The family of Russell Armstrong, who appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, believes the troubled venture capitalist was murdered.
The official cause of Armstrong's Aug. 15 death was ruled as a suicide by hanging. The results of the toxicology tests, released on Wednesday, revealed that Armstrong was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of his death. The coroner's investigation found no indication of foul play.
While those close to Armstrong have said that he was distraught over his financial situation and the collapse of his marriage to Real Housewife Taylor Armstrong, those who knew him well do not believe that he would have taken his own life and left his 5-year old daughter, Kennedy, and two sons from a previous marriage behind.
From the minute that I got the call, I knew that it was not suicide, Armstrong's sister Laurie Kelsoe said in a Today interview Thursday. I don't know if it was something in the marriage, I don't know if it was his business, or the show...who knows?
Kelsoe is a recovering crystal meth addict, and her brother was instrumental in helping her get treatment.
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.
The family is planning to hire a private investigator to uncover what they believe to be the truth behind Russell's mysterious death.
Perhaps the investigation will take a second look at the death of Armstrong's friend Alan Schram, a hedgefund manager who was found dead of what was believed 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, according to a TMZ report.
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.
Maer Roshan of The Fix claims that Armstrong was interesting in investing in his Web site. The two met to discuss the potential parternship just two months before Russell's apparent suicide.
Roshan said Armstrong did not appear distraught or in a compromised mental health state. The reality star was candid about the difficulties that resulted from what he believed was his unfair villianization on The Real Housewives show.
I'm sure you think I'm a total douchebag, Roshan claims Armstrong said. You shouldn't believe everything you see on TV!
But Armstrong told Roshan that the publicity had been good for business.
The Los Angeles Police Department does not plan to re-open the investigation.