3 charged with murder of Ashley Murdaugh, missing Colleton County mother found dead

Ashley Murdaugh (Provided, Colleton County Sheriff's Office).jpg
Ashley Murdaugh. (Colleton County Sheriff's Office)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Colleton County authorities say they've arrested four people in connection to the death of Ashley Murdaugh, charging three with first-degree murder.

Murdaugh, 30, a mother of three reported missing Aug. 4, was found dead Aug. 21, buried in a grave in a wooded area off Cumberland Street in Walterboro.

The Colleton County Sheriff's Office said in a Wednesday press conference it had charged Martina Wolf, Cynthia Caron and Alfred Taylor Jr. with Murdaugh's murder.

A fourth person, John Dunigan, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder in the case.

Deputies say they expect to arrest at least four more people on charges related to Murdaugh's death, and also to charge Wolf, Caron, Taylor and Dunigan with additional crimes.

UPDATE: Two additional suspects have been charged with accessory after the fact of murder.

Detective Jason Chapman with the Colleton County Sheriff's Office says investigators believe Murdaugh was killed sometime in the early morning hours of Aug. 5.

The cause of Murdaugh's death has not been determined, pending an autopsy, Chapman said.

Evidence gathered during the investigation suggested Murdaugh had been temporarily staying with Caron and Wolf at their home on Cumberland Street in Walterboro, Chapman says.

Taylor, who was reportedly Wolf's boyfriend, was not supposed to be at the home because of DSS restrictions, but evidence shows he was there the night of Murdaugh's death, Chapman said.

Investigators were flooded with tips regarding the case, including some they believe were meant to intentionally mislead them, Chapman said.

Eventually, deputies say they got a witness to come forward with credible information, leading to the arrests of Caron, Wolf, Taylor and Dunigan.

Murdaugh was later found buried about 250 feet from the Cumberland Street home she'd been in the night of her disappearance, in a wooded area.

Deputies were able to locate the body thanks to the help of a cadaver dog, according to Chapman.

Further details about the case are being withheld at this time to protect the integrity of the investigation, as additional arrests are likely, Chapman says.