Tag Archive for: mystery


Police say they are investigating death of Buster Murdaugh’s classmate and rumored lover as a homicide.

Lebanon: Protesters try to storm government HQ amid economic turmoil.



Another “Murdaugh Murder”? Police re-investigating 2015 death of Buster Murdaugh classmate

Earlier this month, disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was found guilty in the grisly 2021 shooting deaths of his wife Maggie and son Paul. The conviction followed a sensational 6-week trial, attended nearly every day by Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster. 26. Now Buster himself is facing scrutiny in connection with another mysterious case.

In July 2015, the body of Stephen Smith, 19, was found lying dead in the middle of a rural road, about 15 miles from the Murdaugh estate. Authorities at the time ruled Smith’s death to be the result of a hit-and-run. However, some investigators who attended the scene expressed doubts, saying it looked more as if Smith had been killed elsewhere and dumped in the road.

None of the tell-tale signs of a car having struck a pedestrian were present. There was no broken glass or tire marks at the scene. Smith’s loose-fitting shoes were still on his feet and his phone was still in his back pocket, both of which are unusual in vehicular homicides. There was also no sign Smith had been dragged along the ground.

Nevertheless, the medical examiner ruled it a hit-and-run. When South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Todd Proctor went to the pathologist and questioned her conclusions, he said she was combative. “I asked her why she stated that in the report,” Trooper Proctor wrote in his report. “Her answer was ‘because he was found in the road‘.”

Rumors of rumors

It so happened that Smith, a nursing student, had been a high school classmate of Buster’s. Following Smith’s death, rumors circulated around the small town of Hampton, SC, that Stephen, who was openly gay, had been having an affair with Buster.

Other rumors had it that Buster and possibly his brother Paul were involved in Smith’s death. Investigators tried to track down these rumor to their source, but as so often happens in small towns, no one could, or would, say where the rumor began. At that time, the Murdaugh name was a respected and feared on in that area of South Carolina. Investigators now hope that people with knowledge about what happened to Stephen will be more willing to come forward.

Last week, Buster Murdaugh issued a statement attempting to distance himself from Smith’s death and dismissing any suggestion that he and Stephen had a sexual relationship. “These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false,” Buster said. “I unequivocally deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family”.

Smith to be exhumed

Stephen’s mother Sandy has long believed that Stephen died by foul play and that the Murdaughs were somehow part of it. What is certain is that members of the Murdaugh family inserted themselves into the investigation at the crime scene. In fact, the Murdaughs knew Smith was dead before Sandy did. 

In 2021, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced it was re-opening the investigation into Stephen’s death “based upon information gathered during the course of the double murder investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh”. SLED has not divulged what that information is or where it came from. Yesterday, SLED confirmed they were investigating Stephen’s death as a homicide but named no person of interest.

The recent spotlight on the Murdaugh clan helped Sandy raise $86,000 on a GoFundMe, far exceeding her goal of $40,000 to have Stephen exhumed for an independent autopsy. But SLED investigators said an exhumation wasn’t necessary for them to believe Stephen was murdered. Despite the initial ruling that Stephen’s death was an accident, State Troopers have long believed otherwise. In fact, SLED said that based on the initial reports, there was no reason to conclude it was a hit-and-run.

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Lebanon: Protestors attempt to storm government in Beirut

Since 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 95% of its value. People who once lived comfortably on an income equivalent to $1000 a month have seen their incomes dwindle to about $50 a month. In February, the inflation rate was at 189.67%. Banks have compounded the misery by severely limiting the amount of cash people can withdraw, despite court orders giving depositors access to their funds. 

Decades of misrule by a corrupt elite has sent Lebanon’s economy into a death spiral. The government in Beirut has reached out to the international community for help in stabilizing their economy. However, they’ve resisted the political and economic reforms demanded by potential lenders, including the IMF.

On Wednesday, a crowd of thousands of retired soldiers and enraged depositors laid siege to the Grand Serail, a 3-story Ottoman era building that serves as the government headquarters. For nearly two hours, protesters hurled stones and attempted to break through the security fence. Police fired tear gas into the crowd, causing some protesters to suffer breathing problems.

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In October 2022, a young Black man went missing after calling to telling his mother white men were chasing him in three trucks. When his body was later found, authorities said they didn’t suspect foul play. His family disagrees. What really happened in Taylorsville, MS?



Black man who said he was chased by whites later found decapitated; Sheriff says ‘no foul play’

Rasheem Carter, 25, a welder from Fayette in Jefferson County, MS, went missing on Oct. 2, 2022, near Taylorsville, MS, in Smith County, where he had undertaken contract work. Carter had previously texted his mother, Tiffany Carter, saying he’d had an altercation with someone at work. The text named a person and said “if anything happens… he’s responsible for it. … He got these guys wanting to kill me”.

On Oct. 1, Rasheem called his mother, telling her that a group of white men hurling racial slurs were chasing him in three trucks. Tiffany told her son to go to the police, believing they would protect him. But that was the last she heard from him.

