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One of the passengers aboard the boat belonging to Paul Murdaugh's family the night of a deadly 2019 crash that left one woman dead told police she believed that he was the one operating the boat, according to a video released this week.
Murdaugh, 22, and his mother were shot to death in a potentially related incident on June 7.
Miley Altman, who was 20 years old at the time, was on board the boat, a 17 foot Sea Hunt Triton 172, with Paul Murdaugh, Connor Cook, Mallory Beach, Anthony Cook, and Morgan Doughty when, at around 2:20 a.m. the vessel crashed into a piling of the R.C. Berkeley Bridge. Several passengers were injured and 19-year-old Beach was ejected and died. Altman first told Department of Natural Resources investigators that she was “pretty sure it was Paul” driving the boat before the crash — but couldn’t be certain as she wasn’t looking back at the console in those moments.
“I’m very sure it was Paul, but it could have been back and forth between them [Connor and Paul]...I wasn’t constantly looking back,” Altman told investigators after they pressed her further.
Altman said that some of the passengers were screaming as the boat sped toward the bridge and she was comforting Doughty in the seconds before the crash.
Altman also told investigators that Murdaugh made repeated requests to use her cell phone to call his grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh III, immediately after the crash. The video of her interview was obtained by Oxygen.com via FOIA request.
Questions have arisen about who was driving the boat at the moment of the crash as the Beach family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the wealthy Murdaugh family, who have been rumored to be involved in two other deaths over the past decade.
Connor Cook has accused investigators of setting him up to take the fall for the deadly accident. He also told attorneys that while he was in the hospital with a broken jaw after the crash, he was approached by Alex Murdaugh, Paul's father about keeping quiet about who had been driving the boat — information that was revealed when his 2020 deposition was unsealed last week.
The South Carolina DNR and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office have released no statement regarding the civil litigation and declined comment.
On June 7, Margaret Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul, were found shot to death at the family’s hunting compound in Islandton, a remote town an hour’s drive west of Charleston. Their bodies were discovered by Alex Murdaugh. The family has deep connections to the region, with multiple Murdaugh family members working as prosecutors in the 14th judicial circuit over generations.
At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh was facing three felony counts, including boating under the influence, after the February 2019 crash. Felony boating while intoxicated charges against Murdaugh were dropped earlier this month after his death.
Prosecutor Duffie Stone said in a statement in late June that there is no clear suspect in the Murdaugh double homicide. The family is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction in the double murder.
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