In February 2019, a terrifying boat crash in a creek near Parris Island, South Carolina, changed the lives of six friends forever. After all, it ended with Mallory Beach’s death and Paul Murdaugh being charged with boating under the influence after it came out he was in charge of the wheel. NBC News’ ‘Dateline: Dark Waters’ as well as Netflix’s ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ focuses on this accident’s aftermath and how everyone dealt with it. Connor Cook, one of the six on the boat that night, became essential to the investigation. So, let’s find out more about him then, shall we?
Who is Connor Cook?
On February 23, 2019, six friends decided to go to a house party on Paukie Island, South Carolina, in Paul Murdaugh’s boat. They were Connor Cook and his girlfriend, Miley Altman, Anthony Cook and his girlfriend, Mallory Beach, and Paul, along with his girlfriend, Morgan Doughty. Paul was the youngest of the Murdaugh family, which held tremendous influence in the Lowcountry area in South Carolina. His father, Richard Alexander Murdaugh, was a lawyer, just like the Murdaughs before him. And since Paul was underage, he used the ID of his older brother, Buster, to buy alcohol at a convenience store beforehand.
The six of them stayed at the Oyster Roast house party until around midnight. Then, Paul and Connor decided they wanted to visit a bar in Beaufort. The group arrived around 12:45 am on February 24, 2019, with the duo going to the bar, whereas the others remained at the dock. While Connor used a fake ID, Paul used his brother’s. Sometime after 1 am, they returned and all of them got onto the boat again. However, it crashed at roughly 2:20 am, with Paul, Anthony, and Mallory being thrown into the water. The two boys resurfaced but Mallory did not, driving Connor to dial 911.
At the time, Connor was actually 19 years old, and the accident resulted in a cut to his face and fractures to his jaw; the scars of which he still bears. The authorities did arrive relatively quickly, yet they couldn’t immediately find Mallory, sparking an extensive search. But alas, her remains were located nearly 8 days later. It’s also imperative to note that while the others were rushed to the hospital, Anthony stayed back at the scene. So, in different statements, most of them maintained that Paul drove the boat and was intoxicated. Although, only Connor was asked for a sobriety test.
A big reason behind the same was that Paul had already stated that it was Connor behind the wheel of the boat, not him. Yet, Anthony asserted Paul had refused to let anyone else drive and was adamant about being in control of the vessel. Though, Connor initially did tell officials he didn’t remember who was driving. Part of his statement read, “I remember seeing the bridge, and that’s about it.” Paul was eventually charged with three counts of boating under the influence, but in a twisted turn of tragic events, he and his mother were shot to death on their property in June 2021.
However, as indicated above, Connor has stated that in the initial months following the murder, the Murdaugh family and law enforcement tried to place the blame on him. In a deposition, Connor claimed that Paul’s father had come up to him in the hospital but not to ask if he was okay, adding, “I was told for one by Alex Murdaugh that I didn’t need to tell anyone who was driving.” Furthermore, he said Alex told him “everything was going to be all right. I just needed to keep my mouth shut and tell them I didn’t know who was driving and that he’s got me.”
Connor also made it known that he was scared of the Murdaugh family because of the rumors he’d heard. One was of them allegedly pushing their housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, down a flight of stairs in February 2018. As for the other one, Connor appeared to allude to the death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith. In this case, the authorities received tips about Buster being in a secret relationship with the teenager, leading them to reopen the case.
Where is Connor Cook Today?
In September 2021, Connor filed a lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh, his son, Buster, the convenience store that sold the alcohol to Paul, and the clerk that sold the liquor. A reported rightful suit because he has always maintained that he only steered the boat when it was either in neutral or out of control while Paul left it unattended to argue with his girlfriend. Coming to his current standing, from what we can tell, Connor has kept a very low profile ever since the incident occurred. He still seemingly resides in South Carolina, where he’s not only close to his family but has also maintained his relationship with Miley. Apart from that, it looks like he often enjoys hunting and is gradually building a stable life for himself, hoping to move on from the past.
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