Murdaugh Murders: What happened to Gloria Satterfield, the family maid?
Netflix's latest documentary, Murdaugh Murders, looks at the death of Gloria Satterfield – but what happened to the Murdaugh family housekeeper?
Storming Netflix's Top 10 chart at the moment is its latest true crime offering Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal – a three-part documentary looking at the complex history of and multiple tragedies related to a prominent family in South Carolina.
The series explores how the 2019 death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed when a boat allegedly driven by a drunk Paul Murdaugh crashed on the way back from a party, led to the Murdaugh family's eventual downfall, with both Paul and his mother Maggie being tragically shot to death in 2021 before his father Alex Murdaugh was charged with the killings.
Family patriarch Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial has taken place over the last six weeks and yesterday (Thursday 2nd March), the jury entered a verdict on whether he was responsible for the deaths of his wife and son.
As well as the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, the documentary also looks at the mysterious death of their housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who reportedly tripped and fell on the Murdaugh estate and later died in hospital. But what happened to Satterfield and why was Alex Murdaugh accused of embezzling money from her family's settlement?
Here's everything you need to know about Gloria Satterfield, as well as the verdict in Alex Murdaugh's recent trial.
Who was Gloria Satterfield?
Gloria Satterfield was a housekeeper who worked for the Murdaugh family for many years.
Born in 1961, Satterfield was the mother of two sons and lived in South Carolina up until her death in February 2018.
She was particularly close to Paul Murdaugh, the son of Alex and Maggie Murdaugh, with his former girlfriend Morgan Doughty telling Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal that she was "Paul's second mum".
"For Paul, the love and acceptance came from Miss Gloria," she told the documentary. "[Gloria] worked for [Paul's grandfather] Randolph... for years and that's why Alex and Maggie had her start working for them. She basically raised Paul. She was with him from the time that he was two."
Satterfield died at the age of 57 after reportedly tripping over the Murdaugh family's dogs and falling down the front steps of their house. She passed away on 26th February 2018.
What happened to Gloria Satterfield?
On 2nd February 2018, Gloria Satterfield reportedly fell down the steps of the Murdaugh house residence after tripping over the family dogs.
According to a court document shown in the Netflix documentary, Satterfield was admitted to hospital for treatment of "multiple rib fractures, a pulmonary contusion, and a subdural hematoma". She contracted pneumonia and suffered a heart attack in hospital, leaving her in a coma. She died on 26th February at the age of 57.
More like this
The documents also claim that Satterfield told medical staff whilst semi-conscious that she didn't know why or how she fell, while in the documentary, Alex Murdaugh is heard saying that he spoke to Satterfield before she was taken away in an ambulance and that "she indicated that the dogs had caused her to fall".
According to Greenville News, after Satterfield's death, Alex Murdaugh allegedly arranged for her sons to sue him in order to collect money from his insurance company, brokering a $4.3 million (£3.6m) settlement – however, Satterfield's sons reportedly never received the money.
Testifying during Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial in early February 2023, Satterfield's son Tony said that after his mother's death, Murdaugh told him and his brother: "Let me go out to my insurance company to get the medical bills for your mum paid."
In September 2021, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced that it was opening a criminal investigation into Satterfield's death and later that month, Satterfield's children filed a motion for Alex Murdaugh's arrest and detention over the allegedly embezzled settlement (via CNN).
In October 2021, Murdaugh was arrested on insurance fraud charges in relation to Gloria Satterfield's settlement, and the attorney for the Satterfield estate announced that they'd never received a settlement.
Meanwhile, in June 2022, South Carolina law enforcement officials were given permission from the Satterfield family to exhume their mother's remains after her death was "not reported to the coroner at the time, nor was an autopsy performed".
A ruling of a natural death was written on her death certificate "which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident", the coroner added.
Did Alex Murdaugh kill his wife and son?
After contemplating for almost three hours, the jury in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh found the 54-year-old guilty of murdering his wife Margaret and son Paul.
Alex was also found guilty of two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the killings of his wife and son on 7th June 2021.
Judge Clifton Newman set sentencing for Friday (March 3rd) at 9:30am (EST) in South Carolina’s Colleton County. Prosecutors have stated that they will seek life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murders, foregoing the death penalty.
Alex’s only remaining son, Buster Murdaugh, could be seen crying as the verdict was read, during which Alex appeared to mouth the words “I love you” before being handcuffed.
The verdict came after a six-week trial which looked into the brutal crime, phone forensics, and Alex’s alleged extensive financial misconduct.
“Justice was done today,” lead prosecutor Creighton Waters said yesterday (Thursday 2nd March). “It doesn’t matter who your family is. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or people think you have. It doesn’t matter… how prominent you are. If you do wrong, if you break the law, if you murder, then justice will be done in South Carolina.”
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal is available to stream on Netflix. Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.
Try Radio Times magazine today and get 12 issues for only £1 with delivery to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.