Alex Murdaugh arrested, facing felony charges in housekeeper death settlement funds case

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — Former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is in custody after state law enforcement arrested him on felony charges tied to the insurance proceeds from the death of his family's former housekeeper.

Murdaugh has been charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, according to a statement released Thursday morning from the State Law Enforcement Division.

He was taken into law enforcement custody Thursday morning after his release from a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Florida, according to SLED.

SLED had been investigating allegations that Alex Murdaugh had misappropriated settlement funds after the death of Gloria Satterfield, who died in an apparent trip and fall incident in 2018 at the Murdaugh family home in Hampton.

Murdaugh was taken to a correctional facility in Orange County, Florida, where he will be held until an extradition hearing. After that hearing, he will be brought back to South Carolina for a bond hearing, according to SLED.

Alex Murdaugh visual timeline: What happened? When? Where? Who's involved?

Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, S.C. Six investigations are underway, over the June 7 killings of his wife and son, allegations of stolen money, claims of coverups and a Sept. 4 shooting in which a bullet grazed Murdaugh's head on a lonely highway. Police said he tried to arrange his own death and make sure a $10 million life insurance policy would pay off for his surviving son. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, S.C. Six investigations are underway, over the June 7 killings of his wife and son, allegations of stolen money, claims of coverups and a Sept. 4 shooting in which a bullet grazed Murdaugh's head on a lonely highway. Police said he tried to arrange his own death and make sure a $10 million life insurance policy would pay off for his surviving son. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

SLED Chief Mark Keel released a statement Thursday stating that the state's investigation is ongoing.

“Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations. I want to commend the hard work and dedication that our agents have shown over the last four months," Keel said. "They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others. As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served.”

The case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

Murdaugh's attorney, Dick Harpootlian, did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment.

Satterfield's actual death from Feb. 26, 2018 is also under examination by SLED after Hampton County Coroner Angie Toper requested an investigation. She said Satterfield's cause of death was listed as "natural," which is inconsistent with the injuries she suffered.

The attorneys for Satterfield's children released a statement Thursday after Murdaugh was charged.

"Today is a bittersweet day for the Satterfield and Harriott Families. The families are extremely grateful to law enforcement, SLED and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office for its investigation and today’s criminal charges against Alex Murdaugh," attorneys Eric Bland and Ronald Richter said in a statement to The Greenville News. "The families and their attorneys are proud of how our justice system has conducted itself since the family had the courage to file its initial lawsuit on September 15, 2021 detailing the theft of the money recovered for the heirs of Gloria Satterfield in connection with her death."

Murdaugh case: What we know about the murders, money and mystery swirling around prominent family in South Carolina

Bland and Richter, in their statement, went on to discuss the family being betrayed by those they had trusted and how "their loved one's death was used as a vehicle to enrich others over the clients."

"The bottom line is no one is above the law," the statement reads.

Murdaugh has been at the center of several large-scale criminal investigations and civil lawsuits that are still unfolding. The saga includes the shooting deaths of his wife and son, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, allegations of Alex Murdaugh stealing funds from his family's law practice, a drug addiction and a botched murder-for-hire plot to go after a $10 million life insurance policy.

Separate lawsuits are also tied to a February 2019 fatal boat crash that involved Paul Murdaugh. SLED is also now investigating the 2015 previously unsolved death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith in light of the Maggie and Paul Murdaugh killings.

Follow Daniel J. Gross onTwitter: @danieljgross.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Alex Murdaugh arrested in housekeeper death settlement funds case