'Westworld' actor Louis Herthum continues to investigate his sisters' murders 50 years later with new evidence

Police have declared that the murders of his sisters Denise and Diane would not bear further investigating due to all leads being exhausted


                            'Westworld' actor Louis Herthum continues to investigate his sisters' murders 50 years later with new evidence
Louis Herthum as Peter Abernathy (HBO)

'Westworld' star Louis Herthum, who plays Peter Abernathy on the popular HBO show, is continuing the search for those responsible for the death of his sisters, 50 years after their tragic murder.

The case, known as the 'Tanglewood Murders', was put on hold last month, as the Miami Police cold case squad and the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office told Herthum that all leads had been exhausted. Louis Herthum, however, insists that he will continue working the case until all suspects involved are brought in to justice. 

Louis Herthum has been funding the investigation into the case himself — he has hired private investigators who have provided the bulk of the case's evidence, and handed it to the police.

Though the authorities claim that the case was the most extensive investigation in Miami's history, the case remained unsolved despite the sheer amount of evidence that was amassed; over 70 suspects and 200 witnesses, all combined. 

"'I'll never let it go," Herthum said in an interview with the Daily Mail. "It's not in my DNA to let anything go, especially something like this. My sisters were two extraordinary human beings, beautiful, sweet girls. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it's not something you ever get over."

The Tanglewood Murders so named for the apartment complex where the murder took place, happened somewhere between late October 16 and early October 17 in 1972, when Hurthum was just 17.

The apartment contained his sisters Denise (20) and Diane (18) Hurthum, in addition to Denise's boyfriend Jack Smith (31). They were murdered by three assailants in what is believed to have been a gangland shooting. 

Jack Smith was, according to Hurthum, a "shady" character with criminal connections. "Jack was a very shady guy," said Herthum. "Denise had moved to Miami to be a model and, somehow, she met Jack. She did bring him home to Baton Rouge one time to meet the family."

The condo where Jack and the Hurtham sisters had been staying - under an assumed name given by Jack — was under surveillance by Customs agents tracking drugs. The agents who were assigned to surveillance, however, left the scene early on October 16.

Their early disappearance from surveilling the house has still not been explained. The police who responded to the murder scene found that the 600 pounds of marijuana that had been inside the condo for a couple of days under surveillance were gone. 

"The feeling of sadness never leaves you, and it's all much worse because Miami Police have been unbelievably lackadaisical about it," said Herthum. "The cold case squad has never turned up a shred of new evidence. Anything new was brought to them by myself and my investigators."

"I believe I know the suspects' names, and from the best of our knowledge, only one is still alive," he added. "'With the first four cold case detectives, when one retired, another came on, and they were just not doing all they could to solve it."

"The original case file was loaded with the names of possible witnesses. But the detectives either never read the files, which is what I believe, or they simply did not care enough to follow up on a treasure trove of information."

Herthum himself had paid for private investigators once his acting career took off, and the information that they've uncovered has been essential to the development of the case. One of the lead investigators, Steve Rubino, has been working tirelessly on the case and continues to work on just that.

If you, or anyone you know, has information about the Tanglewood murders, contact Steve Rubino at [email protected]

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514