Tamron Hall’s sister murdered story: Hall partly blames herself for her sister’s death

Tamron Hall’s motivation to host Deadline: Crime on Investigation Discovery stemmed from personal tragedy: the death of her sister, Renate, in 2004. Hall and Renate were not blood-related – Renate was Hall’s stepfather’s daughter – but Hall considered Renate her sister. “We were family,” Hall told People. “That was my big sister. When I needed advice, I asked her.”

Renate was found bludgeoned to death, floating in the swimming pool of her Houston home. Police believed they would charge the only person of interest in the case, but insufficient evidence prevented an arrest. The case remains officially unsolved. 

Tamron’s sister was a victim of domestic violence in the years before her murder

Hall described her sister as ‘effortless energy of love’ as she sat down with her nephew, Leroy Moore III, to discuss Renate. It was the first time that she’d opened up about Renate on Tamron Hall

The pair revealed that everyone in the family knew that Renate was a victim of domestic violence. “I had to realize that there were things I didn’t do and there were times I didn’t say anything when I should have,” Moore said. 

Leroy stated that he learned after Renate’s death that she called him constantly to lessen the tension in her house. He explained:

“When I look back she would call me and ask, ‘Hey can you make it down for the weekend?’ and every time I drove down there would always be tension in the household and that’s kinda when I look back I realize she was calling me down there to avert that tension that was in the household.”

Renate’s family knew that she fell victim to domestic violence, but none could say it. “I think my entire family, we hunkered down and embraced each other but did not know how to share her story,” Tamron told Yahoo Entertainment

Leroy and his brother, Damon, suddenly faced life without their effervescent mother, who had just kicked an alcohol problem and made career progress. Damon told Tamron that he lost ‘everything’ after Renate’s death. 

He lost the beacon supposed to guide him through life. “Your mom kind of leads you the way on how to treat women, how to handle things, how to be a good presence,” Moore said. “I kind of lost that with my mom.”

It took Leroy a decade to come to terms with Renate’s death. In honor of his mom, he resolved to assist causes that tackle domestic violence and abuse. 

Renate passed away over 15 years ago, but talking about her still stirs some emotion in Tamron and Leroy. “This is the hardest thing to discuss publicly, because we did not talk about it,” Hall said. “We never discussed it. Because I didn’t know what to say.”

Tamron believes that she’s partly to blame for Renate’s death

Tamron can’t shake the feeling that she could have done more to protect her sister. She looks back at her mistreatment of Renate and her inaction with regret.

“I suffered the weight of a lot of guilt,” Tamron told Yahoo Entertainment. It didn’t help that her father died shortly after Renate’s death due to what Hall’s mother believes was a broken heart. 

Tamron wrote on Today of one night in Chicago when her sister’s partner assaulted her. Despite Renate having a nasty injury on her face, her partner insisted that she fell. Hall continued:

“The next morning when I went to check on her, I found she had let the person back into my home. I was furious and demanded that they both leave. While we eventually reconciled, it wasn’t until we had gone without speaking for months.”

Hall told People that she learned later that her reaction to the assault was negative: “I said to her, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ ‘You’re too beautiful. Too smart. You can do better.’ All the things I’ve learned now are wrong [from domestic abuse advocates], I did them all.”

Hall feared that people would misjudge her if she talked about her sister’s death

For a long time, Hall grappled with the guilt of her sisters’ death alone. She had the platform to use the tragedy to effect positive change, but fear of misjudgment stifled her voice. “I was worried that by discussing my sister and asking victims to come forward, I would be seen as exploiting the problem,” Tamron wrote on Today

With time, Tamron gathered enough courage to launch the Shine a Light initiative for victims of domestic violence. As she’d feared, people misinterpreted her actions:

“I got a tweet from someone who said that I should be ashamed of myself for discussing my sister’s death. That night, I got mad, I cried and I was afraid to go forward with this idea of shining a light.”

Later, a ‘reporter’ dismissed her ‘as just another person with a painful story.’ She drew motivation to press on with her activism from the memory of her father. “The voice was my father saying that I was doing the right thing,” she wrote. 

As Tamron met more survivors of domestic violence, she realized that storytelling could save lives. She continued:

“I have teamed up with my phenomenal producers and a group of women like no other as we move closer and closer to the light. These survivors are now the faces of my Shine a Light. Their stories are hard to hear but where they are no in their lives is an inspiration with great power – power to even save a life.”

Hall told People that Shine a Light has made positive impacts. “I got a private email from an NBC colleague saying she’d left an abusive relationship and she wanted to thank me,” Hall said. 

Motivated by a desire to do more for victims of domestic violence, Hall partnered with the Purple Leash Project in October 2020. The project’s goal is to push more domestic violence shelters to accept pets. 

A staggering stat posted by Yahoo Entertainment reveals that about half of domestic violence victims chose to stay rather than abandon their pets. If more shelters allowed pets, more people would leave abusive relationships. Hall talked to the outlet about Renate’s pet:

“She named the dog Mini-Me because my sister had sandy blonde hair and the dog had sandy blonde hair. But pets are our families and they’re there with us unconditionally. And Mini-Me was with my sister unconditionally on her journey.”

Tamron believes that she knows her sister’s killer, but she isn’t ready to confront him

Renate was in a relationship with the only person named as a person of interest in her death. The law couldn’t prove him guilty, but Hall does not doubt that he is the killer.

“Do we know who did this to her as defined by a court of law? No,” Hall told People. “But I can tell you I witnessed an act of violence and there were only two other people in that room.”

Tamron told the crowd at ID + Crime: The Truth Is Out There that she’s unsure whether the suspected killer would agree to an interview. She also questioned her ability to sit across from him. Hall added that she isn’t ready to confront the man:

“He was a row in front of me at my sister’s funeral, so I think when I am ready for that, and to knock on his door, then I think I will do it. But I don’t know if emotionally I am there yet.”

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