This article is subscriber-only content. To get access to this and the rest of IslandPacket.com, subscribe or sign in.

Thanks for reading! To enjoy this article and more, please subscribe or sign in.

Unlimited Digital Access

$1.99 for 1 month

Subscribe with Google

$1.99 for 1 month

Let Google manage your subscription and billing.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to the IslandPacket.com's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
No thanks, go back

Are you a subscriber and unable to read this article? You may need to upgrade. Click here to go to your account and learn more.

Crime & Public Safety

What happened the night of the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach? A timeline

 
READ MORE

2019 Boat Crash Coverage

The crash of a Murdaugh family boat in 2019 killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach and started a chain of events that would remain in the news two years later. Here are the stories from that crash.

EXPAND ALL

Hampton South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh is facing lawsuits tied to the boating death of Mallory Beach and trip and fall death of Gloria Satterfield.

SC responded Wednesday to a petition alleging a civil conspiracy in Mallory Beach boat crash. SCDNR included a copy of boat passenger Connor Cook’s deposition.

Defense attorneys said they would have argued issues with evidence, police & witness statements against Paul Murdaugh in 2019 Mallory Beach boat crash trial.

After the 2019 boat crash near Beaufort SC, at least 3 aboard — Connor Cook, Mallory Beach, Paul Murdaugh — had illegal BAC levels, according to SLED.

The SC Attorney General’s Office’s case file shows extensive damage to the boat allegedly driven by Paul Murdaugh that crashed and killed Mallory Beach

Where were passengers seated before the Beaufort SC 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach? Documents released after Paul Murdaugh’s killing offer details.

SC AG’s Office on Friday dropped all BUI charges against Paul Murdaugh in Mallory Beach boat crash after his homicide in June. The investigation remains open.

Paul Murdaugh had BAC three times higher than legal limit in 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, forensic toxicologist says. He was murdered 2 months ago.

Documents from the night Mallory Beach was killed in a boat crash show Alex Murdaugh tried to interfere at hospital, limit suspects’ interviews with police.

DNR documents show a timeline of events, where boaters went, prior to the 2019 SC boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. Paul Murdaugh was indicted for the crash.

New depositions in Mallory Beach family civil case show police were unsure whether Paul Murdaugh or Connor Cook was driving the boat in 2019 South Carolina crash.

New depositions filed on behalf of Connor Cook show several inconsistencies by investigators after the 2019 boat crash that Paul Murdaugh was ultimately charged for.

Interviews from SC DNR, Sheriff’s Office give new information about the 2019 deadly boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, led to charges for Paul Murdaugh.

Connor Cook, one of the passengers in the 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, filed a petition claiming civil conspiracy during the investigation that charged Paul Murdaugh.

South Carolina Attorney General’s Office begins investigation how police responded Mallory Beach boat crash killing, where Paul Murdaugh was indicted for BUI.

A lawyer for Mallory Beach’s family says police improperly investigated, influenced the 2019 SC boat crash investigation for which Paul Murdaugh was indicted.

Almost 20 months after Paul Murdaugh crashed a boat into a bridge near Beaufort SC and killed Mallory Beach, the lawsuit her mother filed may go to trial.

Hampton SC teen Mallory Beach killed in Beaufort boat crash in 2019. On death anniversary, a look at events surrounding wreck, Paul Murdaugh criminal charges.

Parker’s #55 Convenience Store says via court documents Paul Murdaugh and his family used a plan of deceit to trick a clerk when buying alcohol ahead of a Beaufort County boat crash that killed teen Mallory Beach.

The family of Mallory Beach is asking that a civil case connected to a fatal 2019 boat crash stay in Hampton County and that a judge deny a motion to change venue to Beaufort County previously filed by Parkers 55.

Phillip Beach, Mallory Beach’s dad, remembers his life with his teen daughter a year after she was killed in a Beaufort County boat crash. He asks for justice in the criminal and civil cases.

A motion filed by an attorney representing Mallory Beach’s mom in a wrongful death lawsuit says Parker’s has failed to provide evidence in the civil case over the fatal boat crash that killed the teen.

Months after 19-year-old Mallory Beach died in a boat crash near Parris Island SC, a motion to move the civil case from Hampton County to Beaufort County was filed. No date has been set in Paul Murdaugh’s trial.

Paul Murdaugh, the son of a powerful Hampton SC family, was the only driver IDed by victims the night of the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, recently released reports say. No trial date set.

911 calls show confusion among Beaufort County police, fire and rescue officials after the boat crash that killed Hampton County teen Mallory Beach. No charges filed yet in the case that involved alcohol.

Paul Murdaugh, the Hampton man facing felony BUI charges in the fatal boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, asked Beaufort County SC court to change his bond conditions so he can go to University of South Carolina.

