As you can tell by the title of today’s post, we are going to be talking about just one of the deaths surrounding the Murdaugh family. This family has been making headlines all across the country for awful reasons but today I wanted to focus on the Mallory Beach story. Mallory was just 19 years old when she lost her life at the hands of one of the young Murdaugh family members. I don’t want to give too much away in the beginning, so let’s dive right in. This story is posted on my YouTube Channel if you prefer to watch, scroll to the bottom of this post for the link!
Mallory Beach was born on April 18th, 1999 in Walterboro, South Carolina. She had two sisters and she was the youngest daughter of Phillip and Renee Beach. She was raised in Hampton County, South Carolina, a beautiful part of the south. Hampton County is known for its watermelon festival which they hold every year and it’s a relatively small community where everybody knows everybody. Mallory loved animals and from a young age, she had hopes to be a veterinarian one day. Mallory’s friends and family said she always had a big smile on her face and had an uplifting personality that people just gravitated towards. She had so many people in her life that loved her but there were a handful of people that were lucky enough to be considered her best friends.
She met Miley Altman when they were just in Pre-K. Mallory walked right up to her and called her pretty and from that moment on they were best friends who did everything together. Not only did she have Miley by her side all throughout her childhood, but she also had Anthony Cook. Their older sisters were good friends and Anthony’s father built Mallory’s Dad’s first house so the two families spent a lot of time together. As they got older, Mallory made it clear to Anthony and all their friends that she had strong feelings for Anthony and that she loved him, eventually, Anthony told Mallory he felt the same way and her response was finally. In High School, Mallory and Miley met Morgan Doughty at a party and the three of the hit it off and became extremely close. Miley started dating Anthony’s cousin, Connor Cook and Morgan was dating Paul Murdaugh who was one of Anthony and Connor’s best friends. It seemed like the perfect scenario when it came to a friend group and even after high school, they all stayed close. The three girls worked together at a retail clothing store and the boys would spend time doing typical southern boy things like hunting, fishing, and drinking beer.
On February 23rd, 2019, the six of them were invited to an oyster roast and to make the evening more of an adventure and to avoid traffic stops, they decided to take Paul’s family’s 17-foot boat. Paul purchased alcohol at a local gas station with his older brother’s I.D. because he was still underage. Surveillance footage from that gas station shows Paul not only purchasing the alcohol but as he made his way back to the truck where his friends were waiting, he threw his hands up in the air to celebrate that he had successfully got away with buying it. Before they got in the boat to head to the oyster roast, they started drinking at Paul’s family’s river house where they planned to stay that night. Before Paul got into the boat to drive all of his friends to the oyster roast, he funneled six beers and that would only be the beginning of his drinking for the night. Paul Murdaugh came from an extremely wealthy family and he defiantly had rich-kid syndrome as in he thought that he could do or say whatever he wanted without any consequences because his family would always be there to bail him out. And considering he came from a family full of lawyers it’s not hard to understand why Paul had this mentality.
I know a lot of you have probably heard about the history of the Murdaugh family given recent events but for the sake of this story, here is a quick history lesson on Paul’s family as they become an important part of Mallory’s story. The Murdaugh family is a well-known prominent legal family in Hampton County, South Carolina. Since the 1920s one member of this family served uninterrupted terms as the chief prosecuting attorney for South Carolina’s 14th district which consists of five of the state’s counties. So for the last 85 years or so, the Murdaugh family has been in charge of prosecuting all criminal cases in these five counties which explains why locals refer to this area as “Murdaugh Country.” Not only that, but this family also operated a successful 100-year-old law firm in the area that made millions of dollars each year. There are few people that would want to mess with the Murdaugh family including those trusted to hold people accountable when they broke the law. Paul’s grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh, served as the chief prosecuting attorney from 1987-2005 and Alex, his father, continued the family tradition and volunteered for the prosecuting attorney’s office and was known to be the lawyer to go to for injury and wrongful death lawsuits. These positions allowed them to have close connections with judges, sheriffs, and even patrol officers which made it easy for this family to live a life above the law. Alex married his college sweetheart, Maggie Murdaugh in 1993. In 1996 their first son, Buster was born and three years later, Paul was born. This family enjoyed a luxurious southern lifestyle and Buster and Paul would spend a lot of their time on the family’s 1700-acre hunting property in Moselle with their friends. Unlike most parents, Alex and Maggie didn’t deter their underage son Paul and his friends from drinking. In fact, they would often be the ones supplying them with the alcohol and partying right along with them. This behavior would be the start of the downfall of the Murdaugh family.
