Community Mourns Following Release of Mallory Beach Autopsy Results
The small community of Beaufort, South Carolina has been in mourning since the release of the Mallory Beach autopsy results. Mallory Beach, a 19-year-old from Hampton County, was killed in a boating accident on February 24th, 2019. On that day, she and several friends had been out on a boat when it crashed into the bridge over Archers Creek. The accident claimed Mallory’s life and left her family and friends devastated.
The release of the autopsy results has added to the grief and heartache felt by the community. The autopsy showed that Mallory died of blunt force trauma with drowning as a contributing factor. It also revealed that her blood alcohol level was .19 at the time of her death, more than twice the legal limit for driving a vehicle in South Carolina.
The news has been especially difficult for Mallory’s parents, Renee and Jim Beach. They released a statement following the autopsy report’s release which read in part, “The loss of our beautiful daughter has left a void that cannot be filled. We miss her every day and the release of these painful details only adds to our anguish. Our family has suffered an indescribable loss, but we will continue to advocate for justice for all those involved in this tragedy and for stronger boating safety laws so that no other family has to experience the heartbreak we have.”
The family’s call for justice stems from the fact that the boater responsible for Mallory’s death has not been charged. The boat was being operated by Paul Murdaugh, the grandson of a prominent South Carolina attorney. Murdaugh and several of his friends were on the boat with Mallory at the time of the accident.
The investigation into the incident has been ongoing, and there has been speculation that the young men on the boat may have been drinking. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources investigated the crash and forwarded their findings to the local solicitor’s office, which has yet to make a decision on whether or not to press charges.
The delay in charging the boater responsible for the accident has frustrated the community, who feel that justice is not being served. In response, Mallory’s parents have become vocal advocates for stronger boating safety laws. They have spoken publicly about their daughter’s death and have met with lawmakers to discuss potential changes to the law.
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. In March of 2020, the South Carolina Senate passed “Mallory’s Law,” which requires boaters to submit to a breathalyzer test if there is an accident involving death or serious injury. The law is intended to prevent drunk boating incidents and to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to hold those responsible accountable.
The passing of Mallory’s Law has been a small comfort to those who loved Mallory, but it does not change the fact that she is gone. The community continues to mourn her loss and to await a decision from the solicitor’s office with regards to charges against Paul Murdaugh.
The tragedy has also raised awareness about the dangers of drinking and boating. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, being involved in 19% of all deaths on the water. The dangers of boating under the influence are not widely understood, and the accident that claimed Mallory’s life has shone a light on the need for education and awareness about the issue.
In the wake of Mallory’s death, her family has established the Mallory Hope Fund in her memory. The fund provides scholarships to students at her high school and supports organizations that promote boating safety. Through the fund and their advocacy, Mallory’s parents are continuing their daughter’s legacy and ensuring that her death was not in vain.
The community of Beaufort, South Carolina has been forever changed by the tragedy that claimed Mallory Beach’s life. Her death has left a void that cannot be filled and has highlighted the need for stronger boating safety laws and awareness about the dangers of drinking and boating. As the community continues to mourn, they also work towards a better future where no other family has to experience the heartbreak that the Beach family endures.