Paul Murdaugh, the Hampton, SC man accused of drunkenly driving the boat that crashed near Parris Island and killed Mallory Beach, was charged with an alcohol violation in 2017 in Beaufort, SC area by DNR.

Paul Murdaugh, of Hampton, SC, filed a motion to change the conditions of his bond in the case of the fatal Beaufort County boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. Murdaugh faces 3 felony charges

Paul Murdaugh, the 20-year-old Hampton Co. man facing 3 felony boating under the influence charges in the fatal crash that killed Mallory Beach in Beaufort County SC, was allowed to take his mugshot wearing his own clothes.

Two judges have asked to be removed from a Hampton County lawsuit alleging a former solicitor, Randolph Murdaugh III, allowed underage drinking before a Beaufort County SC boat crash that killed Mallory Beach.

An attorney for Mallory Beach’s mom has subpoenaed the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for the investigative case file on a Beaufort County SC boat crash that killed the teen in February.

Paul Murdaugh, of Hampton, SC, is set to appear in a Beaufort County court Monday. The 20-year-old from a powerful family is accused of drunkenly driving the boat that crashed near Beaufort and killed Mallory Beach.

Paul Murdaugh of Hampton SC indicted on 3 counts, boating under the influence causing death and two counts of BUI causing great bodily harm, in the Feb. 24 Beaufort Co. boat crash that killed Mallory Beach.

Paul Murdaugh, 20, has not been arrested on charges connected to a Beaufort County SC boat crash that killed Mallory Beach in February. He was charged last week with boating while intoxicated causing death.

South Carolina attorney General has received the report into SCDNR’s investigation of the Mallory Beach boat crash. Beach died in a bridge crash where alcohol was involved just outside of Parris Island.

Mallory Beach’s mother filed suit in Hampton County against 3 Murdaugh family members. The lawsuit claims the former solicitor allowed minors to drink alcohol on his property before the fatal Feb. boat crash.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has recused itself from the investigation into where the 18-to 20-year-old boaters bought and consumed alcohol prior to a Feb. 24 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach.

Mallory Beach’s mother is suing the Beaufort, SC party hosts, bar, and business that allegedly provided alcohol to minors who were in the boating crash that killed the 19 year old near Parris Island bridge.

The owner of a boat involved in a Beaufort County boat crash that killed teen Mallory Beach of Hampton County on Feb. 24 will be sued in the future, an attorney for Beach’s mother said.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources said “charges are very possible” in the investigation of a Parris Island boat accident that killed Mallory Beach, a Hampton County teen. Beach was missing for a week after the Feb. 24 crash.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials say two people suspected of driving a boat that crashed into a bridge near Parris Island killing teen Mallory Beach on Feb. 24 have yet to talk to investigators.

Hundreds attended a funeral for Mallory Beach, 19, of Hampton County Thursday. Beach went missing after a Feb. 24 boating crash in Beaufort County. Her body was found Sunday.

A sobriety test was not offered to two boaters suspected of possibly being the driver of a fatal boat crash in Beaufort County, officials have said. Hampton County teen Mallory Beach was killed in the Feb. 24 accident.

A body found Sunday has been identified as missing boater Mallory Beach. Beach was ejected from the boat she was riding on when it crashed into a bridge in Beaufort County. She was missing for a week.

Volunteers helped search Beaufort County rivers for Mallory Beach, who went missing Feb. 24 after the boat she was in crashed into a bridge near Parris Island. A boater discovered a body in a marsh Sunday afternoon.

A female body has been found near where Mallory Beach, 19, of Hampton County went missing, sources say. Beach has been missing for a week, after the boat she was a passenger in struck a piling on a bridge in Beaufort County at 2 a.m. on Feb. 24.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources is still investigating who was driving a boat that crashed into a Beaufort County bridge early Sunday morning. The search continues for missing Hampton County teen.

Members of the well-connected Murdaugh family in South Carolina were in legal trouble after a boat crash killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach near Beaufort, SC.

A search for a teenager Mallory Beach, missing since a boat crashed into a bridge off Parris Island, SC, early Sunday morning, continued Tuesday. Officials said they don’t yet know whether alcohol had a role in the accident.

A water search for a boater missing after a boat crashed into a bridge in a Parris Island creek continued Monday. SCDNR, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and other emergency officials searched for Mallory Beach.

S.C. Department of Natural Resources and local agencies are searching the Archers Creek waterway near Shell Point for a female boater who went missing after the boat she was on crashed into a bridge early Sunday morning.

This story first published July 21, 2021.

Paul Murdaugh kept driving the boat in circles.

It was past 1 a.m. and the five other passengers were getting annoyed.

Click to resize

One passenger, Miley Altman, stood up and yelled at Murdaugh to let someone else drive.

Murdaugh, who was drunk, yelled back.

