Tamron Hall Reveals Personal Regrets in Sister's Unsolved Murder

Tamron Hall Reveals Personal Regrets in Sister's Unsolved Murder

NBC correspondent Tamron Hall and Sharon Scott, EVP of NBC News' Peacock Productions, at TCA 2014 (Getty Images)

TCA: The host of Investigation Discovery's “Deadline: Crime” shared deeply personal story in spite of one critic's dismissive remarks

NBC News correspondent Tamron Hall for the first time revealed details about the unsolved murder of her sister at a Television Critics Association panel for Investigation Discovery on Thursday morning — and stayed firm in response to a critic who dismissed her story to get to his point.

Philadelphia TV critic Jonathan Storm asked Hall how she split her time between her full duties for NBC News — which include anchoring “NewsNation” daily on MSNBC — and investigating and reporting for “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall” on ID.

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The host responded with an intimate story to illustrate why she finds it so important to dedicate time to the Investigation Discovery show, even with the demands of her day job.

Viewers of “Deadline: Crime,” which starts its second season this spring, are familiar with the story — Hall described the horrible day when she got the call that her sister had been found face down in her pool.

Initially called an accident, a detective told Hall that that was not so. Hall's sister had bruising all over her body, hair ripped from her scalp, and most of her fingernails were gone.

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Officers told the family they were fairly sure who committed the crime, but nobody was ever brought to justice.

“One day turned to two; two days turned to a month,” Hall said.

The TCA audience was visibly moved, but Storm responded, “That's all very nice, but can you answer my question?”

Before carrying on with her story, Hall responded to Storm's comment, saying, “It's not ‘nice,'” and asking him how he would feel if he got a call telling him his sister had been beaten and murdered.

For the first time, Hall shared details about the events leading to her sister's death to drive the point home. She said there were signs of domestic abuse that she recognized at the time but did nothing to intervene, and she partly blames herself for the family's loss.

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One day, Hall told the TCA audience, she returned to her own home to discover her sister had been physically assaulted, and the person who did it was still there. Hall kicked that person out.

But the next day, her sister had invited that person back, so Hall kicked them both out and didn’t talk to her sister for three months — a decision she regrets to this day.

“I should have hugged my sister, and I should have found help for her,” Hall said. ”We eventually fell back in love with each other, but the monster was still always there.”

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Hall said the tendency to go back to dangerous situations is what makes the cycle of violence so difficult to stop and what keeps bringing stories like hers to the show.

“It’s not as easy as saying, ‘Why don’t kids get it?'… It’s not as simple as saying ‘What could I have done differently?'”

Hall credited her personal experience for the drive she has to host “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall” on the network, which requires her to split her time with her NBC reporting and MSNBC anchor duties. But Hall said she is still not ready to tell her sister's story on the show.

Also read: TCA: OWN Orders Tyler Perry Scripted Drama ‘Single Moms Club’

“I don't know at this moment if I'm as brave as some of these people who've let me in their home,” she said. ”But I hope one day I can.”

  • susan

    I suggest that Mr.Storm could one day go on a interview with a family that Ms. Hall interviews about abuse and let him get a first hand look into someones life of what it's like to live thru that. Any type of abuse is horriable.I know!!!

  • A.L. Hern

    Real empathy is in short supply these days. Politicians dispense understanding nods and hugs like Halloween candy, and TV news people purr their concern to wind up every heart-rending tale of woe that crosses their desks, so I don't know that Mr Storm's apparent lack of empathy isn't somehow preferable to the patently fake concern shown by so many public figures these days.

    • Margaret Beaufort

      “That's all very nice”? That comment cannot be characterized as an “apparent lack of empathy” in my opinion. That was subhuman and inexcusable. And please don't think I'm taking issue with you Mr. Hern (I'm definitely not) but Jonathan Storm is hardly a public figure.

