Mother of Stephen Smith speaks at second annual Victims Matter Rally

Sandy Smith and journalist Mandy Matney discuss the fight for justice in the 2015 homicide of 19-year-old Stephen Smith.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 9:35 AM EDT|Updated: May. 9, 2023 at 10:44 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Sandy Smith, the mother of 19-year-old Stephen Smith whose homicide remains unsolved, joined other families at the Victims Matter Rally on the steps of the State House on Tuesday morning.

Families affected by crime came together with elected officials, members of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network, and the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault for the second year of the rally.

Smith has been fighting for answers in her son’s death since his body was found on Sandy Run Road in Hampton County in 2015. His death was initially investigated as a traffic collision but this year the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division officially ruled it a homicide.

“For eight years we have been fighting for Stephen to get the answers in his case,” Smith said. “I don’t know how to fix the problem that led to my son’s murder being mishandled from the beginning, but I do know that I’m thankful to have so many wonderful people helping me to get justice for Stephen.”

She described her son as kind and bright. She said he was buried in his medical scrubs because he wanted to become a doctor and help others before his life was taken.

Journalist Mandy Matney joined her in speaking about how they believe the justice system in South Carolina has failed Stephen Smith.

“I was appalled at how public agencies were failing Sandy, failing Stephen and failing South Carolina,” Matney said. “I’ve learned about so many other families who were also failed by public systems that are supposed to protect them, or at the very least provide equal footing.”

The goal of the Victims Matter Rally is to push for lawmakers to prioritize how cases are handled by the criminal justice system and focus on a more a victim-centered approach.