Maggie Murdaugh Saw a Divorce Lawyer 6 Weeks Before She and Her Son Were Murdered: Source 

Authorities continue to investigate the mysterious June 7 shooting deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh

Six weeks before Maggie Murdaugh and her son, Paul, were murdered on the grounds of their family's 1,770-acre hunting lodge, Maggie met with a divorce attorney in Charleston, S.C., a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells PEOPLE.

According to the source, Maggie drove one hour from the family's home into Charleston in late April to meet with a lawyer to explore her options about ending her marriage to Alex Murdaugh.

What happened during that exploratory consultation is not known — but the source tells PEOPLE that Maggie, 52, had just begun to look into the family finances to determine the state of their marital assets.

For more on the Murdaugh family murder investigation and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"She didn't pay close attention to the family money or where it came from," the source tells PEOPLE in its latest issue, on stands this week. "But now she was starting to look into it."

Murdaugh family cover

Alex's coworkers noticed a cooling in the couple's relationship, and tell PEOPLE that Maggie no longer came by the office to have lunch with her husband, as she had done in the past.

murdaugh family
Alex and Maggie Murdaugh.

For exclusive interviews and details on the Murdaugh Family Mystery, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

It's unclear whether the possible divorce had anything to do with Maggie's death. She and her younger son, Paul, were fatally shot outside the family home on June 7. Alex returned to the family property shortly after 10 p.m. and called 911 to report discovering the bodies.

Authorities have also not identified a motive or a suspect in the killings of Maggie and Paul. No suspects have been arrested, and authorities are giving scant information about the killings — except to say that Maggie and Paul were shot with two different firearms.

murdaugh family
The Murdaugh Family.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

The deaths of the mother and son shined a spotlight on a string of mysterious deaths surrounding the family.

Paul had been indicted in a 2019 boat crash that killed one of his passengers, Mallory Beach. Investigators concluded that the teens were "grossly intoxicated." He pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of boating under the influence and was awaiting trial at the time of his death.

Paul and Maggie's death also led the state's top law enforcement agency to open an investigation into the 2015 death of teenager Stephen Smith, who was found dead in the middle of a rural road in Hampton County in 2015, three miles from where his car had run out of gas.

On September 4 — just three months after Paul and Maggie were found dead — Alex was shot in the head in rural Hampton County, South Carolina. He received only superficial injuries -- and police later said he had orchestrated the shooting in an attempt to collect a $10 million life insurance policy for his surviving son, Buster. Alex's own lawyers corroborated the allegation.

Shortly after the shooting, he issued a statement saying that he would resign from his family's law firm and enter substance abuse treatment.

RELATED VIDEO: Alex Murdaugh Shooting Was Allegedly Botched 'Assisted Suicide' So Son Could Get $10M in Life Insurance

"The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life," he said in the statement. "I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret. I'm resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders."

Authorities are now investigating allegations that he misappropriated millions of dollars of his law firm's money -- and they have also opened an inquest into the mysterious "slip and fall" death of the family housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.

Alex has been charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report. He remains out on bond and has not entered a plea in the case. His attorneys have not returned PEOPLE's calls for comment.

Related Articles