When they got to the oyster roast, the drinking continued and eventually it became clear that Paul was too drunk to drive the boat back. Not only that but it was also a very foggy night and the boat didn’t have working lights. A few people from the party offered to drive them home and they suggested that Paul could pick the boat back up in the morning but Paul was adamant that he didn’t want to leave his family’s boat behind and he wanted to be the one to drive his friends back home on the boat. As they were making their way home, Paul and Connor decided that they wanted to make one last pit stop by a local bar called Luther’s. Obviously, this caused some tension within the group because nobody wanted them to have any more to drink but Paul and Connor ended up going inside and taking two shots each. While they were inside the bar, the other four waited for them on the dock. Video footage from the dock captured some of their last moments before all six of their lives would be altered forever.
When Connor and Paul made their way back to the dock, Paul was throwing his hands in the air and seemed a bit aggressive, this was a telltale sign to his friends that Timmy had arrived. Timmy was Paul’s drunk alter ego nickname given to him by his friends and they would call him that when it was clear he had too much to drink. “Timmy” would become aggressive and cocky, and would sometimes even take off all of his clothes. This particular night, Timmy was in full swing and as the night went on Paul became more and more reckless while driving the boat. At one point he kept driving the boat in circles and would sometimes leave the wheel unattended to fight with Morgan while the boat was still moving. His friends witnessed Paul spit on Morgan, call her names, and even made rude comments about how her father didn’t make enough money to support her family, and then he slapped her across the face. Everyone on the boat knew Paul didn’t treat Morgan the way she deserved as she would show up to work crying about things he would do. However, this was the first time they witnessed physical abuse and Mallory and Miley gave Morgan a look like “you can’t hide this from us.” Connor tried to take control of the boat a few times but Paul would yell “I’m the only one that can drive this boat, I know this river better than anyone else” and he said those things multiple times throughout the night. The girls on the boat were scared and at one point Miley yelled at Paul demanding that he take them home but he refused and yelled back at her. His reckless driving continued for a while and I’m sure you could cut the tension on the boat with a knife. Everyone on the boat became scared and Anthony took Mallory into his arms. After about an hour of zig-zagging the boat around on the river and fighting with Morgan, Paul made his way back to the wheel of the boat and slammed the boat into full throttle increasing the boat’s speed. This was roughly around 2:00 am and at this point, they were near Archer’s creek which has been described to be very narrow and windy and there is one bridge in this area. Morgan and Miley were sitting on a cooler at the front of the boat, Mallory was sitting on Anthony’s lap in the back of the boat, and Paul was at the wheel and Connor was standing to his right. The boat hit the bridge going 32-34 MPH and the front of the boat went down and the back of the boat went up. The boat came to a stop at the base of the bridge on some rocks. The impact threw Morgan forward and it crushed her hand between the bridge and the boat and her injury required surgery, Miley had her feet up and she didn’t feel a whole lot of the impact but did suffer injuries to her arm. Connor was thrown into the center console and suffered a deep cut to his jaw and fractured it. Mallory and Anthony were ejected from the boat into the cold water and when everyone came to, they realized Mallory was missing. Miley starts screaming her name and Anthony went back into the water multiple times trying to find her but was unsuccessful because the current was too strong.