“You think y’all know this river better than me? This is my boat, I’ll be damned if anyone else drives my [boat],” he said, according to Altman’s statement to DNR.

The exchange was one of several times Murdaugh argued with other occupants of the boat in the early morning hours of February 24, 2019, DNR documents show.

Not long after, the 17-foot Sea Hunt boat slammed into bridge pilings, flinging 19-year-old Mallory Beach into the brisk waters of Archers Creek.

A pair of boaters found her body a week later.

The events of that night 2 1/2 years ago are well known in the Lowcountry. But hundreds of pages of S.C. Department of Natural Resources documents released Friday paint a clearer picture of what happened in the hours leading up to the February 2019 boat crash that killed Beach — and led to Murdaugh’s indictment on felony charges of boating under the influence.

The documents include statements by passengers, police interviews, surveillance footage and GPS coordinates. They offer a timeline of events from late afternoon, when Murdaugh purchased alcohol at a local gas station, to 1 a.m. shots at a Beaufort waterfront bar, to the tragic death of a young woman.

DNR’s release of documents comes more than six weeks after Murdaugh was found shot to death along with his mother at their sprawling hunting property in Colleton County. Police have provided no information about potential suspects or possible motives in the June 7 double homicide.

Here is a timeline of what happened just before the 2019 boat crash, according to DNR investigative documents:

5:30 PM - Parker’s in Ridgeland

Paul Murdaugh, 20 at the time, drove a white pickup truck with a boat in tow to a Parker’s gas station in Ridgeland on the afternoon of Feb. 23, 2019.

He walked in the store and picked up a 6-pack of Michelob Ultra beers, a 12-pack of White Claw seltzers and a 15-pack of Natural Light beers.

 

At the counter, Murdaugh asked the cashier for a pack of Marlboro cigarettes and presented his older brother’s ID. He fidgeted with his sleeves and added a pack of mint gum to the order, according to surveillance footage.

Murdaugh exited the store minutes later and walked out to his truck. Noticing a friend had pulled up next to his car in the parking lot, Murdaugh triumphantly hoisted the new score of booze over his head, the footage shows.

6:36 PM - River House on Chechessee Creek

A look at “The Island,” the land owned by the Murdaugh family where the group of young adults initially consumed alcohol and then launched the boat for the night, according to the civil lawsuit filed by Mallory Beach’s mother. Google Maps

According to DNR’s timeline of events, all the passengers — Miley Altman, Anthony Cook, Connor Cook, Morgan Doughty, Mallory Beach and Murdaugh — met at the Murdaugh river house, a $1.45 million property owned by Murdaugh’s grandfather on Chechessee Creek, less than 2 miles from Parkers.

Court filings in the wrongful death suit filed by Beach’s mother refer to this property as “The Island.” The filings say the group of young adults started drinking there.

At 7:07 p.m., they all boarded a 17-foot Sea Hunt boat owned by Murdaugh’s father, Alex Murdaugh, and left for an oyster roast on Paukie Island, which is north of the Broad River and nearly 20 miles away.

8:00 PM - Paukie Island

Kristy Wood, a school principal at Brunson Elementary in Hampton County, and her husband, James, hosted an oyster roast for “friends and their families,” according to Kristy Wood’s statements to DNR and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division.

Guests came by boat and car. They served oysters, appetizers, and a crab boil. The event was “bring your own beer” for those of legal age, according to Wood.

Murdaugh and his friends, all underage, arrived around 8 p.m. They played cornhole and sat by the fire.

“No kids were seen drinking at our house nor were they provided alcohol,” Wood wrote.

A statement by Morgan Doughty, Murdaugh’s then-girlfriend, disputes that.

At the roast, Doughty and the other passengers “all drank alcohol and ate food,” she said.

Wood said she talked to the kids, and none appeared intoxicated or had concerns about being on the boat.

“Paul is very familiar with boats and navigating water,” according to Wood’s statement.

Murdaugh and his friends left after midnight. Wood said she asked them if they wanted to stay over at her house because of the temperature and “not for any other concern,” she said.

12:11 AM - Beaufort River

DNR created a timeline of events based on the boat’s GPS navigation system.

The timeline shows the group of six young adults boated from Paukie Island toward Beaufort’s waterfront.

Murdaugh and the group left because “Paul wanted to get shots” in downtown Beaufort, according to Miley Altman’s statement.

According to DNR’s timeline, the boat almost collided with the Woods Memorial Bridge at 12:35 a.m.

Morgan Doughty said in her statement that Connor Cook had to take the wheel because Murdaugh was going to hit the bridge. However, Doughty’s recollection puts the near-miss later in the night.

GPS coordinates show that the group arrived at the day dock in downtown Beaufort at 12:39 a.m. A minute later, the group pushed off from the dock and traveled away, according to the coordinates.