Rasheem’s skull was found detached from his body. The dome of the skull was removed during autopsy. Photos were released by the family. 

When Rasheem’s remains were found on Nov. 2, dismembered and decapitated, in a wooded area near Taylorsville, Tiffany was in no doubt what happened to her son. But a day later, Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston posted on Facebook that there was “no reason to believe foul play was involved”.  

Rasheem’s remains were found scattered over two acres, and parts of him are still missing. The delay in finding his remains complicates the picture significantly, as there was evidence of animal predation. When a body lies undiscovered for months, animal activity can scatter remains over a wide area. 

An autopsy report by the Mississippi State Medical Examiner’s Office noted injuries. However the report states that the condition of the remains when they were recovered make it difficult to determine when and in what sequence those injuries occurred. For this reason, the examiner was unable to establish a cause and manner of death with any confidence. 

Ben Crump calls for federal investigation

What we have is a Mississippi lynching,” famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump told reporters on Tuesday. Crump, representing the Carter family, is calling for a federal probe into Rasheem’s death. During the press conference, Crump said, “This doesn’t seem like the act of just one individual. It kind of lines up with what Tiffany said. There was a lynch mob of three trucks chasing her son before he went missing.”

“One thing is for certain … This was not a natural killing. This was not a natural death,” Crump said. “This represents a young man who was killed”. Crump and the Carter family believe that the Sheriff’s conclusion that there was no foul play doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, given the other circumstances surrounding the case.

“This was a nefarious act. This was an evil act,” Crump said. “Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter, and we cannot let them get away with this.”

“Nothing to hide” says Sheriff

Carter was in Taylorsville for short-term contracting work. His mother Tiffany says Rasheem was saving money to reopen his seafood restaurant. The restaurant, named for Rasheem’s 7-year-old daughter Cali, had closed during the pandemic. But at the work site, Carter had a disagreement with at least one of his co-workers and fled.

Rasheem had twice visited the Taylorsville Police Department in the lead up to his disappearance. It was around that time Carter texted his mother indicating he was being targeted by at least one individual.

Despite this, Sheriff Houston initially stood by his department’s conclusion that there was no foul play. Earlier evidence “didn’t suggest anything,” he said. However, Houston has since backtracked following a backlash, saying foul play hadn’t been ruled out. “Nothing is being swept under the rug,” Houston said. “There’s nothing to hide.”

“Running for his life”

Carter’s family has also shared an image from a deer trail camera from the day Rasheem went missing. Carter’s mother says she believes her son was hiding from someone, and “running for his life”. Sheriff Houston said the department had reviewed trail camera footage and didn’t find evidence of anyone else in the area.

After months of refusing to share any details of his department’s investigation, either with the public or apparently with the family, Houston gave an interview to NBC. During the interview, he shared details of leads that had been followed and other information about the investigation.

Houston said the department had interviewed “everybody involved” with Carter’s last job. This includes four to five people Carter had mentioned to his mother. These individuals were “ruled out” as suspects in Carter’s death, Houston said, by phone records and GPS coordinates showing that they were at another job site nearly 100 miles away from Taylorsville when Carter was last seen alive.

“His whole demeanor had changed”

A trail camera captured an image of Rasheem on the afternoon of Oct. 2, 2022.

According to Houston, Carter’s colleagues and supervisor said in interviews that Carter “had not been himself” during the week before he went missing. “They said his whole demeanor had changed, they weren’t sure what was going on,” Houston said. “They just said he kept to himself more. He usually joked around, and in the last week or so they weren’t able to do that”.

Houston confirmed that Carter had “a couple of verbal altercations” with at least one co-worker. However, the Sheriff didn’t say what led to the altercation or whether the conflict might have prompted Carter’s change in behavior.

Having ruled out the prime suspects, Houston submitted search warrants to Google, starting in mid-November. Houston hoped this might reveal whether any devices pinged in the area where Carter’s remains were found around the time he went missing. “It’s a last-straw-type deal to determine if anyone else was with him or not,” he said. “It’s not uncommon to use this tool.” But the department has had to revise and resubmit this request several times, most recently last week.

The sheriff also said he would welcome the Justice Department’s involvement, saying he wants justice for Carter’s family “just as much as the family does.”

Carter’s family has dismissed any suggestion that Rasheem was under the influence of any substances at the time of his disappearance. Tiffany Carter also says her son had no history of mental illness that could account for the change in behavior. “I just know what my son told me,” Tiffany said. “I don’t believe anything [police] say. It’s lies after lies.”


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EPA orders Norfolk Southern to clean up their mess in OH, or pay EPA triple to do it.

Massive storms bring brutal cold, heavy snow to some states, record heat to others.

Mysterious metal sphere washes up on Japanese beach.