  • ole blue eyes

    My sister was in an abusive relationship and the man would have eventually killed her had there not been intervention. One evening while I was visiting over at my sister's residence and a fight broke out between her and her abuser and I told him that he will not attack my sister while I am still breathing. I went to dial 0 for the operator to connect me to the police. This was in 1970 and we have those heavy roatery phones. He made a huge mistake of grabbing me by the neck of my blouse and WHAM!!! I bashed him with the receiver of the phone to the right side of his head and BAM!!! to the left side with the base! I then took both the receiver and base and FLAM, PING, PONG to the middle of his face!!! I hit him so hard that the phone rang!!! Ladies, you must PICK UP ANYTHING…AND I MEAN ANYTHING YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON AND TAKE IT TO TASK!!! To make a long story short, he was taken out on a stretcher and the police! He also had scratches all over him during the fight. I have super strong nails that have a slight curve to them so I put claws, brawls and dogs on his ass! Come to find out; he had been beating my sister for years.

    • Travestine

      This is a great story but sadly, if you did this in 2014, he would have been taken out on a stretcher and you would have been taken away in a police car. He threatened you and your sister verbally, you committed assault with a weapon. Be very careful about taking this advice – laws and law enforcement has changed – women have to be very careful to document evidence of the beatings and violence (take photos, make videos, record the threats – all smartphones have recording capabilities) BEFORE you resort to physical violence against your abuser or YOU may end up on the wrong side of the table facing a judge.

      • Candice Byrd

        I would think that if he grabbed her by the shirt that would be more than VERBALLY.

        • Travestine

          I say this as the friend of a woman who spent the night in jail in her nightgown and had to be bailed out by her lawyer boss. I don't say it as someone who doesn't know women who have been abused or is unsympathetic – I just want women to deal with reality.

      • Lumpy

        OMG!! Get a life! While I'm getting documentation, he's beating the snot out of me. I rather deal with the law after I give him a taste of his own medicine. That's a fact, Jack!

        • Travestine

          I have a life. I also have a friend who spent the night in jail in her nightgown because her abuser had more visible injuries than she did, even though he'd been beating her all through their relationship. Face reality. Evidence is what the police and prosecutors want.

          • AnonWho

            You have a point. Perhaps in the 1970s the default assumption was that between two injured parties the man was the provocateur and the woman only defending herself, but now things have changed. There are organisations fighting on behalf of abused and wrongly blamed men, who do exist.

            Imagine if the police walked in on you with a weapon in your hand and a snivelling, bruised and battered guy claiming he's been a long-term victim of your abuse and this is just one instance. If they chose to believe your story without any evidence to the contrary, many people would cry foul.

            I think ole blue eyes’ comment was advocating a response to immediate danger, lest you end up permanently injured or dead or whatever. Just because a woman is the “weaker” sex doesn't mean she doesn't viciously defend herself with whatever she can lay her hands on.

    • JamalJenkum

      Wow. Is the phone ok or did you have to buy a new one?

  • Irl

    Mr. Storm sounds like a perfectly disagreeable person whose only purpose in speaking with Ms. Hall was to one up and/or make her look bad. He sounds like the kind of person who thinks that he looks good when he makes someone look/feel bad. “Bless his heart!” as my Southern rellies would say!!!

    • ole blue eyes

      Just goes to show you what a pathetic loser this douche-bag really is.

      • Margaret Beaufort

        Yup. A waste of skin and organs.

  • JT

    Love Tamron!

  • Guest

    a$$hole

  • JamalJenkum

    Just one thing, what WAS the answer to the reporters question? I'm sort of more interested in that.

    • disqus_O8knQd9tor

      That WAS the answer to her question, it just wasn't the literal concrete answer Storm (or you) were looking for. She stated she is so passionate about this work with ID due to her sister, that she FINDS the time. I heard her clearly. She didn't need to say I work 20 hrs out of 24 every day (or whatever ratio it is), it was inferred through the passion she has for both jobs.

    • Margaret Beaufort

      The FORMER reporter.

      • JamalJenkum

        Why former? The didn't repeal the 1st amendment to the constitution did they?

        • apple apple

          Nope, but there never has been a constitutional right to a reporting job. Besides, he's retired. He figures I don't have to kiss anyone's but; I can say whatever disgusting thing I want with no retribution from employers.

        • Margaret Beaufort

          See apple's response Jamal. THAT'S what I meant. Sorry for not being clearer. My bad.

