The Sad True Story of Mallory Beach From ‘Murdaugh Murders’
The new Netflix true crime documentary series Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal chronicles the brutal deaths of Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh and her son Paul Murdaugh, both of whom belonged to a wealthy, powerful three-generation family of prosecutors in South Carolina.
The series follows the events of several years leading up to Maggie and Paul's murders in 2021, including multiple incidents which the family appeared to have attempted to cover up: most gravely, the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach in 2019.
"What I have learned about her is that she was unquestionably a people person, and people loved her," the Beach family's attorney Mark Tinsley told People in 2021. "Just a very bright, vibrant person. She had a strong belief in her faith, and she was active in the church, and she loved adopted animals."
Mallory was a close friend of Paul's then-girlfriend, Morgan Daughty, who was subjected to physical and psychological abuse during her relationship with him. In the documentary, Morgan claims that Mallory tried to warn her about the violent behavior that Paul would exhibit while intoxicated.
What happened to Mallory Beach?
On February 23, 2019, Mallory boarded Paul Murdaugh's boat along with her boyfriend Anthony Cook, his cousin Connor Cook, Connor's girlfriend Miley Altman, as well as Paul Murdaugh and Morgan Daughty. "Paul insisted on driving to a bar in downtown Beaufort," says Altman in the documentary. They had all been drinking.
After leaving the bar, the group re-boarded the boat, and in both the documentary and her court testimon, Morgan Daughty claims that Paul was behaving erratically and kept abandoning the wheel. At 2:20 a.m., the boat crashed into the Archers Creek Bridge, and Mallory Beach fell into the water.
Was Mallory ever found?
Authorities spent eight days searching for Mallory, and her body was eventually recovered on March 3, over five miles down river from the site of the crash. Paul Murdaugh was charged with causing her death through his actions while under the influence, along with causing harm to the boat's other passengers. He was awaiting trial when he and his mother were murdered in 2021.
"The sad part is that the victims are getting lost in all of this," said Tinsley of Alex Murdaugh's trial, describing the multiple scandals surrounding the Murdaughs as a "three-ring circus" and concluding: "There are a number of victims who are entitled to justice."
Alex Murdaugh, who is currently standing trial for the murder of his wife and son, has stated that he believes their deaths to be a result of "random vigilantes" acting out of vengeance for what happened to Mallory.
"I believe then and I believe today that the wrong person saw and read that because I can tell you for a fact the person or people who did what I saw on June the 7th — they hated Paul Murdaugh and they had anger in their heart," he said while under cross-examination. "That is the only reason that someone could be mad at Paul-Paul like that, and hate him like that. I did then believe it was the boat wreck, and I do believe now that it was the boat wreck that had something to do with that."
Update: Mallory's father says "justice has been served"
On Friday March 3, 2023, a judge gave Alex Murdaugh two life sentences for the murders of Maggie and Paul, which prosecutors argued were a result of spiraling drug addiction and an attempt to cover up various financial crimes at his legal practice.
While this case was ostensibly unrelated to Mallory's death, her father Phillip Beach was present at the courthouse when the sentencing was doled out.
"I'm grateful," he told reporters. "Justice has been served."
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