has arrived.
The event was captured on dash cam footage by then-Beaufort County Deputy Sheriff Stephen Domino, who was one of the first responders to arrive.
He told “48 Hours” that when he arrived, he saw Anthony, seen above, distraught and pacing. He claims to have calmed Anthony down and invited him to sit in his police vehicle.
Anthony became furious when Paul Murdaugh went up from the boat, according to Domino. “He actually tried to rush through me to get to Paul,” she recalled, “because I guess he saw him smiling … and it just set him off again.” Anthony informed Domino that he saw Paul piloting the boat just before the accident.
Determining the extent of the harm
Photographs of evidence reveal what looks to be blood on the boat floor.
The boat was wrecked.
Investigators also photographed the boat’s damage.
What occurred in the hospital?
Except for Mallory’s boyfriend Anthony, who wished to remain, the passengers were taken to a hospital.
Morgan’s hand was gravely damaged, while Connor was treated for a fractured jaw. Paul, according to medical workers, was uncooperative.
Paul’s blood was drawn by medical personnel. His blood alcohol level (BAC) was.24 many hours after the collision, which was three times the legal limit.”
Hospital personnel also informed investigators that they saw Paul’s father, Alex Murdaugh, walking from room to room, seeking to talk with the other survivors. A security officer said he overheard him on the phone saying, “She’s gone.” Don’t be concerned.”
Looking for Mallory
Investigators and volunteers spent eight days looking for Mallory Beach, using rescue boats, divers, and a helicopter.
Two volunteers discovered Mallory’s corpse around 5 miles downstream from the accident site on March 3, 2019. Mallory’s family filed a wrongful death claim against members of the Murdaugh family a month after the boat tragedy, enabling them to question the survivors.
Charges of crime
On what would have been Mallory’s 20th birthday, April 18, 2019, Paul Murdaugh was indicted and charged with three felony charges of boating under the influence, including causing Mallory Beach’s death and critically wounding two other passengers. Paul pled not guilty to all counts and was released on bail pending trial.
Paul, shown with his family on the left, will never get his day in court. On June 7, 2021, Paul and his mother Maggie were killed at one of the Murdaugh’s homes.
Alex Murdaugh called 911 to report that he had returned and discovered that they had both been shot to death. On July 15, 2022, Alex Murdaugh was charged with the deaths of his wife and children.
The accusations against Paul were withdrawn after his death.
There is no justice.
Lynn Reavis, Mallory Beach’s aunt, said the family thinks Paul Murdaugh was driving the boat at the time of the tragedy.
“With Paul not being here now, I don’t think my niece, Mallory, will get justice,” she added. “Because with both of them gone, it just ended.”
The investigation was completed. All I ever wanted was for him to step up and say, ‘I’m sorry.’ That’s all I needed to hear.”
Questions remain unanswered
Many people speculated whether Paul Murdaugh’s murder was linked to the boating tragedy.
An alternative hypothesis
Was Alex Murdaugh present? The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which is conducting the investigation, has not identified any suspects. Alex Murdaugh’s counsel has said that his client is a person of interest.
The legal actions
Passenger Connor Cook, seen with his family, also filed a case against Alex Murdaugh in 2021. He believes Murdaugh sought to frame him as the boat’s driver.
In January 2023, a court accepted a settlement between Mallory Beach’s family and Maggie Murdaugh’s estate.
On July 16, 2023, the Mallory Beach family negotiated a $15 million settlement with a convenience store chain that sold Paul Murdaugh alcohol when he was underage.
The agreement occurred after a court declined to separate the Parker’s Kitchen franchise from Alex Murdaugh in the planned civil trial over Beach’s death in 2019.
Mark Tinsley, the Beach family’s attorney, said that the payment, which will be paid by the chain’s insurance, is big enough to demonstrate to Mallory’s family that the retailers must take alcohol regulations seriously.
Palz of Mal
Mallory Beach’s aunt said that her niece loved animals, particularly dogs. In her remembrance, a non-profit organization was established. “Mal’s Palz” is seeking funds to construct a fresh new animal sanctuary in Hampton County, South Carolina.