UPDATE: SLED provided an update Friday confirming they asked and received permission to exhume Satterfield’s remains and said the process will take weeks to complete. Read their statement below:
“Agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) sought and received permission from the Satterfield family, through their attorney, to exhume the remains of Gloria Satterfield.
This is a complex process that will take weeks, not days.
This investigation is still active and ongoing.”
COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Investigators with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are hoping to find answers in the death of a suspended attorney’s longtime housekeeper. Gloria Satterfield died after allegedly tripping and falling down the stairs at Alex Murdaugh’s Colleton County home in 2018.
According to 9-1-1 calls made by members of the Murdaugh family, Satterfield fell while walking up the stairs and began bleeding uncontrollably from her head.
She spent several weeks in the hospital before dying from the injuries. The cause of death was listed as natural and no autopsy was performed.
“There’s really nothing natural about a 57-year-old woman falling down a flight of stairs to her death,” says family Attorney Ronnie Richter.
SLED has asked Satterfield’s family for their permission to exhume her body and perform an autopsy four years after her death. Richter says while Satterfield’s death from the injuries makes sense, state investigators and Satterfield’s family question what caused her to fall down the stairs — if she did indeed fall.
“You know that part of it makes sense,” says Richter. “She had a terrible fall, a significant brain injury, a long hospitalization, and the death that follows. You know that sequence of events makes sense. But again, I guess there are still some questions about exactly how she fell that day.”
They hope exhuming the body will provide some answers.
“Coming to learn what they’ve learned subsequently about Alex and the way their matters were handled, there’s reason to question everything and it is unusual and unsatisfying that when the coroner investigation opened up, it was just immediately closed and ruled a natural death,” Richter said.
Richter says his clients are in the process of deciding whether or not to grant the request but says they are committed to seeing the investigation through. If approved, it’s unclear when Satterfield’s body would be exhumed.