It’s been over decade since Barbara Hamburg was murdered near her home in an upscale neighborhood of Madison, Connecticut, leaving her two children behind.
While Hamburg's vicious 2010 bludgeoning murder remains unsolved, her son Madison has dedicated the last eight years of his life trying to determine what happened to her. His research has culminated in the new four-part HBO docuseries called “Murder on Middle Beach.”
The docuseries shows Madison’s “complicated journey to solve an unspeakable crime and absolve the people he loves while seeking out answers within his own fractured family and community,” according to HBO.
Part of what has fractured his family is the fact that his father, Jeffrey Hamburg, has been the main person of interest in his mother’s killing. Jeffrey was the multi-millionaire CEO of Southern Electric International when he swept Barbara off her feet.
Jill Platt, Barbara's aunt, told Madison that "he [Jeffrey] was one of the most charismatic, funny, intelligent people and to your mother, he was the knight in shining armor. [...] I think your mom thought and believed in her heart of hearts that she married the man of her dreams."
However, the dream quickly soured after Jeffrey got fired from his prestigious position for alleged unethical activity. His former company accused him of making an illegal deal out of the country, and he, in turn, took them to court and successfully sued them for defamation, according to the docuseries. Platt told Madison that, despite winning millions in the lawsuit, the ordeal affected Jeffrey negatively and he always felt the need to prove himself from that moment forward. Relatives of Barbara also claimed Jeffrey began traveling and leaving Barbara alone to raise the kids. In turn, she felt deserted and filed for divorce.
Jeffrey and Barbara split in 2002, but it wasn't amicable. Platt claimed Jeffrey was angry and defiant over the divorce and bucked against supporting Barbara financially. While Madison maintains that he's never seen his dad be violent, he characterized him as controlling, manipulative and selfish.
Richard Callahan, Barbara's attorney, said in the docuseries that Jeffrey had claimed he was broke for years while also living a lavish lifestyle. In the months leading up to his ex-wife’s death, he had been complaining that he couldn't afford alimony and child support, Fox 61 in Hartford reports.
On March 3, 2010, the former couple was scheduled to appear in court together. Jeffrey allegedly owed $153,000 to Barbara and $324,000 to his kids at that point. Callahan claimed that Barbara was ready to have him thrown in jail.
“Your father had been ordered and had promised to make certain payments," Callahan told Madison. "Either your dad showed up with the money or I'd be asking the court to find him in contempt of the court’s orders and incarcerate him until he paid.”
But Barbara never showed up for that court date. Her body was discovered that day wrapped in pillows outside her home on Middle Beach Road by her sister and daughter, according to Fox 61. She had been killed in broad daylight.
Early on in the homicide investigation, Jeffrey was sought for questioning by police. His lawyer acknowledged he was a "person of interest" in the case, according to a 2012 New Haven Register report. The outlet also reported that he supplied the police with a DNA sample.
In a conversation Madison had with police, which he secretly recorded without their consent and included in the documentary, investigators revealed that they allegedly found DNA under Barbara's fingernails that was of "male Hamburg lineage."
"We can't eliminate your father," they told Madison.
The police added that they could, in theory, eliminate Jeffrey as a person of interest if he agreed to talk to them about his whereabouts that day. But Jeffrey hadn't been cooperative on that front, they said.
Jeffrey wasn't cooperative with his son's documentary either.
In numerous conversations Madison had with his dad, which he also secretly recorded, Jeffrey avoided the topic of Barbara and said his lawyer had prohibited him from speaking about her for the documentary. He constantly told his son he didn't want to speak about Barbara or her murder.
"I know you want answers and I know you want to know about your mom and her life and all that stuff but [...] maybe years ahead we can have this conversation but not now," he told his son.
While drinking in an establishment during another secretly recorded scene, Madison asked his dad if he had anything to do with the murder. Jeffrey responded, “I’m not gonna talk to you about the murder.”
But he went on to shake his head no and claimed he wasn’t capable of killing anyone.
“I’m not capable of it," he said. "I'm not guilty of it."
In 2012, Jeffrey was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his kids’ trust funds between 2008 and early 2010. He allegedly took the last $400 out of his daughter's account just 14 days before Barbara was murdered, according to an affidavit obtained by the New Haven Register in 2012.
He was charged that year with both first-degree and second-degree larceny for stealing from two accounts belonging to his daughter. In total, he’s accused of stealing more than $100,000 from her. He also allegedly transferred more than $100,000 from Madison's trust account to his own account, but Madison didn't press charges. Court documents from 2018 suggest that Jeffrey has continued to fight against paying back the money
"It seems to me that your father was in the position to lose the most if she lived and that was the day he was supposed to go to jail," Platt told Madison, referencing the day that the divorced couple was due in court.
The first episode of "Murder on Middle Beach" debuts on HBO on Sunday, Nov. 15.
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