EPA orders Norfolk Southern to clean up their mess in OH, or pay EPA triple to do it

In remarks yesterday, Environmental Protection Agency head Michael Regan said the agency would compel the Norfolk Southern rail company to clean up its mess in East Palestine, OH, following the Feb. 3 trail derailment. Regan said that Norfolk Southern had to produce a plan for approval by the EPA and submit to agency monitoring to ensure each step was carried out correctly. If Norfolk Southern fails at any point to meet EPA standards, the EPA will take over and send Norfolk Southern the bill, Regan said. Reimbursing the EPA for the clean-up would cost Norfolk Southern three times as much.

Regan’s announcement came after residents and local officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania raised concerns that Norfolk Southern wasn’t doing enough to clean up the site. For example, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw had failed to address the problem of cleaning up contaminated soil underneath the tracks. DeWine said the company needed to take up the tracks, remove the soil, and replace the tracks. On Feb. 8, just five days after the disaster, the company resumed running freight over those tracks. This is potentially stirring up more contaminated dust into the air.

Penn. Gov. issues criminal referral over disaster.

The East Palestine disaster took place just a few hundred yards from the Pennsylvania border. Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro has been blunt in his condemnation of Norfolk Southern, saying the company’s “corporate greed, incompetence and lack of care for our residents is absolutely unacceptable to me”. Gov. Shapiro has issued a criminal referral to his state attorney general’s office to examine whether there was any criminal violation by Norfolk Southern related to the disaster.

In an NPR interview, Gov. Shapiro said, “what I’ve experienced with [Norfolk Southern] since the derailment is just a level of arrogance and incompetence that has contributed to this disaster that people in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania are now dealing with”.

In the hours following the derailment, Shapiro says Norfolk Southern refused to work with “unified command,” a joint disaster-response task force with Ohio and Pennsylvania response teams. He also says Norfolk-Southern presented “conflicting” modeling data and refused to present alternatives to the controlled burn strategy, which many say has exacerbated the environmental impact. 

Shapiro has said that Norfolk Southern’s response prioritized getting their trains moving again at the expense of safety and environmental impact mitigation


Massive storms bring brutal cold and snow to some states, record heat to others

States from coast to coast are in for bitter cold and heavy snow for the next several days. Even in places that are used to snow like Minnesota, officials are warning residents to stay put as much as possible. According to FlightAware there have already been over 1500 flight cancelations today due to the severe weather.

Memories of the dozens dead in historic blizzards in Buffalo, NY, and elsewhere in the Northeast are still fresh in everyone’s minds. Many fear that similar disasters could play out all over the country in the coming days. Residents in most areas have stocked up on supplies to hunker down in the event they lose power. Some communities in California have already lost power.

Meanwhile, in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, states are experiencing record winter temperatures, 40 degrees above normal in come places.

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Mysterious metal sphere washes up on Japanese beach

The 5 ft. diameter metal sphere on a Japanese beach, now apparently cordoned off.

Locals discovered an iron ball about 5 feet in diameter on a beach in Hamamatsu City, Japan, this week. The ball is hollow and sand-colored. When its discovery reached the ears of officials, they scrambled the bomb squad to examine it. Apparently the sphere isn’t a bomb, but no one is quite sure what it is or where it came from.

There’s some disagreement about when it appeared on the beach. A local man who routinely runs on the beach said he was surprised at all the hubbub around the ball one morning as he believes it had been there for a month. “I tried to push it, but it wouldn’t budge,” the man said. 

Some believe it to be a type of buoy, while others have jokingly dubbed it “Godzilla egg”. Officials are regarding it more as a curiosity than a threat.

However, Japan has been on heightened alert about unknown objects in their seaways and airspace in recent years. In the last few months, there have been two missile tests from North Korea that flew over the island. This is in addition to growing concern about Chinese spy balloons, which have been spotted over Japan since 2019.

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The popular Murder Mystery Dinners are returning to the Magnolia Civic Center in June.

Civic center manager Emily Draffen said the next mystery will be titled Triumphs, Trophies and Tragedies. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the Magnolia Room.

The cost per ticket is $30. Included are hors d’oeuvres, a multi-course meal and evening of entertainment.

An event is acted out as guests eat with the plot progressing between and perhaps during courses.

Once the crime has been committed, tables engage in friendly competition to identify the perpetrator and deduce the manner and motive.

Here is a more detailed description of the show:

“Every year, actors and actresses, directors, producers, scriptwriters, stunt persons and numerous film technicians eagerly and hopefully await their Drama, Arts, Film, and Television Academy (DAFTA) nominations and subsequent invitation to the DAFTA Awards Festival. This year has been no exception. At long last, the master of ceremonies takes to the stage. First up are the nominations for Best Actress. However, before the show truly gets on the road, disaster strikes! Award nominee Iona Fortune is discovered dead! The only question is this: which one of tonight’s guests actually committed the crime?”

For more information, call the box office at (662) 539-3909. Note that the Murder Mystery Dinners often sell out early.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/739666793377477/Murder