The Tragic Unsolved Murder Of Tamron Hall's Sister

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the number of men and women who suffer abuse at the hands of a partner is staggering. They estimate nationwide, on average, 20 people per minute are experiencing physical abuse. One in every 3 women and 1 in every 4 men have experienced physical violence, and the organization adds that domestic violence hotlines receive more than 20,000 calls every day. Those are just the people who reach out; there are countless more who remain silent. (The NCADV estimates only 34% of people injured in domestic disputes receive medical help.)

In 2016, talk show host and broadcast journalist Tamron Hall did something incredibly difficult: She sat down with People and talked about her sister, Renate. Twelve years prior, Renate's body was discovered at her home. Her murder remains unsolved as of 2022. Hall has struggled for years to come to grips with the death of her beloved sister. Hall says that her sister's death came at the end of years of abusive relationships, and adds that it took a lot for her to finally speak up. "No one deserves what happened to my sister. For a long time, I was hesitant about sharing our story. ... But then I said, screw that. I can save a life."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Tamron Hall's sister was killed in 2004

It was 2016 when Tamron Hall invited People into her Manhattan apartment to sit down and talk about the tragedy that had changed her life and the lives of her family members forever in 2004. That, she said, was the year that her sister, Renate, was killed. Her body was recovered from the pool in the backyard of her Houston, Texas home, and Hall added that her death had come after she had spent a long, long time in abusive relationships. Hall said: "She was very smart and very beautiful. Many times, she'd fall for men who took advantage of her."

Tragically, Renate's situation wasn't unusual. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, only about half of physical abuse that happens within the confines of a relationship gets reported to authorities, and they stress that it happens a lot: Each year, more than 10 million Americans experience physically violent acts. They also say that the majority of domestic abuse incidents involve partners who are dating as opposed to married. 

Hall says that even after he was physically abusive, her sister continued seeing the man who police would later consider a person of interest in her murder investigation. Nothing would ever be proven, and the case is still officially unsolved.

Her sister left behind a son who is still looking for answers

In 2019, Tamron Hall welcomed Leroy Moore onto her Tamron Hall Show. Moore is the son of Hall's stepsister, Renate, and he was there to talk about the murder of his mother. When Hall asked what had been taken from him that day, Moore responded, "Everything."

Moore has spent years looking for answers. He was still young when his mother was killed, and as an adult in 2019, he had started working with domestic violence charities to try to help others who found themselves in her position. Getting to that point had been hard. "For me, it was ... personally, I had to own my mom's death. It's what I had to do. I had to realize there was things I didn't do, and there was times I didn't say something when I should have. And so I own that, and once I owned that, I realized the best way to give back is to make sure that nobody else went through what I went through."

Moore also took the opportunity to talk about the gender divide he saw in his volunteer work. When Hall pointed out that he'd said he had seen very few men stepping forward to help, Moore agreed. Putting an end to domestic violence and making sure no other child would have a parent taken from them would require help from all places and people. "Being quiet doesn't make you masculine. It doesn't make you a man because you don't say anything."

Tamron Hall laments she did everything wrong, but found a right in her career

Hindsight, it's said, is 20/20, and for Tamron Hall, she told People that in hindsight, the events leading up to her sister's murder still haunted her. That hindsight wasn't letting her forget that she knew she had done everything wrong. After finding out about the abuse that was going on in her sister's situation, she said: "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, I did them all."

WINGS, an organization founded in 1985 to help victims of domestic abuse and their families, says that yes, asking a person why they don't just leave could be incredibly harmful. Reminding the person that there are options out there for help, that they deserve to be safe, and that they're not at fault are all key, and much better options when it comes to helping someone in a domestic abuse situation.

Hall says that it took her a long time to move past the guilty feelings that came when she thought of her sister, and that she was fortunate enough to have that tragedy lead her to a purpose with her ID channel show, "Deadline: Crime." She explained: "I've been given an opportunity to make a difference."