    • A_Nor_Easter

      Really? I think it was a very dull question. How does she split her time? What answer would even be interesting from that, a weekly schedule? A description of her overtime?

      • CarynL

        Haha, exactly. What answer was he hoping for? “Well, you know, there are some hours when I'm not doing my day job? I'm going to be doing this other thing for some of those hours now.” Really insightful question, there.

  • Jodi

    Mr. Storm appears bitter, what is his motive asking her how she multi-tasks two amazing projects in her career other than jealousy? How trivial a tv critic's column must be in general, I have yet to read one..

  • Jonathan M. Storm

    Here's why I was so “rude” to Tamron Hall: I find it beyond heinous that someone would turn the murder of their relative into a career move, basically saying, “Watch my show because I have the personal experience that others don't, and because of that I am on a mission to prevent violence and a capture criminals and I am more qualified than other TV personalities to do that.” Hall was pre-programmed to tell that story at the session no matter what question was asked in a calculated, and apparently successful, effort to garner sympathy and publicity from the TV writers in the room. I have the same feeling for John Walsh, the “America's Most Wanted” producer who has made a career out of the death of his child. These people are television personalities. They are making a lot of money. And, in my view, they are prostituting themselves making lurid TV shows that demean the memory of their relatives.

    • Truth

      I see why you are the “former” newspaper reporter.

    • KSanchez

      Just so I understand…. nobody should make money doing something they feel passionate about? Why do you do the work that you do?

      • Margaret Beaufort

        *snort* He watches TV for a living.

    • Thinker88

      Do you think the same thing about John Walsh? Have you ever considered that the tragedy may have pushed her into the path that she's on now? The spot light that she's in may save someone from a domestic violence situation. It may be a way of honoring her sister's memory due to the guilt she feels for not doing more. I find it beyond heinous that someone would turn the murder of someone else's relative into a subject of scorn. Your points are petty and ridiculous!

      • Jonathan M. Storm

        I do think the same thing about John Walsh. There are many ways besides making self-aggrandizing, and very lucrative, exploitive TV shows to honor someone's memory and educate the public. It was pretty obvious, to me at least, that Ms. Hall or her handlers had carefully calculated her revelations to get the maximum publicity value. I would not do that to my dead sister.

        • Margaret Beaufort

          I'm wondering if your piercing insight has led you to a realization of what an utter asshole you are.

        • Truth

          Walsh's show did result in bringing some felons to justice.

          Tamron's experience likely makes her more attuned to people's suffering

          It is good that you are a mere critic and not involved in actually creating anything.

          Sad

        • MarkShearer

          Unless your intent is to make a fool of yourself, you should probably shut up.

          Ms. Hall is absolutely allowed to draw attention to the unsolved murder of her precious sister in any way she chooses.

        • lily

          I worked with John Walsh for 10 years and you could not be more wrong. He shiny and polished, but he cares deeply about what he does. He is the reason that the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children exists. May you never suffer what these people have suffered, you crusty windbag.

        • Kate B

          Good thing we have men here to not only tell us how to deal with domestic violence, but to say how much awareness domestic violence should get and when women should talk about it. I look forward to your career burning out in a blaze of embarrassment Mr. Storm. Shame on you.

          • Jen L

            And of course, the right thing for women to do about domestic violence, in his opinion, is shut the fuck up and follow his orders, goddamn it.

        • Jen L

          You absolutely would do that to your dead sister– only in your case it would be deliberately because you're a self-righteous, hypocritical attention hound who can't stand someone being more successful than him. You would do it to show her and John Walsh how to do it RIGHT.

