Before dating apps and sliding into DMs was popular, there was “waving” on Facebook. Mandy had been featured as a top bachelorette in a charity spread for a local Hilton Head magazine and received some attention from random guys, but then there was David, who “waved” at her.

When she clicked on his profile she noticed they had a few mutual friends, so she “waved” back. A few days later, David was picking Mandy up for their first date in in flashy car and the rest is history.

David Moses

Everything about who David was — considerate, respectful, curious, and kind — stood in stark contrast to the men she’d dated before. He cared about Mandy as a person and about her work at the Packet, which was something she couldn’t say about Nick, the man she dated before David.

After her and Nick’s particularly painful breakup, Mandy began seeing a therapist who helped her realize that she hadn’t completely rid herself of all the unhealthy relationships in her life: the Island Packet had to go too.

Mandy and Liz’s coverage of the boat crash brought record page views to the Packet, but their editor, Brian, didn’t acknowledge their work. He gave her instructions but chastised her for following them. He was critical and moody. While he once validated her work, he began to undermine and chastise her. Brian and life at the Packet was eerily similar to an abusive boyfriend, and something had to change.

See Mandy’s first article with her own byline in the Island Packet:

Thanks to a former editor at The Island Packet and now public information officer, Jeff Kid, Mandy and Liz received a rather cryptic letter from Duffie Stone’s office just one day after the boat crash. This letter was to South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson, requesting the investigation be reassigned to another office in the state because two victims were related to persons employed by his office.

Chapter 4 concluded with a text from Sandy Smith, that Mandy had been waiting for…

Mandy was confident that she had the passion and skills to help Sandy get justice for Stephen’s death. It wasn’t long before they formed a strong friendship. Grab a drink, press play and join us for the first time Sandy joined Mandy for Happy Hour!

Behind the Book with Carolyn Murnick

So much was happening in Mandy’s life outside of her Murdaugh investigation, and we wanted the reader to understand the bigger picture, both because we thought it was relatable for women, and because it added depth to the important work Mandy did and continues to do. While stories about bad exes, bad bosses, and breakthroughs on the therapist’s couch might not make sense in a typical journalist’s narrative, for this book, we both felt strongly that these types of stories were clearly on theme. Mandy wanted to show readers exactly what it looked like to be a young female reporter in your twenties, and that meant sometimes outside of work you were dealing with hangovers and bad boyfriends and struggling to set boundaries with toxic people. I loved Mandy’s willingness to share in this chapter, as I knew so many women would be able to see themselves in her story. We also worked from a timeline of Mandy’s Packet reporting, so nearly every story she published during the time (or facts from it) had to be referred to so the reader could continue to put all the pieces together. 

Carolyn Murnick

Stay tuned for videos, documents and more content related to Chapter 4!

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