Father and Daughter Freeze to Death Following Vehicle Crash

A tragic incident unfolded in South Carolina when a father and his young daughter succumbed to hypothermia after their vehicle crashed while en route to visit the man’s mother. Jason Murph, 42, and his 6-year-old daughter, Michelle, were discovered deceased approximately 50 yards from their burnt-out pickup truck in a field on December 18.

The autopsy results of the victims were not definitive, but the Calhoun County coroner concluded that hypothermia was the cause of death, given the prevailing weather conditions. The coroner, Donnie Porth, explained that although the temperature was not below freezing, the wind and rain made conditions extremely cold. This likely prompted the father and daughter to seek help and shelter urgently.

There were no suspicious injuries on the bodies of the father and daughter, and no foul play is suspected in their deaths. The pair had embarked on a journey from Blythewood to visit Murph’s mother in Orangeburg, a distance of 60 miles. However, they never arrived at their destination and were reported missing on December 16.

According to an incident report, Murph’s estranged wife informed the Richland County Sheriff’s Department that Murph had called her around 8 PM on the night of their disappearance. He told her that he and their daughter had been involved in a crash after their vehicle slid off the road. He also mentioned that he was unsure of their location. The wife reported hearing their daughter yelling in the background before the call ended abruptly.

Attempts by the wife to reach Murph again were unsuccessful. She also sent him a text message urging him to call 911, but received no response. Surveillance footage from an Exxon gas station captured Murph’s silver Toyota Tundra pickup truck just over an hour before his final call to his estranged wife.

The county coroner speculated that Murph’s truck had become stuck in the mud, and his attempts to free it sparked a grass fire due to tire friction. Murph and his daughter reportedly exited their burning vehicle to extinguish the flames and then attempted to reach the interstate on foot for help. However, they found themselves trapped in the mud near a creek.

Porth shared his theory with News19, stating, “I feel like they were walking together, and unfortunately, he being heavier than she is, he sank into the mud, and the more you struggle, the deeper you go.”