Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trophy Wife and the Tennis Pro

Strange Coincidence

Debra Hartmann
Debra Hartmann

CHICAGO June 9, 1982

Eva Hartmann, the 14-year-old daughter of the man everyone called "the stereo king of Chicago," found her father's bullet-riddled body lying on the floor of his upstairs bedroom. With Eva was her stepmother, Debra Hartmann, who that very night had been scheduled to negotiate the final details of her divorce from Eva's millionaire father, Werner Hartmann.

But instead of meeting with her estranged husband, Debra had surprised Eva and her mother, Werner's first wife, with a night on the town. The three of them had dined and then danced until the wee hours of the morning at a string of Chicagoland restaurants and discos.

Debra had not gotten Eva home until 4:30 that morning. When they pulled up to the house in the affluent suburb of Northbrook, Eva first noticed that her father's prized Rolls Royce was parked in the driveway, not in the garage where he normally kept it. Eva knew she was going to be in big trouble with her dad for coming home so late.

"We walked into the house, and I was trying to be quiet," Eva said. Classical music was playing from the stereo system, but there was no sign of her father. "You just got an eerie feeling when you walked into the house, and you knew something wasn't right."

Eva and her stepmother climbed the stairs. Debra saw Werner first. She then grabbed Eva and pulled her into the master bedroom and showed the 14-year-old her father's body.

Eva was horrified. She screamed and asked Debra to call for help. Eva wanted to stay with her father, but Debra insisted they leave. Debra didn't want to pick up the phone and await help. She wanted instead to drive to the police station. So she piled her stepdaughter into her car and drove to the Northbrook Police Department a mile away.

At the police station, Debra reported that her husband had committed suicide. The police ordered Debra and Eva to remain at the station while they dispatched officers to the house.


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