The day after the controversial season two premiere of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills aired on Bravo, the family of Russell Armstrong is reportedly opening a murder investigation.
Despite a coroner's report that determined suicide by hanging to be Armstrong's cause of death, his family has hired a private investigator on suspicions the troubled businessman may have been murdered as a result of bad debt.
A source told TMZ that his family believes Armstrong may have gotten involved with the wrong people and that someone may have murdered him in retaliation for a desperate action he might have taken to rescue his finances.
Real Housewife star Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband was found hanging by electrical wire in a friend's Hollywood area home on Aug. 15, shortly after the second season completed filming and a month after Taylor filed for divorce.
Those who knew Armstrong said he was distraught over his financial situation and the failure of his marriage.
The family's sudden decision to open a murder investigation also will prompt a second look at the death of Russell Armstrong's friend Alan Schram, a hegde fund manager who was found dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a car parked on Mulhulland Drive outside the home where Armstrong's body was found just a day earlier, TMZ reported.
Both Armstrong and Schram were believed to be members of Tiger 21, a private group for high net-worth investors that claims on its Web site to manage $15 billion in assetts with only 185 members.
Armstrong's lawyer Ronald Richards told TMZ that his client's credit cards were not working at the time of his death, so it is unclear how he might have been able to maintain a membership in an elite investment club.
The second season premiere of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills aired on Bravo Monday night, with a special segment interviewing the castmembers about their reactions to Armstrong's suicide. No footage of Taylor Armstrong's husband appeared in the show, but couple's marriage difficulties were discussed. Taylor said she and Russell had been trying to work out their issues in therapy.