As Anthony Cook and his friends prepared to leave a party one fateful evening in 2019, he noticed the boat driver, Paul Murdaugh, was extremely drunk. Cook considered taking an Uber with his girlfriend, Mallory Beach, but he decided against leaving his friends. 

Minutes into the turbulent boat ride, Paul crashed the vessel into a bridge, launching Paul, Anthony, and Mallory into the water. Paul and Anthony surfaced; Mallory was found dead a week later, having drowned after suffering blunt-force trauma. 

Anthony narrated that harrowing story in Netflix’s Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, released weeks before Alex’s Murdaugh was found guilty of killing his son, Paul, and his wife, Maggie.

Anthony Cook works as an electrical lineman and struggles with PTSD-like symptoms

Anthony Cook has kept a low profile as the centuries-old Murdaugh dynasty collapses. He reportedly works as an electrical lineman in Southern USA. 

Anthony struggles with PTSD-like symptoms stemming from Mallory Beach’s death. Mallory and Anthony hadn’t dated for long before her death, but they’d known each other for years. 

As shown in the Netflix documentary, Anthony was desperate to find Mallory: he tore into Paul for smiling and ignoring the gravity of the incident; he risked his life to find her, swimming against the tide while calling out her name; he remained at the accident scene while the others went to the hospital to get checked out. 

“He didn’t wanna leave; he wanted to be right there,” Beverly, Anthony’s mother, said in the documentary. “Every day, Anthony would go out to the water. I heard him tell one of his friends, “I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but if she came walking outta this water right now, I’d marry her today.’”

After the discovery of Mallory’s body, Anthony wrote on Facebook that he would forever regret leaving the water without Mallory. Per The Daily Mail, he wrote:

“I have to live the rest of my life with the memory of getting thrown into the freezing pitch black water with the love of my life in my arms. I had to swim to shore without her to save my own life and live in regret of that forever.”

For a while, Anthony tried to party the pain away. He quickly realized that excessive partying would do more harm than good, so he quit and adopted healthier ways of dealing with grief.

Reports state that Anthony still struggles with PTSD-like symptoms. 

Anthony filed a lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh and the store that sold alcohol to Paul Murdaugh

Anthony sued Alex Murdaugh for entrusting Paul with the boat ‘under circumstances that he knew or should have known were unsafe and improper’. He claims Alex knew about Paul’s ‘proclivity for underage drinking, [and] reckless and dangerous boating habits’. 

He adds that Alex condoned Paul’s use of his older brother’s license to purchase alcohol. Anthony alleges that Paul’s use of his brother’s ID and his mother’s credit card should have alerted the store attendant to the illegal purchase of alcohol. 

Anthony claims the store neglected its duty of care due to an emphasis on profits and quick sales. The complaint reads:

“This emphasis on the speed of the sales transaction with Parker’s many convenience stores minimizes or eliminates the opportunity for proper examination of a customer’s eligibility to purchase alcohol, thereby placing the public at a large risk of harm.”

“Improper alcohol sales and turning a blind eye toward the dangers associated with underage consumption of alcoholic beverages are societal problems that cause many unnecessary injuries and deaths every year in the United States.”

Paul was awaiting trial for felony boating under the influence when he was murdered in June 2021.