Alex and Maggie Murdaugh’s marriage was a relationship in crisis as Maggie demanded answers about their dwindling funds and they repeatedly argued over money and his drug use in the weeks before her brutal shooting, DailyMail.com can reveal.
A maelstrom of violence, conspiracy and relentless publicity has swirled since Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, were found shot dead by dog kennels at the family’s hunting lodge in South Carolina.
But there has been little real insight into the Murdaugh marriage or family life, until now.
Today, DailyMail.com can lay bare the true extent to which the Murdaugh household was fractured, as an inside source speaking exclusively to us, has told of the scenes that they witnessed.
According to the source, who has known the family for more than three years and spoke on condition of anonymity, ‘Their marriage was absolutely on the rocks.’
A source close to the Murdaugh family told DailyMail.com that Alex and Maggie’s marriage was in crisis
The couple repeatedly argued over money and his drug use in the weeks before her brutal shooting. According to the source, who has known the family for more than three years and spoke on condition of anonymity, ‘Their marriage was absolutely on the rocks’
‘Alex and Maggie didn’t look at each other like they were married. There was no love lost between them. I never saw them touch or be affectionate to each other.
‘It was like he had just checked out of the family, and she was stuck because she had been there so long, but she had started squirreling money away in her closet.
‘I don’t know if that was because she was planning to leave or because she knew that she didn’t always have money to pay the bills.
‘She confronted him about money more than once and his response was always the same, ‘Leave it to me. I’ll figure it out just like I did the last time.’
Maggie, the source told DailyMail.com, had long dealt with her husband’s now much reported abuse of prescription pills but, they said, ‘I don’t think she’d had to worry about money before. That was new for her.’
The source explained, ‘I remember one day, it must have been a few months before she was killed, she was crying because she had written a check at a charity luncheon, and it had bounced.
‘She thought at first there must have been some mistake but when she found out there wasn’t she was mortified and upset.
‘I think when Maggie married Alex she didn’t have to think about money or where it was coming from and once she started asking questions she definitely picked her battles.’
Murdaugh’s response was always the same, they said, ‘He’d always tell her not to worry about it, that he’d figure it out, he’d fix it.
‘He was just so checked out of the family by the end. He never gave her any real answers that I heard.’
And in a now chilling detail, the source continued, ‘One thing that Maggie really loved was to be at the dog kennels. She loved those dogs – there was one in particular that she was very fond of.’
According to the source her routine was familiar to the household, ‘She would go down there at least once a week, usually late afternoon or as the sun was setting. It was her thing.’
About one week before her death – and the last time the source saw her alive – they recalled, ‘Maggie was saying that with the beginning of the summer she was worried that Paul would start drinking more and partying harder.’
She told them that she feared he had ‘inherited his father’s problem with addiction,’ and her solution was to find ways to spend more time with him.
The source said, ‘She asked him to spend more time with her and to help her with the kennels. Maggie said she needed to keep an eye on Paul, so she wanted him to go with her to make sure the dogs were okay.’
According to the source, the dogs were ‘nothing more than trackers’ to Murdaugh who had little care for them. The source added that Murdaugh rarely went down to the kennels where he found Maggie and Paul’s bodies.
Moselle Hunting Lodge where Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were gunned down June 7 at the dog Kennels. About a week before their death Maggie asked Paul to spend more time with her and to help her with the kennels, the source reveals
The source said that Maggie feared their son Paul (left) had ‘inherited his father’s problem with addiction,’ and her solution was to find ways to spend more time with him
According to the source, who has known the family for more than three years, ‘Their marriage was absolutely on the rocks’
It was Murdaugh, 53, who called 911 to report the grisly discovery. Maggie had been shot multiple times, including in the back, with a semi-automatic rifle. Paul had been shot twice – in the face and torso – with a shotgun. One of the weapons belonged to the family though investigators have not confirmed which.
It is now three months since the shootings and South Carolina Law Enforcement (SLED) has released scant detail of their investigation.
