By Douglas J. Hagmann
I understand what the family of Seth Rich is feeling better than most, as I too lost a close family member to a homicide that went unsolved for five years. Near the five-year anniversary of my uncle’s murder, my family hired a private investigator; it was me. More accurately, it was my PI firm led by me and my partner. Six months later, an arrest was made. The perpetrator was convicted in a jury trial, and is now spending the remainder of his life in prison.
I lived with the pain of my family. I saw it up close, especially with every news update that we gave. I watched my father hold back tears as we discussed the case in private. I saw and at times, was the recipient of his anger and angst, and from other family members as well, as the private life of my uncle was laid bare by the media. Accordingly, I feel I can write with some authority about the unsolved murder of Seth Rich and the publicity surrounding it.
A decade later and as my father lay dying of cancer, less than a week before his death, I was sitting next to him in the quiet of his home. It was one of those father-son moments for which Hallmark makes no cards. It was sheer reality, in all of its brutality. It was a time when true feelings can no longer be hidden, when every second is more precious than the last. My father was more lucid than I had seen him in a while when he spoke to me about his brother, my uncle, who had been savagely murdered, and my role in solving the case.
“I never really said thank you,” he said just above a whisper.
“For what?” I asked. A tear formed in his eye as he pointed to a picture of my uncle.
“For helping the family. For the work you did. It was a horrible time, but it brought the family closer. Thank you for that,” he said as he drifted back into a morphine-induced sleep.
That was one of the last coherent conversations I had with my dad. He died 4 days later.
I feel for the family of Seth Rich. It brings back painful memories. However, the resolution of this case is critical not just for the sake of justice, but for the nation.
Without an honest investigation and arrest, Seth Rich will have no justice, the family no peace, and the nation no answers. I understand the pain. I also understand the stakes.