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Rape kit performed as part of investigation into Stephen Smith’s mysterious death


As part of the investigation into a South Carolina teenager’s mysterious death, authorities performed a rape kit, according to NewsNation. Law enforcement have not released information so far claiming that Stephen Smith, 19, was in someway sexually assaulted, but now-retired Corporal Mike Duncan, who was part of the original accident investigation team, called the move unusual.

Smith’s death was initially investigated as a hit-and-run. When asked by NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield, Duncan said he had never seen a rape kit ordered in such a case.

“When it comes to traffic accidents, never,” he said. “This was the very first time. I did not have an understanding of why it was being ordered. We were not notified until later that it had been ordered. So no, I have no answers for you for why they would order a rape kit for what would be suspected as a hit and run, which it wasn’t, but I will never understand that.”

Smith, a nursing student, was found dead back on July 2015 — his cause and manner of death were initially undetermined. Police at first said Smith was hit by a car and died on a road. An autopsy said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head due to a motor vehicle crash. But authorities later determined it was a homicide after an apparently unrelated case reignited interest. Smith had been found near the hunting estate of the locally prominent Murdaugh family. The patriarch Alex Murdaugh was convicted on March 2 of murdering his wife Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and their youngest son Paul Murdaugh, 22, at that same estate.

It was recently announced that Smith’s body will be exhumed and reexamined as part of an independent autopsy.

His mother said that she would not waste any time in moving forward with the exhumation and autopsy of her son’s body after she raised more than $53,000 on a GoFundMe page.

“I could not have imagined when we began this fundraiser that it would take off the way that it did. Thank you for not allowing Stephen’s story to be swept under a rug,” she wrote. “We will pursue the exhumation immediately and provide updates along the way.”

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

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