Guilt stemmed from an absuive incident that happened in her home

In 2014, the Shine a Light series of NBC's TODAY made it a point to raise awareness for various causes. When it came time for Tamron Hall to choose her cause, it was ending domestic violence. And it absolutely wasn't easy: When she started talking about her sister's death in conjunction with her Shine a Light initiative, the social media response was not unanimously supportive. She wrote of getting messages that said some pretty awful things, with some saying "that I should be ashamed of myself for discussing my sister's death."

And that, she said, made her mad, sad, and afraid — and determined to go through with it, still fighting the guilt of stepping aside before.

Hall wrote of an incident that happened in her Chicago home. Her sister was visiting with a companion, and Hall ran downstairs when she heard strange noises. The companion claimed that Renate had fallen, but Hall kicked out the companion. The next morning, she found that her sister had let the person back into her home, and Hall kicked them both out. She wrote that the incident left them not speaking to each other for months, and even years after Renate's murder, Hall says it's that incident that remains the source of the guilt she still feels.

Tamron Hall lost her father shortly after her sister's death

Renate, says People, was the daughter of Tamron Hall's stepfather, Clarence Newton Sr. For Father's Day in 2015, Hall looked back on the lessons she'd learned from the man who wasn't her biological father, but her true father in every other sense of the word. She credited him for her work ethic, her sense of order, and her respect for others, saying that it was his influence that ultimately made her a success on morning television (via TODAY).

It wasn't the first time she'd spoken about him: In 2013, she talked about him as a part of TODAY's Inspired By series, saying that he was always there for her, always her biggest supporter, and always the father she needed. She said then that she was with him during an illness and when he passed away, and it wasn't until the following year that she revealed (via TODAY) that he died not long after Renate was killed.

Hall said that her mother believed he had died of a broken heart.

The tragedy led her to the Purple Leash Project

Tamron Hall spoke with Yahoo! during 2020's National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and was open about the fact that it had taken her family a long time before they were able to talk about what had happened to her sister. "We hunkered down and embraced each other, but we did not know how to share her story," she said. Since starting to speak publicly about the tragedy in hopes of raising awareness of a shockingly widespread problem, Hall has started to shift her focus to another part of the problem: pets.

Renate, she shared, had a dog that she was completely and utterly devoted to. Her dog's name was Mini-Me, and Hall still remembers the moment when she had first wondered if a lack of pet-friendly resources for those fleeing situations of domestic violence had prevented her sister from leaving. "I wondered, 'Did she stay in the situation she was in because she didn't know where she would go or where she would take her dog?'"

Estimates suggest that around 48% of people who stay in abusive relationships decide to stay because they have no safe place to go where their pets could go with them — and rather than leave them alone with an abuser, they stay. Organizations are trying to change that: Hall has since partnered with Purina's Purple Leash Project, which is working to help provide a safe place for the pets of domestic abuse survivors.

Tamron Hall and her nephew have started working with a domestic violence charity

When Tamron Hall invited her nephew, Leroy Moore, on her Tamron Hall Show to speak about their family's tragic loss, they talked about how she had suggested working with an organization called Safe Horizon as a way to help themselves heal. She spoke about how incredibly proud she was of her nephew, who stepped up and embraced volunteering wholeheartedly, hoping to not just help heal their wounds but also reach out to others. "I had to," Moore said. "I was the same way, I didn't talk about my mom's death for a long time. I kind of just shoved it away for 10 years. Then, I woke up one morning and decided that I had to own it."

The organization they support has been around since 1978, and according to its history, it started as an experimental program within the New York City justice system. Originally founded to protect and support witnesses who were afraid to testify in court, their services and reach expanded over the decades: Now, they work with more than 250,000 people each and every year.

Hall says that her work is far from done: She explained in an interview with WTKR, "This affects so many people. Your neighbors. Your co-workers. This is not something that happens in another neighborhood or to someone else's family. It's in all of our families."