    • reality_watcher

      So your way, whatever that may be, is the right way and anyone who chooses to host a tv show is wrong? I'm just trying to figure out what you believe wouldn't be “heinous” or inappropriate to do? And what about the arrests and convictions that have come from people watching America's Most Wanted that otherwise may not have come about? I'm actually not that big a fan of John Walsh, but I don't doubt that his show has led to some cold cases being closed and that's a good thing. Television provides an easy way to reach a large audience. In the case of cold cases and old crimes where, shocker of all shockers, the guilty party might not stay in the same town the crime was committed in, it's an effective way to get a story out to someone on the opposite side of the country who may recognize someone and who otherwise would never have heard the story. Sure, Hall and Walsh could have done other things with their experience, but just because your reaction is that the way they went was “heinous” doesn't make it wrong. What about someone who lost a loved one to murder and becomes a doctor to save lives? That's a career move based on the murder of a relative, no? Is that “heinous” too? I guess what I'm asking is what would be acceptable to you?? I applaud people who turn personal experiences into career moves they are passionate about. Far too many of us do what we do for work just to pay the bills, with no real passion or thought behind it. But that must be ok for you.

      • Jonathan M. Storm

        You make some interesting points. I am a jaded TV critic, no question about it. And share Hunter Thompson's general view of the TV business: “uglier than most things … some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long, plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs.” Becoming a doctor or a teacher or what have you would be much more admirable career paths in response to that kind of tragedy, in my view.

        • JoeSixpaq

          …and what exactly is YOUR “admirable career path?” Being an a-hole tv critic? Cripes, man, look in the mirror once in a while.

        • http://wwww.AllYourScreens/ Rick Ellis

          When I heard about this exchange yesterday I was inclined to let it slide because I wasn't at the TCA and I have certainly asked my share of inappropriate or misunderstood questions.

          But it's clear you weren't misunderstood, Jonathan. You are apparently a guy who covers an industry he loathes so much that anyone choosing to participate in it is inherently pimping out their soul.

          With all due respect, people who have suffered horrible losses are the ones that get to decide which coping mechanism is most appropriate for them. Often it's work-related, as is the case with Tamron Hall. Sometimes helping others and working to prevent similar tragedies is the best approach, as is the case with John Walsh. It's their decision and projecting your cynicism onto their lives is unfair and frankly, a lazy way to approach the subject.

          I have no idea whether Tamron Hall is on some level using her personal tragedy as a way to help her career. Although as someone who suffered a great loss myself, I have trouble imagining the type of person who would channel their pain in such a public fashion just to make a couple of bucks.

          When I was young and in college, my girlfriend was murdered in our apartment They never caught the person responsible and after a fair amount of acting out, my response was to bury myself in the things I knew best back then: stand-up comedy and writing. An outside observer would think I was being a cold-hearted jerk, but focusing my mind on my craft wasn't just therapeutic. It was a way of honoring someone I loved. Someone whom I knew had believed in my talent.

          It's easy to be dismissive of other people's intentions. Hell, being a cynic is in itself a pretty good career move. But from what I can tell Ms. Hall gave no indication that she was being anything but sincere in what she told you.

          I don't know you personally and I'm not going to try and psychoanalyze your motives, since that would lead me down the same path to jackassdom that you traveled yesterday. But from where I sit, you made a mistake and if you don't see that, then perhaps there are some other folks at the TCA who can walk you through it.

        • CarynL

          Yes, doctors are known for giving up pursuit of material wealth and career success to do whatever it takes to help people. Oh, actually, not at all. From someone whose mother was a teacher and whose in-laws are all in health care, a job is a job and people have different motivations for doing any job. If some chosen career path looks less cruel or shallow to you, it's probably just because you're ignorant of the pettiness that people in every profession are capable of.

        • Annegret Pearl

          your view is so ugly, rude and awful- you'd be better off keeping it and any other boneheaded thought you have to yourself.

        • Jen L

          Right. The CORRECT thing to do is anything that doesn't directly help. The CORRECT thing to do is live a life of poverty because we refuse to pay teachers well. The CORRECT thing to do is for media figures to sit down and shut up when the real men like you are busy trying to cover up domestic violence.

        • Ugonna Wosu

          because what? Just because you say they are more admirable? If its the attention that bothers you, you can't tell me there isn't a lot of attention from becoming a doctor or lawyer. Not with all the families and strangers that go on and on and on about how much they respect and admire ppl in those fields,even when they know nothing about those ppl and their actual character. All that matters is they're the “almighty, respectable” person. You can't tell me that most of the ppl who went into those fields didn't do it (at least in large part) for all the KUDOS and prestige they'd get. Most “admired” careers have some selfish, shallow aspect to it, but in many ways they still help ppl. All I care about is that you care about and are passionate about what you're doing, so you can do a better job at it. These tragedies have given Hall and Walsh reason to be passionate. I'm at a loss as to why you can't see that as a good thing.