Four minutes later, at 12:44 a.m., the boat arrived back at the day dock for a second time. The group tied up and exited the boat.

12:55 AM - Luther’s Rare and Well Done

Pictured is the back patio of Luther’s Well & Done as seen on Friday, Jan. 21, 2020, in downtown Beaufort. According to the lawsuit filed by Mallory Beach’s mother, the group of intoxicated underage boaters stopped at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, some being served alcohol at the bar, before the boat accident which killed Beach. Drew Martin dmartin@islandpacket.com

Once they tied up the boat for the second time, the group split up. Murdaugh and Connor Cook went to get shots at Luther’s Rare and Well Done, a nearby bar on the waterfront.

“Morgan was yelling at [Murdaugh] not to go but he did anyways,” Altman said.

The other four passengers waited on the swings at the waterfront park.

Once inside, Murdaugh and Cook ordered shots of Jägermeister. After that, they took shots of lemon drop, a vodka lemon mix.

Paul Terry Murdaugh, left with stripe, and Connor Cook, behind, prepare to leave Luther’s Rare and Well Done on Feb. 24, 2019 after law enforcement said the two each had two shots of alcohol. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said the two were in the bar for 12 minutes before heading back to Mallory Beach and the others. S.C. Department of Natural Resources

Altman said she and Doughty went to the bar to get Murdaugh and Cook.

According to Altman, Murdaugh knocked down a chair at the bar and another person joked “what did that chair ever do to you?”

“As Paul walked away, he looked at Connor and said ‘What did he say to me?’” according to Altman’s statement. “[Murdaugh] turned back around and asked the guy if he had a problem with him.”

Connor Cook had to hold Murdaugh back and bring him to the boat, she said.

“When Paul and Connor came out of the bar, I could tell how intoxicated they both were,” Morgan Doughty wrote in her statement to DNR.

 

1:13 AM - Beaufort River

The young adults climbed back into the boat tied up at the dock at 1:13 a.m., according to the timeline.

They traveled south toward Port Royal Sound, in the direction of the Murdaugh river house.

According to Altman, Murdaugh was driving the boat. Beach sat on Anthony Cook’s lap in the back of the boat.

Connor Cook, she said, stood on the right side of the boat.

Altman said she and Doughty began to notice the boat was traveling in circles.

“We all got irritated,” Altman’s statement said. “It was funny at first, but then we ALL got mad and fed up and told Paul to let someone else drive. ...”

A screenshot of surveillance footage shows Paul Murdaugh and the five other boat passengers on the day dock in downtown Beaufort. This was part of a recent release of documents in the 2019 boat crash criminal investigation conducted by the SC Department of Natural Resources. SC DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES CASE FILE

She said she yelled at Murdaugh to let Connor Cook drive. Murdaugh “got aggressive” and yelled back that it was his boat.

“Paul drove almost all the way” to Sands Beach in Port Royal, Doughty wrote in her statement to DNR. “From there we begged Connor to drive.”

Altman’s statement says that Cook and Murdaugh switched off driving around this time.

According to DNR’s timeline, the boat slowed down at 2:20 a.m. as Murdaugh moved to the front of the boat to argue with Morgan Doughty.

Murdaugh, according to Doughty, “got close to my face screaming, cussing and saying horrible things.”

Altman said she saw Doughty push her boyfriend away and say “What are you going to hit [me] like you have all those times before?”

Murdaugh hit Doughty. She hit him back, Altman said.

He then walked to the steering wheel and grabbed it from Cook, according to both statements.

According to DNR’s timeline, the boat’s speed increased at 2:20 a.m.

Pictured is R.C. Berkeley Bridge as seen on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, that connects Port Royal Island to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, carrying vehicles over Archers Creek. According to police reports, a boat carrying a group of intoxicated young adults in the early morning hours of Jan. 24, 2019, with heavy fog, struck the pilings of the narrow opening that killed Mallory Beach, 19, after she was thrown from the boat. Drew Martin dmartin@islandpacket.com

Altman, according to her statement, noticed a bridge that “came out of nowhere.”

“Right before we hit it I screamed ‘watch out’ and we made impact and the boat kept going and hit the shore,” Altman wrote.

Doughty wrote that Altman screamed Cook’s name before hitting the pilings.

According to DNR’s timeline, the boat smacked into dolphin pilings at 2:20 a.m. at the bridge along Archers Creek.

A minute later, the boat hit the bank under the bridge and stopped.

Mallory Beach was nowhere to be found.

This story was originally published July 21, 2021 2:51 PM.

$2 for 2 months
#ReadLocal

Subscribe for unlimited access to our website, app, eEdition and more

CLAIM OFFER
MORE CRIME & PUBLIC SAFETY
Copyright Privacy Policy Do Not Sell My Personal Information Terms of Service