At 2:20am Connor called 911 to report the boat accident and about twenty Law Enforcement officers arrived on the scene. Mallory was still missing and Anthony was clearly distraught but Paul’s behavior was as if it was still another night of partying with his friends. He was laughing and carrying on without a care in the world and didn’t seem bothered that Mallory was missing. At one point Anthony calls Paul out on his behavior and he also says to an officer that he will get away with this because of who his Dad is. Paul kept asking to call his grandfather who had close connections to a lot of the officers that responded to the scene. After making it clear to all of his friends the entire night that he was the only person to drive the boat when he got on the phone with his grandfather, he told him that it was Connor who was driving and had crashed the boat. From the moment Law Enforcement stepped on the scene of the crash they mishandled the investigation and gave Paul special treatment because of the connections they had to his family. The lead investigator who was assigned to the case for the first 24 hours, Michael Brock, was a good friend of the Murdaughs and Anthony told Michael that Paul was the one driving and he had killed his girlfriend but of course, the video of that conversation is nowhere to be found. Not a single one of the responding officers thought to give Paul a sobriety test and never thought to put him in one of their cars to question him. They also never contacted Mallory’s parents to inform them that she was missing because they didn’t want them there causing “issues.” In fact, the only reason they found out their daughter had been in a boat accident and was missing was because her grandma heard about the accident that night and contacted her Mom. Nobody from law enforcement ever contacted the Beach family.
Even though Anthony had an injured shoulder, he refused to be transported to the hospital with the rest of his friends because he didn’t want to leave without Mallory. At the hospital, the chaos and entitled behavior of the Murdaugh family continued. Paul was still acting out and was clearly still very drunk. The hospital staff tested his blood alcohol level and even though some time had passed since he had his last drink, he was still 3x the legal limit. When Alex and Randolph Murdaugh arrived at the hospital, they were going from room to room telling each of them not to say anything to officers because they didn’t want them to figure out who was driving the boat because, at this point, there was some confusion if Paul was driving or it was Connor because Connor had attempted to take the boat over a few times. It was clear to the medical staff that Alex and Randolph were trying to create confusion. Then, when Connor’s parents got there, Alex walked up to his Dad and said “don’t worry we’re going to take care of Connor. I’ve got Connor’s back” implying that Connor was the one driving the boat. Knowing the kind of power this family has, it was no surprise that when asked, Connor said he didn’t know who was driving the boat because that is what Alex Murdaugh told him to say and it’s just an unspoken rule in this community that you don’t mess with the Murdaugh family. But when Connor’s Dad asked Connor if he was driving, Connor told him no and it was clear to Connor’s family that Alex was trying to frame Connor for the boat accident. Alex’s phone records showed that he called Austin Pritcher and other law enforcement officers involved in the investigation of the crash several times on the day of the crash and days after. Austin was not only his brother’s best friend but also the officer who was in charge of questioning the kids at the hospital but he never once called the Beach family because he was more concerned about covering for Paul so he wouldn’t face legal consequences than finding Mallory.
Meanwhile, Mallory’s family held out hope that she would be found alive and Anthony couldn’t bring himself to even leave the area where he last held Mallory in his arms. At one point, Mallory’s mother asked law enforcement if she could go down by the bridge where the boat was still located but the officer informed her, he was given strict instructions to not let anyone through. Not long after Mallory’s Mom was denied access, she watched Randolph and Maggie Murdaugh be waved through the tape to go to the boat. That’s when Mallory’s mother realized they were more concerned about a cover-up than finding her daughter. Then, John Marvin, Paul’s uncle, towed the boat away which essentially was a crime scene because Mallory was still missing. The day after the crash, Miley was interviewed as police tried to determine who was actually driving the boat but even Miley couldn’t say if it was Connor or Paul because her back was towards them when the boat crashed.
On March 3rd, eight days after Mallory went missing, the search team discovered Mallory’s body 5 miles from where she was ejected from the boat. The coroner’s office said that Mallory died from blunt force trauma and drowning.
When the Hampton County community learned of Mallory’s death, they also learned that a Murdaugh was involved and was most likely the one responsible for the accident. Everyone became fearful that the Beach family would never see justice because of the power the Murdaugh family had in the legal system but her family was still going to try. Her parents hired Mark Tinsley as their lawyer so they could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Murdaughs and the gas station that sold Paul the beer. One of the first things Mark wanted to do was determine who was driving the boat. Based on Connor’s injuries and the damage he did to the boat when he fell, there was no way Connor could have been driving the boat and the only possible person that could have been driving at that time, was Paul. In March 2019, the Beach family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the gas station and against the Murdaughs. Their lawsuit was against Alex and Maggie because they willfully contributed to Paul’s underage drinking. It also included Buster because he gave Paul his I.D. to buy the alcohol.