Maggie was worried her son Paul (pictured in his mugshot) would start heavily partying and drinking during the summer months. When he died he was facing trial for the boating death of Mallory Beach
They have consistently refused to answer DailyMail.com’s questions as to whether Murdaugh – who has a ‘cast-iron alibi,’ according to his attorney – is a person of interest and have declined to publicly clear him if he is not.
According to the source relations between all the family members were strained in the weeks and months before Maggie and Paul were shot.
Murdaugh was increasingly ‘reckless’ in his drug use, they said, while Maggie expressed growing concerns about money.
She allegedly consulted a forensic accountant to dig into the family finances, while People magazine has reported that she visited a divorce attorney just six weeks before her murder.
As for the sons they could not have been more different in terms of personality, the source said, claiming, ‘Buster was very sweet, a real mama’s boy, but Paul was a spoiled brat.
‘He knew he had money and he made sure everyone else knew it. It was very clear that Paul thought he’d never get in trouble because of who his family was.’
In fact, Paul was facing up to 25 years in prison on three felony counts in relation to a fatal boating accident that happened in February 2019. He was at the wheel, ‘drunk and belligerent,’ when he ploughed his father’s boat into pilings on Archer’s Creek.
Five of the six teens on board survived with minor injury but 19-year-old Mallory Beach was flung from the vessel and killed.
The accident and its aftermath had placed yet more strain on the household and its finances.
Beach’s mother, Renee, brought a wrongful death suit against Murdaugh and Buster, whose ID Paul used to buy alcohol on the night of the crash.
Murdaugh’s life has unraveled at a dizzying rate. He has been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report following an incident September 4 when he claimed he was the victim of a drive-by shooting
Crime scene tape is visible on the stretch of Old Salkehatchie Road where Alex Murdaugh reported having been the victim of a drive by shooting. He is accused of hiring a hitman to kill him
DailyMail.com exclusively revealed that Murdaugh’s insurance company refused to defend him against it or to honor the two insurance policies that he had to the tune of $6million.
Meanwhile, the source told DailyMail.com, ‘Alex was very angry with Paul about it but not because he’d caused the death of another person so much as because he’d brought such trouble and attention on the family.’
Another passenger, Connor Cook, has since filed a suit claiming that Murdaugh conspired to frame him as the driver and intimidate him out of speaking with law enforcement.
Murdaugh has been accused of embezzling millions from the family law firm Peters Murdaugh Patrick Elztroth & Detrick (PMPED) of which he was a partner
In the months since Maggie and Paul’s deaths, the source said, Murdaugh had seemed ‘like a desperate man.’
The source claimed that in those intervening months they heard Buster and his father argue more than once. They recalled, ‘In one [argument] Buster was telling his father to get it together. He said, ‘You’re the only parent I have left.’
Certainly, Murdaugh’s life has unraveled at a dizzying rate. Against a backdrop of intrigue, and three other wrongful deaths that have been linked to the family, he is currently the subject of more than one criminal investigation.
He stands accused of misappropriating funds from the life-insurance of housekeeper Gloria Satterfield who died following a ‘trip and fall’ accident at the Murdaugh home in February 2018.
He has been accused of embezzling millions from the family law firm Peters Murdaugh Patrick Elztroth & Detrick (PMPED) of which he was a partner.
He swiftly issued an apology of sorts in which he said he regretted many of his decisions, came out as an opioid addict and announced he was going into rehab.
And in a bizarre twist he has been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report following an incident September 4 when he claimed he was the victim of a drive-by shooting.
Murdaugh subsequently admitted to staging the shooting himself – recruiting former client and distant cousin Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith, 61, to shoot him so that his surviving son, ‘Buster,’ could claim his $10million life insurance policy.
Just one week before this bizarre incident, according to the source, ‘Buster and Alex were talking about the fact that the life insurance wasn’t paying out on Maggie or Paul. My understanding was that there was a $6million policy on her and $4million on him.’
Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian has denied the existence of any such policies.
