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Four episodes, 10 years, 200 recording days and countless hours of video footage later, one question still stays: Who murdered Barbara Hamburg?
However for Madison Hamburg, when he set out to find who killed his mother on March 3, 2010, there was another secret he wished to resolve: Who was Barbara Hamburg?
Murder on Middle Beach ended its 4 episode work on Sunday night, bringing Madison’s eight-year investigation to an end– but likewise a clean slate, both for the filmmaker as a member of the family who’s experienced this sort of catastrophe, and for the investigation, after a significant development in the event.
Simply 18 years of ages when Barbara was killed, Madison informed E! News his documentary is less of a whodunnit and more of an exploration into Barbara the individual, not just the moms and dad, and the “disputes within her life.”
Those conflicts, along with Madison’s family secrets, are exposed and explored throughout Murder on Middle Beach, along with his continuous examination into the still-unsolved slaying.
However will Madison continue to document his search for his mom’s killer? And how did his relative– including his separated daddy– react to the docuseries?
What’s Next For the Examination
At the end of the documentary, Madison and his group accessed to crucial files related to the case through the Freedom of Information Act, despite the Madison Police Department trying to block their demands.
” The case files are silver lining throughout all of this,” Madison stated, “when weighing the advantages and disadvantages of doing something like this [documentary].”
After getting the files in mid-October, Madison and his group are still going through all of the info, which he called “extremely illuminating.”
Courtesy of HBO
” I think that the police were more overwhelmed than anything with this case since there’s a lot of moving pieces,” he discussed. “After eight years of piecing together fragments of people’s memories about my mother and March 3 and what was going on in her life– having these case files, the clarity and accuracy of realities within these files, would’ve conserved me a lot time. [Laughs.]”
While he could not “enter information with what’s to come” when asked about releasing more episodes of Murder on Middle Beach, Madison did state, “There’s definitely more to the story. this kind of opens the investigation up in a new method, in a brand-new chapter. It’s actually … exciting is a weird word for it, but I guess that’s how I feel.”
Though gaining access to the police files has been “truly gratifying” for Madison in regards to his examination, he likewise discussed the “scary” adverse effects of going through the Liberty of Info Act.
” This things is on the cusp of being publicly offered,” he said, “that comes back to the unique part of this, I don’t desire pictures of my mama’s autopsy on the Web.”
How His Household Reacted
” It was unnerving for me throughout the entire process,” Madison stated of knowing his family members would eventually see the documentary and also undergo audience members’ viewpoints– the great, the bad and the accusatory.
” I think I recognized there was no way to do this or finish with what the product I had that’s not exposing vulnerabilities and, in some methods, exploitative.” he continued. “To inform their stories, they’re doing it? It’s their words. I was extremely mindful to not give my opinions about this entire thing.”
Madison confessed was “actually hard” to ask family members– including his sis Ali Hamburg, auntie Conway Beach and grandmother Barbara Lund— if they had anything to do with Barbara’s murder and “to hear the important things that they were stating about each other and exposing to me.”
His interviews provide an unthinkable moral predicament that when again highlighted the great line between invested family member and investigative filmmaker.
Thanks To HBO
” There were moments of like, if I discovered, genuinely hypothetically, that a family member did this– like, if I learnt my sis did this, like, would I act on that?” he stated. “And is ruining the rest of her life, is that what my mom would desire? And at a particular point, there was a great deal of ethical ambiguity and sort of these ethical dilemmas that I was confronted with that I hope shines through.”
Weeks ahead of its Nov. 15 release, Madison hosted screenings of all four episodes for his family.
” Everybody involved in my household, outside of my daddy, has seen it with weeks to digest how they are portrayed and how they encounter and the scope of the series,” he stated. “There were a lot of hard conversations, but at the end of the day, they comprehended.”
Well, nearly all of them comprehended. The documentary shows and explores Madison’s separated relationship with his dad Jeffrey Hamburg, who was a main person of interest in the event. And in the final episode, Madison uses a wire-tap to secretly tape a conversation with Jeffrey. Later, the set have a tense telephone call that ends with Jeffrey declining to talk after finding out Madison was taping the discussion.
” The last time I talked with my dad was on camera, in the last episode,” Madison revealed. “I believe the ball remains in his court.”
His Mother’s Tradition
Just 18 years old when Barbara was killed, part of the factor Madison began his documentary was for more information about his mom’s life and who she was outside of being his mom.
” When I started asking concerns to family members, I realized I was grieving someone that I didn’t truly know as a person,” Madison discussed. “She was like a superhero to me when she died … after I began asking questions I recognized I didn’t understand Barbara and this was a chance to gain from her after her death.”
Madison discovered his mom and numerous members of her family were involved in the Gifting Table, a pyramid plan that was exposed as an illegal cash grab in 2011.
Also referred to as “the tables,” each group in the organization was structured into 4 levels, each named after a course in a meal.
In a 2013 news release, the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for the District of Connecticut detailed the way it worked: “8 individuals assigned down row, 4 participants assigned to the 3rd row, two individuals designated to the 2nd row, and one participant designated to the top row. The leading row participant is described as the ‘Dessert,’ the two participants on the 2nd row as ‘Meals,’ the 4 participants on the 3rd row as ‘Soup and Salads,’ and the eight individuals on the bottom row as ‘Appetisers.'”
Madison didn’t avoid revealing his mom’s involvement and development within the group, ultimately becoming a top member a.k.a. “Dessert” level. She also hired members from Twelve step programs meetings and the tables led to a rift between her and her sister-in-law Jill Platt prior to her death. (In 2013, Platt was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison after she was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, several counts of wire scams, and filing false tax returns.)
Courtesy of HBO
” I was truly anxious about her image through all of this,” he admitted.
Eventually, Madison set out to be “as sincere as possible and likewise to be as balanced as possible,” when it concerned the documentary.
” The reality is, this is an unusual thing to state, I think my mother would be proud of me, no matter what I did in my life, excellent or bad,” he stated. “I think she would be proud because that’s what moms do.”
What Madison Hopes Audiences Take Away From Murder on Middle Beach
After Barbara’s death, Madison left school to go to rehab for an opiate dependency. One year later on, he went back to Savannah College of Art and Style (SCAD), however didn’t tell anybody about his mother’s murder.
” It was really difficult for me to tell people what happened to my mommy after she passed away,” he explained. “I didn’t want to be the kid whose mother got killed. I didn’t desire it to define me. There were undertones attached to murder and the word murder and what that indicates and I didn’t want to fall under that category.”
However, the documentary, which began as a school task, eventually ended up being a way for Madison to own his story.
” I seemed like this film was a method for me to define it in a way as a member of the family whose gone through this and hopefully change those undertones and make it less, I think, taboo to inform someone that this had happened.”
And while he does not blame individuals for wanting to go on to the Internet to discover the specifics of the case, his hope was for it to end up being “less a whodunnit” than an exploration of processing sorrow and the mankind behind the headings.
Murder on Middle Beach is readily available on HBO Max.