The Death Of Alex Murdaugh's Housekeeper And The Lies He Told

At 9:24 a.m. on February 2, 2018, Maggie Murdaugh called 911. "My housekeeper has fallen and her head is bleeding," she told the emergency dispatcher (via WJCL). "I cannot get her up." Gloria Satterfield lay bleeding from a head wound at the Murdaugh mansion on a sprawling estate named Moselle in Colleton County, South Carolina. In the following minutes, Maggie and then her husband, Alex Murdaugh — who also spoke to the dispatcher — became testy about all the questions they were asked.

Satterfield, a 57-year-old woman who had worked for the high-powered lawyer and his family for more than 20 years, died from her injuries 24 days later. Alex alleged Satterfield had tripped over one of the family's dogs, fell backward, and smashed her head on the front stairs. But that was apparently a lie. Just one of the many spun by Alex, who is currently serving a life sentence for murdering his wife and 22-year-old son, Paul, in June 2021.

Murdaugh comes clean?

In federal court documents filed on May 1, 2013, Alex Murdaugh admitted he'd made up the story to guarantee an insurance payout in the case. "No dogs were involved in the fall of Gloria Satterfield on February 2, 2018," the documents state, per The Independent. "After Ms. Satterfield's death, Defendant invented Ms. Satterfield's purported statement that dogs caused her fall to force his insurers to make a settlement payment, and he stated that she was not on the property to perform work." The filings are part of an insurance fraud suit brought by Nautilus, the company that paid out $4 million on the claim. The money, meant for Satterfield's adult children, allegedly went into the pocket of Murdaugh and others involved in the scheme.

This is just one of the more than 100 financial crimes the ex-lawyer and convicted killer is facing. Police and prosecutors said it was the forthcoming revelations about his financial crimes that led to Murdaugh killing his wife and son on June 7, 2021, in order to buy time and sympathy for himself. Instead, it all came crashing in and threw open the doors to reveal years of shady dealings and suspicious deaths connected to the Murdaughs.

Satterfield's cause of death is still a mystery

What the court filings don't reveal is what actually happened to Gloria Satterfield that morning. The coroner never performed an autopsy. In September 2021, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division opened an investigation into Satterfield's death and the next June sought permission from Satterfield's family to exhume her body. Eric Bland, an attorney for the heirs, said at the time (via WJCL): "We do not know when it is being planned or if it has been scheduled. We are supposed to be part of the process."

In March 2023, one of Satterfield's sons, Tony, appeared on NewsNation and told Chris Cuomo that he wanted the body exhumed "to see if there's any foul play." As of May 2023, that still had not taken place.

The Satterfield family was awarded $7.5 million

Gloria Satterfield's sons won $7.5 million in compensation from the money stolen in relation to their mother's death, per New York Post. After her death, Alex Murdaugh took the lead on ensuring that the sons received money via a wrongful death lawsuit but did not follow through. According to NBC News, an order from September 2021 suggested Gloria's two adult sons should have received $2.7 million from the suit. As of May 2023, Murdaugh is currently charged with stealing $4 million from the family, The Independent reports.

Eric Bland said of Murdaugh's alleged actions: "In my 33 years of being a lawyer, I've never seen a larger breach of trust, a more concerted effort by lawyers and individuals involved to enrich one person — a powerful person — at an expense of needy clients who are owed fiduciary duties."

For his part, Murdaugh says the Satterfields received more than $7.5 million from the wrongful death. According to the New York Post, Murdaugh's court filings state that Nautilus should be going after the Satterfield family as well since, if the insurer "never should have made any payment to the Satterfield estate and only attempted to do so because it was the victim of fraud, then the parties in possession of a recovery of the money allegedly stolen from Nautilus are necessary parties to an action." Bland stated on Twitter that the money his clients received didn't come from Nautilus. He also discounted Alex Murdaugh's new story about how Gloria died. "Are you going to believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a convicted double murderer, fraudster and liar?" Bland told the Daily Mail.