Then on April 18th, 2019, to the public’s surprise, Paul Murdaugh was indicted on three felony charges including one count of boating under the influence causing death, and two counts of boating under the influence causing bodily injury. This would have also been Mallory’s 20th birthday. Despite the seriousness of the criminal charges Paul was facing, he was still receiving special treatment. He was never formally arrested and wasn’t even brought to the police station for a formal mugshot. The mugshot that you see was taken against the wall in the courthouse on someone’s iPhone. He was given a $50,000 bond and the judge never gave him bond conditions that included no drinking or driving a boat. Paul moved into the family’s hunting cabin and continued drinking, having run-ins with the law, and living his life as if nothing happened. But the boat accident was the last straw for Paul’s friends who were on the boat, including his girlfriend who broke up with him that night. She says in a way, Mallory saved her from that abusive relationship. Mallory and Miley would eventually file injury lawsuits against the Murdaugh family as well as the gas station that sold Paul the alcohol. Anthony saw Paul one last time a few days after the accident and he said he could feel Paul trying to make eye contact with him. When Anthony finally looked at him Paul said “You know I love you and I’m sorry.” Connor had his own reason for cutting Paul off and rightfully so since he tried to blame the boat crash on him. Not only that, Alex Murdaugh told his parents to hire Cory Fleming to represent Connor during the investigation but he failed to mention that Cory was his best friend. It became clear to Connor and his family that the Murdaughs and others were orchestrating a campaign to have Connor held criminally and civilly responsible for the boat accident. Eventually, Connor would file his own lawsuit against the Murdaugh family for that exact reason. He also filed lawsuits against Buster for providing his I.D. to Paul and against the gas station just as Morgan, Miley, and the Beach family did.
On June 4th, 2021, the judge ordered a mandatory mediation between the Beach family and the Murdaugh family for the wrongful death lawsuits but it was unsuccessful which meant they were going to have to go to trial. But before Paul could be held accountable, on June 7th, 2021, Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered at the family’s hunting property in Moselle.
As I’m sure most of you know by now, there are more deaths surrounding the Murdaugh family but today I just wanted to focus on Mallory’s story and the boat accident. The lawsuits against the gas station have still not been settled but just this year on January 25th, a judge approved a settlement for Maggie’s estate which is worth a little over $4.3 million to be divided up between Buster, the Beach family, and the three surviving victims of the boat accident. The Beach family agreed to drop Buster from the lawsuit and they will receive approximately $600,000 for doing so and Buster will receive $530,000. Connor Cook will receive $100,000 and $290,000 will be eaten by legal fees. $275,000 will go towards paying off a mortgage company. The remaining balance will be divided up between Miley Altman, Morgan Doughty, and the Beach Family. The lawsuit will officially be settled once the sale of the 1700-acre Moselle property that was in Maggie’s name is finalized this month.
On March 2nd, Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife Maggie and his son Paul although he claims he is innocent. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As you probably know by now, there is a lot more to the Murdaughs than what I covered in today’s post. Besides the death of Maggie, Paul, and Mallory there are at least two other deaths that surround this family and I do plan to cover each case and story in separate posts including the murder of Maggie and Paul. But because of the overwhelming amount of crazy details in each case, I didn’t want to attempt to compile them all into one post.
At Mallory’s funeral, hundreds of people showed up to show their respect to her and her family which shows you just how loved she was. It’s Retail Therapy where Mallory worked with her two best friends released the following statement after Mallory’s body was found.
Our sweet Mallory was found on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was not the outcome we were praying for. Our Retail Therapy family is absolutely heartbroken. We are trying to find peace because we know she is in Heaven smiling down on all of us. We will always miss your beautiful smile and personality. It will never be the same without you! Rest In Peace sweet baby girl! We love you Mallory!!
My heart goes out to her family, Anthony, and all of her friends.