First report on Murdaugh murders now public, offering glimpse of initial police response

Police found shell casings and were searching for nearby video surveillance cameras after the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, according to 18 pages of heavily redacted police reports released Monday afternoon.

The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office reports, which are almost completely bowdlerized, offer a rough sketch of law enforcement’s initial response after the mother and son were found shot to death outside their sprawling Colleton County property.

Monday’s news release is the first official release of police reports since the double homicide. The release follows a recent lawsuit against the agency for keeping the reports from the public.

The released documents include 11 narrative reports from officers who responded to the scene of the shootings. Most of the reports are redacted, some fully so.

At 10:07 p.m. on June 7, Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received a call about a double homicide at 4147 Moselle Road in Islandton, according to the SLED’s first statement after the murders. It’s a remote property near the border with Colleton and Hampton counties.

Deputies arrived nearly 20 minutes later and found the bodies of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, according to narrative reports. They secured the scene and marked shell casings, according to one report. However, one supplemental report says one officer responded at 10:07 p.m., the same time the 911 call was received.

The following morning, other deputies were instructed to look for homes and businesses with exterior cameras facing the road.

One part of a report that would show whether there was forced entry into the Murdaugh residence was redacted.

SLED, in a news release about the police reports, said it is evaluating records and will release more information “when possible.”

The agency said it has been inundated with Freedom of Information Act requests.

Last week, The Post and Courier in Charleston sued the police agencies investigating the murders, alleging that they violated the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release police reports and 911 calls. SLED still has not released other documents, including 911 calls.

“I urge the public to be patient and let the investigation take its course,” SLED Chief Mark Keel said in the release. “This case is complex, and we will not rush this or any investigation. Investigative decisions we make throughout this case must withstand the scrutiny of the criminal justice process. SLED agents continue to interview possible witnesses, collect and process potential evidence, and investigate every lead with the same diligence we devote to every case.

“SLED agents are working tirelessly with our partners to build a case against any person responsible for the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh to ensure that justice is served,” Keel said.

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