      • Ugonna Wosu

        you gave the best response. I was imply going to ask “what's wrong with making something good, and decent, out of a tragedy?”. You covered everything I would have meant by that.

    • Mart

      Jonathan you sound like you need a hug. Also, you could use a huge dose of logic and maybe a course or two on critical thinking skills. You lack professionalism and foresight, I don't know why they even let you into that room.

    • A_Nor_Easter

      Your lack of empathy is truly astounding.

    • Lin Jensen

      You may disagree with what she's doing – even if your reasoning is a HUGE stretch – but that doesn't change the fact that you were and continue to be a jerk about it. Her actions didn't govern yours – your rudeness was your own.

    • Mardifleur

      Prostituting themselves?Making ‘careers of producing “lurid” TV shows'to demean the memory of their loved ones? Seriously?You,Sir,most clearly are out of your mind. You've not been in either Mr. Walsh's nor Ms.Hall's shoes,lived through their respective personal Hellish journeys and thus have NO right to make such pronouncement s. Additionally, and sadly for you, you glaringly lack any evidence of basic human emotional function,sympathÿ,empathy or compassion. The Walsh and Hall families I feel badly for,and everyone(except you) here knows why.But they will make it thru to the other side eventually,with the help of others,their own inner strength and their Higher Power…you, Mr.Storm, on the other hand, can only wonder if there is ANY HOPE at ALL for you in ANY regard.Have a nice day,if you're capable of doing so…

    • mhck

      I think whether or not she prepped to tell the story ahead of time (and she probably did) it was an appropriate response to your question. Her answer pretty clearly implied “This is important to me, so I'll make the time for it, without neglecting my other role at NBC.” If you think that the answer you got was LESS interesting than an answer about logistics and scheduling, you're not much of a journalist.

    • ALovelySummersEve

      You are a bitter, sad excuse for a human.

    • PPC

      I was pretty bothered by how flippant your response appeared. But I am trying not to judge you too harshly. The Internet can be a cruel place. I have friends like you – whom I care for but they like to at times like to “stir the pot” when dinner is doing just fine.

      As far as Hunter Thompson – I agree – I work in TV and believe me there are some huge egos and an occassional terrible person or two, OK, or 9 or 10…. No doubt. But Tamron is still a human being and from many accounts not a bad human being at that.

      Nancy Grace and John Walsh both have similar connections to their shows and it seems like perhaps the network wanted Tamron because of her life experience as well. AMW took more than 1,000 criminals off the streets. Yes, the promos and backstory can be over the top and – look man, we get it… It's a bit much at times.

      WARNING: Here is where you should maybe listen with some humility…

      The loss of a family member regardless of what YOU may deem as exploitation – still needs to garner some respect. It is “Not Nice….” Period. Nope. Not another word. Period. Quiet. No rebuttal. This is where some poise would be due. Maybe phrase the question differently?

      This is where you went against Hunter S.Thompson's philosophy and BECAME THE VERY THING YOU DESPISE. But you got YOUR name out there.. You became a “TV Person who will do anything to make a point.” You lost your humanity. It's OK. Life is filled with moments that can't be taken back. And for the greater good of all of us – you became “An example of what not to do” for all of us other humans to reference. Thanks for that.

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. This really came down to not WHAT you said, but HOW you said it. Now with that being said, looks like you've got a lot of attention and this will no doubt help your career. Good for you.

      Hope it was worth it?

      • Jonathan M. Storm

        I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Actually, I was very surprised to get so much attention. I have no interest in advancing my career, since I retired from full-time work two years ago, but not still too old to learn. This has been a fascinating, and sobering, experience. The level of vituperation and rudeness directed at me for being rude is notable.

        • apple apple

          Yes, yes ,yes. I see. Now it is YOU who's the victim. We'll hold a vigil.