The source maintained, ‘Alex was talking to Buster about it and told him that soon he ‘wouldn’t have to worry about any of that.’
‘That was about one week before he got shot in that shooting, he supposedly staged to get his own life insurance.’
The source said that Murdaugh was ‘just so checked out of the family by the end. He never gave her any real answers that I heard’
The source said, ‘I don’t believe Alex wanted to die. He never seemed that way. It seemed almost spiteful to me that he would distract the police from the investigation into Maggie and Paul’s deaths like that.’
Murdaugh’s attorney Harpootlian has insisted that Murdaugh and Maggie’s marriage was the picture of ‘domestic bliss,’ but DailyMail.com’s inside source, who had a ringside seat on the marriage, has said it was nothing of the sort.
In truth, the said, ‘It seemed like Alex had just washed his hands of his family. He was checked out and she could either look the other way, knowing all that she knew, or start again.
‘I worry that her looking the other way is what got her killed.’
The source told DailyMail.com, ‘They’d had secrets they kept a long time. Maggie was well aware of Alex’s prescription pill problem and had been for years.
‘I saw her digging a bottle of pills that didn’t have Alex’s name on it out of the trash more than once. On one occasion she told me she was going to confront the person whose name was on it, but I don’t know if she ever did.’
They added, ‘Maggie was a very sweet person. She was different from the rest of them. She was a Murdaugh in name only. What happened was so awful. She didn’t deserve that, and she deserves to get justice.’
Family murders, deaths, drug addictions, thefts and arrests: The riddles facing investigators who’ve now charged Alex Murdaugh
2015: Teenager Stephen Smith dies
Smith was found on the side of the road.
Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith
Police officially rule his death a hit-and-run but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head
His mother has since shared her belief that she thinks he was killed in a hate-crime because he was gay
Case notes obtained by DailyMail.com revealed Paul’s older brother Buster was named multiple times in the investigation.
Police wanted to know more about his relationship with Stephen
Stephen’s mother said he had been having a ‘fling’.
In a deposition years later, one of Paul’s friends said the family had ‘covered’ other killings up.
He mentioned Smith’s death.
2018: Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield dies
Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield dies
Gloria died after ‘falling’ down the stairs in the family house
The family gave her family $500.000 in a wrongful death settlement but it’s unclear why her death was ruled to be their fault.
Alex Murdaugh was listed as the defendant in the lawsuit.
Satterfield was only 57 when she died.
She left behind a husband and children.
Her death was also mentioned in the deposition by Paul Murdaugh’s friend.
2019: Mallory Beach dies being thrown from boat driven by Paul Murdaugh
Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019
Paul was charged afterwards because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night.
He had been released on bond.
Other kids were on the boat but were unharmed.
One testified that they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’.
That boy named Stephen Smith and the housekeeper, and claimed Paul pushed her
June 7 2021: Paul and Maggie are murdered
The mom and son were found shot dead at the family home in Hampton, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh says he found them at the home.
The medical examiner said the pair had been dead for an hour at most when he discovered them.
Alex’s son Paul, 22, (left) and wife Maggie, 52, (right) were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7 at the family hunting lodge
Alex’s father Randolph Murdaugh III died ‘peacefully’ at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead
June 10 2021: Alex’s 81-year-old father Randolph Murdaugh III dies ‘naturally’ and ‘peacefully’ at home
September 3: Alex resigns from his law firm amid claims he misused funds
The firm has hired a forensic investigator to go through the accounts
September 4: Alex calls 911 claiming he’s been shot in the head in a drive-by.
He only had ‘surface’ wounds and was also able to call his brother
September 6: Alex resigns from his law firm
The South Carolina legal scion releases a statement confirming his resignation from the firm and announcing he has entered rehab
He said: ‘I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders.’
September 16: Alex turns himself into police over insurance fraud scheme
Murdaugh handed himself over to cops in connection to insurance fraud scheme where he arranged his own killing so that his surviving son could collect $10 million payout.
He faces charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.