Filmmaker Madison Hamburg wants to know who killed his mother– and documented his personal investigation in a new docuseries “Murder on Middle Beach.” Today, there are still no answers as to what happened to Barbara Hamburg, who was found dead of blunt force trauma in the yard of her home in an upper middle-class neighborhood in Connecticut.
Authorities believe the manner in which she was killed meant it was a crime of passion, meaning that the victim knew the attacker, yet no suspect had ever been charged in her killing.
“The potential that this story had for me was to learn more about my mom,” Madison explained in an interview with Variety.
Madison was away at college when his mom was killed 10 years ago. Barbara was 48 years old at the time, and remembered for her “energy, spirit, and good will, helping those in need, and drawing deeply on her compassion for others,” according to her obituary.
She had also been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, her obituary stated, and was supposed to be in court the day she died, in a case against her ex-husband Jeffrey, who reportedly owed her a significant amount of money. Jeffrey did in fact appear in court that day and has never been named a suspect in the case.
Police questioned him in the case and collected a DNA sample from him, though it did not match the sample police allegedly collected at the crime scene, the Day reported in 2010. Jeffrey's attorney said in 2011 that he was considered a person of interest in the case, the Shoreline Times reported.
Years after the death, while at film school in 2013, Madison began shooting the documentary into his mother’s life and murder, interviewing family members like his dad and aunt in his personal investigation.
“There’s that dual role that I have as a filmmaker and a family member and they’re not always in concert with each other,” he said. “I didn’t know where this would end up, but if this was my only chance to look the elephant and the eye and address it, I felt like if I didn’t take that opportunity — if I didn’t ask bluntly these really tough questions — then I never would have exonerated people I love and I never would have gotten past that.”
Madison's father has allegedly refused to talk about his past with Madison's mother, even when Madison posed questions about his childhood in general, Variety reported. Jeffrey did indeed meet with his son to preserve their relationship, Variety wrote. Madison recorded those meetings and included them in the docuseries.
In addition to his mother's murder, Madison also explores his parents’ relationship and divorce. “Whether or not he had anything to do with the murder, we have stuff that we have to work out [as] father and son that I’m desperately trying to do,” he said.
He also explores a pyramid scheme his mom and aunt had been involved in at the time of her death.
“Murder on Middle Beach” premieres Sunday, Nov. 15 on HBO.