        • Margaret Beaufort

          Self pity party: table for one.

    • Theora

      Maybe she didn't want everyone in the room to be bored senseless by the answer to your insipid, pointless question and chose to actually tell a story. You're indignant, but that question proves you're also really bad at your job. I've had journalism students who asked better questions in a 101 class.

    • GoldenSpiderDuck

      I get what you're saying. I don't think it's so hard to understand and I really don't think all this name calling is warranted.
      You people all look like a bunch of bullies and jerks, in case you're interested – like some poor b#st#rd picked on one of your pretend TV friends and now you are determined to take him down like a bunch of nasty kids on a schoolyard.
      Calm down.

      • Ugonna Wosu

        didn't HE start with the name calling?

    • Jen L

      Translation: you asked her a leading question so you could attack her based on your existing bias. She didn't fall for it. Despite having answered your question, you then acted dismissively towards her for not falling for your leading question. Now, despite admitting that you'd gone into the interview disliking her and intending to “expose” her, you're claiming that SHE had a scripted response to your scripted question– a claim that you literally have no evidence to back up and was created by you because it confirms your bias.

      There's a sign of a great journalist, everyone– making shit up to attack other people with when you have literally just done what you accused her of.

      And now you've called her a prostitute.

      You are a sexist asshole who couldn't stand that a woman stood up to you effectively and now you need to double and triple down so you can justify your behavior to YOURSELF.

      You are pathetic. Get therapy.

    • Tracie Dixon

      Sometimes, Mr.Storm, it's better to keep your mouth closed then opening it and proving, yet once again, what a complete jerk you really are. Your opinion is one thing, but to be rude and continue on with your rhetoric, is going to far. Maybe THIS is the reason your career has tanked and will continue into the toilet because of your mouth. Next time try taking the high road! #lessonlearned

    • Ms. Vega in Los Angeles

      Mr Storm you are so bitter or mybe you are masking some kind of pain or episode in your life that would make you think believe and say what you have said here… Unfortunately she has this story to tell which makes her
      More able to connect and empathize with the people these stories will be about.. Your attitude and opinion of both Tamron Hall and John Walsh is mind blowing and
      horrific you need to look within and figure out why you are so suspicious and negative and why you lack empathy

    • Ron Plummer

      Mr. Storm, your “rude” behavior only illustrates to the rest of us the lack of integrity that you walk on this earth with and your lack of the most important and primary prerequisite for any journalist or critic – listening skills.

      Is your malevolent demeanor more of an indication you had nothing to say, or is it more representative of the demons you struggle with pushing you to say something rather than speak from a genuine interest in what Ms. Hall had to say about how tragedy in HER life affect HER choices; both personal and professional?

  • GoldenSpiderDuck

    Initially called an accident, a detective told Hall that that was not
    so.

    -In what universe is this a sentence? Are you people hiring editors?

  • Marzipan

    When someone you love is taken from you in a sudden, and dramatic way, it is terribly, terribly important that you feel you do what you can to keep their memory alive. You want others to know their names…to learn who they were, that they were loved, and existed, and MATTERED. And you hope that by telling their story, that the memory of them, of their circumstances, will help another person. Keep them from a similar fate. It's not evil, or lurid, Mr. Storm. It's quite the opposite.

  • Miami Mom

    Obviously Mr. Storm has never had tradegy show up at his door. It's a horrible feeling. Thankfully Ms.Hall is stronger, bigger, and more gracious than the insensitive, arrogant, and prideful critic whose terribly detached from reality. No wonder she's such a great anchorperson.

  • Mochamajesty

    Ask John Walsh or Tamron Hall if they would rather have their family members still with them or their successful tv shows. I guess you could view this two ways: I choose to see it as someone using tragedy to help someone else. I believe that the way that you view their choices says more about you.

  • lawoman32

    The insensitivity of the interview is appalling. As for domestic abuse, we need to raise our daughters with emphasis that they should never, ever put up with any kind of abuse from males; likewise, boys should be taught that “real men” never act violently towards women–that it is an act of absolute cowardice. I know that my three daughters chose husbands based on their respectful attitude toward women and the maturity to control their anger.