BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCBD) – Newly obtained documents paint a clearer picture of the events leading up to the fatal boat ride that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach and led to the indictment of 19-year-old Paul Murdaugh.
Murdaugh and his mother were found shot to death at their family home in early June.
On February 23, 2019, Paul Murdaugh, Morgan Doughty, Connor Cook, Miley Altman, Anthony Cook, and Mallory Beach met at Paul’s home around 6:30 p.m. to go to an oyster roast at the home of Crystal Cook. They arrived by boat between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
According to a statement from Crystal, no alcohol was served at the event. She said that when the kids arrived, “Miley Altman had a White Claw in her hand but threw it away (Her parents were at the dinner).”
Crystal said that the kids did not seem intoxicated while at the event, and left around 11:30 p.m.
The timeline created by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) using data from the boat’s Garmin tracking device has the group leaving the oyster roast at 12:11 a.m.
The group set out for bars along the Beaufort waterfront and arrived at Henry Chambers Waterfront Park around 12:49 a.m.
En route to the bars, the Garmin tracker recorded the boat “almost [colliding] with the Woods swing bridge.”
A surveillance camera captured Paul and Connor entering Luther’s Rare and Well Done bar at 12:55 a.m.
Paul ordered the first round of Yager Bombs at 12:59 a.m., Connor ordered a round of lemon drop shots shortly after, and the boys left at 1:07 a.m. They each took two shots during that eight-minute time period.
Paul and Connor met back up with the rest of the group at 1:13 a.m. and they left for home by 1:17 a.m.
At 2:20 a.m., the Garmin records a decrease then a spike in the speed of the boat. Witnesses said that was when Paul moved to the front of the boat while arguing with Morgan, then returned to the helm and picked up speed.
Seconds later, the boat plowed into the dolphin pilings at the Archers Creek Bridge. At 2:21 a.m., the boat came to a stop, crashed under the bridge.
In an interview with SCDNR officers, Miley said that Paul, Anthony, and Mallory were thrown from the boat. Paul and Anthony made it to shore. Mallory’s body was found six days later.
Miley said that it took a moment for the group to catch their breath, then they called 911.
Connor stayed on the line with the operator, trying to get as much information as possible to first responders. He and Miley walked to the road and flagged down officers with a light.
Morgan was injured in the crash and can be heard in the background of the call panicking about losing blood and finding her friend, Mallory.
Miley said Paul’s main concern was getting in contact with his grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh.
When investigators asked Miley why Paul was so adamant about calling his grandfather, she speculated “Well, you know, cause they’re lawyers and stuff. He wanted him to be there first.” She said he went back and forth on whether to call his dad, Alex Murdaugh, and eventually did.
Despite many witnesses reporting Paul being obviously drunk, no responding officers administered a field sobriety test at the scene of the crash. Instead, the group was transported to the hospital.
Miley, Connor, and Paul rode together in one ambulance; Miley recalled Paul being uncooperative and aggressive towards first responders during the ride.
Shortly after they arrived at the hospital, Paul was met by his father and grandfather.
One of the nurses recalled Paul’s father “walking around introducing himself to EMS and ER staff,” and “walking throughout the ER trying to talk to all patients involved.”
A nurse for Morgan recalled Alex Murdaugh trying to enter her room multiple times while she was being interviewed by law enforcement.
Ultimately, Paul Murdaugh was charged for boating under the influence resulting in great bodily harm and death. He was awaiting trial when he was killed.