Phone calls to Maggie the night of the murder deleted from Murdaugh’s phone, witness says

Calls to Maggie Murdaugh’s phone the night she was murdered appear to have been deleted from Alex Murdaugh’s phone.

The State Law Enforcement Division agent who pulled the information from Murdaugh’s phone, testified on Wednesday to the discrepancy between the two phone records at the Colleton County Courthouse, where Murdaugh is on trial for the murders of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.

Records from Maggie’s phone introduced first on Tuesday indicated five missed calls from her husband at 9:04, 9:06, 9:06, 9:45 and 10:03 p.m. — after prosecutors allege she was killed. But those calls are missing from the call log on Murdaugh’s phone. The only activity recorded at the time was an unanswered call to Maggie made from Murdaugh’s phone at 10:25 p.m.

SLED Lt. Britt Dove said call logs can be overridden by subsequent call activity on a phone, but he didn’t see enough such activity on Murdaugh’s phone to explain why those calls would be missing.

“As call log builds up, phone calls might eventually drop off,” he said. “(But) that would be a pretty long list.”

Instead, “a gap like that would indicate it was actually removed from there,” Dove said Wednesday.

Several texts sent to Murdaugh’s phone that night also went unread until the next day, Dove said, including texts about his father’s hospitalization.

Dove testified he pulled all call logs on Maggie’s phone for the final two days of her life, June 5 to June 7, 2021. He said he examined all of Murdaugh’s phone activity from May 1 to the date of the murder.

Alex Murdaugh and defense attorney Dick Harpootlian review evidence during his trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 in Walterboro, S.C. Murdaugh, 54, is standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his 52-year-old wife and 22-year-old son. Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted. (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

Expert explains Maggie’s cellphone activity

On Tuesday, Dove was meticulously going through the call data, slowly painting a picture of the last moments of Maggie’s life, and what happened to her phone after she died

Maggie’s phone was found hundreds of meters from her body the night she and Paul were shot to death at the family’s rural Colleton County estate. While Paul’s phone was found near his body, Maggie’s was not recovered until the next day, when it was found on a road near the property using an app on her surviving son Buster’s phone. Buster had shared locations turned on for his mother’s phone.

Dove testified that when he received Maggie’s phone, it had five missed calls from Murdaugh. The agent’s testimony laid out side-by-side the timeline of those missed messages with the activity of Maggie’s phone, showing how the device moved because it recorded the steps of the person carrying it and even recorded orientation changes as though someone were moving the screen around in their hand — all after the time Maggie is believed to have been shot and killed at the family’s rural Colleton County estate.

At 8:49 pm, prosecutors say Maggie’s phone went silent forever, meaning Maggie never initiated any activity, answered any calls or read any texts from this point onward. But at 8:54 p.m., the phone’s camera activated as if it were trying to recognize a face for a facial recognition unlock. One orientation change occurred at 9:06 p.m. — the same time Murdaugh made one of several phone calls to Maggie’s phone.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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