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On February 19th, 2019, 19-year-old Mallory Beach was aboard a boat in Beaufort when it crashed and killed her. She was an popular girl with many friends.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources released surveillance video and 911 dispatch audio that captured the hours leading up to the crash. It was a terrifying experience for everyone on board - including Mallory.
What happened to Mallory Beach is a story that continues to rock the South Carolina lowcountry. It has roots in years-long financial crimes, mysterious deaths and murders that have taken a toll on both families and local communities alike.
In 2019, Mallory Beach, 19 years old and partner to Paul Murdaugh, was thrown from her boyfriend's boat into Archers Creek Bridge in Beaufort, SC. Although her body was discovered five days later, many remain confused as to what happened to Mallory and why she died.
Her aunt reported that she had graduated from Wade Hampton High School and worked at a clothing store in Beaufort, SC. According to her aunt, she was "well-liked" and "loved everyone".
On Tuesday evening, February 23, 2019, Mallory and her boyfriend went out for a boat ride with some friends - including Paul Murdaugh's cousin Anthony Cook, whom she considered her friend.
At the end of the night, Paul Murdaugh, who was drunk at the time, drove his family's boat into Archers Creek Bridge. Following the crash, he was charged with boating under influence and other felonies.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was placed on bond until his trial in 2021, yet his case has remained open. It wasn't until this week that a judge ruled that Mallory's family could proceed with their wrongful death lawsuit against Parker's Corporation and Murdaugh at trial together in January 2023.
For years, this decision had been delayed. But ultimately, the judge's approval was given with consideration to the public interest in the case and could help reunite grieving families and provide some closure in an intricate matter.
Renee Beach, Mallory's mother, filed a separate wrongful death suit against Alex Murdaugh and Parker's Corporation in addition to the wrongful death suit. She requested that the court disbar Murdaugh so her case can be tried separately and also claimed that John Marvin Murdaugh placed frivolous lis pendens on their Moselle home without proper justification.
Mallory Beach was 19 years old when she tragically perished in a boat crash near Parris Island. Her family described her as bubbly, kind and well-liked - traits which her friends and family praised her for.
She had recently graduated from Wade Hampton High School and was studying at the College of Charleston. She had many friends, and everyone she encountered loved her. Her job at a clothing store in Beaufort led to an ambition to pursue interior design.
On Saturday, February 23, 2019, Mallory Beach and her boyfriend Anthony Cook decided to spend the night at a house party on Paukie Island. Additionally, they planned on taking Paul Murdaugh's boat there so they could go boating with Connor Cook and Miley Altman.
On their way to Murdaugh Island, owned by Paul Murdaugh, the two teens stopped for a while before heading off to a house party. While there, they consumed alcohol.
Around 1.15 am, six teenagers - including Mallory Beach and her boyfriend Anthony Cook - returned to the boat, allegedly drunk and acting recklessly. Surveillance footage captured by law enforcement shows that six individuals boarded the vessel.
Police officers discovered a broken radio and an empty bottle of beer on board the boat, which had been severely damaged in the crash. Furthermore, many passengers suffered injuries as a result of that collision.
CBS News reported that police determined Paul Murdaugh to have been under the influence at the time of his accident. He denied all three felony counts of boating under influence and was released on bond.
However, Paul died before he could face trial for his crimes. On June 2021, Paul and his mother Maggie Murdaugh were shot and killed in their home.
On November 4, 2022, NBC Dateline will air the Mallory Beach case for the first time ever in media.
Her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Paul Murdaugh, his parents Maggie and Alex Murdaugh, as well as other defendants. The suit alleges that the Murdaughs allowed Paul's drinking and reckless behavior to continue. They have also named Paul's older brother Buster as an additional defendant who provided his ID to the teens so they could purchase alcohol.
On February 24, 2019, Mallory Beach, 19 years old from South Carolina, tragically passed away in a boating accident while enjoying time with her boyfriend and friends on a cruise in Beaufort County. She had been riding along with them at the time.
Her family reported that she graduated from Wade Hampton High School and worked at a clothing boutique in Beaufort. She was an admired student with many friends.
She had many aspirations in life, such as becoming an interior designer. Additionally, she had a boyfriend named Anthony Cook.
Her parents, Phillip Harley Beach and Renee Searson Beach, were extremely close to her; they always loved and supported her in everything she accomplished.
Mallory's passing was a tragic event for her family and friends. She was an amazing individual who always tried her best and wanted to do the right thing. Mallory will be greatly missed by those close to her.
At present, it is believed she drowned in the water. Her body was discovered a few days later and a pathologist determined her cause of death to be blunt force trauma and drowning.
Though we have yet to see any proof that Murdaugh is responsible for her death, he was apparently drunk when the crash occurred. According to reports, his blood alcohol content was 286.1 milligrams per deciliter - more than three times the legal limit.
The teenager's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Murdaugh and Parker's for selling alcohol to underage customers. Additionally, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources released audio and video evidence from the night of the accident.
On February 23, 2019, Paul Murdaugh is believed to have been under the influence when he allegedly crashed his boat into a family member's vessel. He was with friends Connor Cook, Morgan Doughty, Miley Altman and Anthony Cook; all teenagers.
He reportedly drove the boat recklessly and disregarded warnings from friends to stop. Following the crash, he was arrested and charged with multiple felonies.
One month after the accident, Paul's family was given permission to interview Connor, Morgan, and Miley about their interactions with him. They were then released on bail while Paul awaited trial.
After Mallory Beach's passing, her family and friends embarked on an emotional journey. Her mother Renee Beach and father Phillip Beach were heartbroken over their loss but determined to fight for justice.
After the crash, Beach's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Murdaugh family and Parker's Corporation convenience store for selling Paul Murdaugh alcohol before he crashed into Archers Creek Bridge near Beaufort. This suit was ultimately settled with Buster Murdaugh, Paul's younger brother, and Maggie Murdaugh's estate for an undisclosed amount.
According to court filings, Paul Murdaugh had been drinking when he took his boat out on the water that night. Additionally, it is alleged that he used his older brother's ID for alcohol purchases hours prior to the crash, according to several court records.
Police reported Paul Murdaugh had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.15 at the time of the crash, more than twice the legal limit for driving in South Carolina. He was charged with multiple felonies including boating under influence and causing death or injury while aboard a vessel.
Paul Murdaugh was released on bail pending trial after pleading not guilty to all charges. He was then sentenced to 15 months of probation.
Since Mallory's passing, the Murdaugh family has become embroiled in a swirling web of media and social media drama. HBO Max's "Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty," as well as an upcoming Netflix docuseries called "Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal," have brought their story into the public eye.
It's not unheard-of for such scandal to damage a family's reputation, but the Murdaughs' actions and statements have been particularly controversial. They have been connected to multiple alleged crimes, including Paul Murdaugh's 2021 murder and that of his mother Maggie in 2021.
Once the murders were made public, Alex Murdaugh, Paul and Buster Murdaugh's father, was forced to resign his position as head of Hampton County School District. As investigations continued into their deaths, investigators began looking further into Paul's past; it emerged that he had been a former juvenile delinquent and drug abuser who turned his back on his family members.