Although Russell Armstrong's death was ruled a suicide by hanging, his family believes the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was murdered.
"We want a murder investigation. We will do whatever is necessary to proceed," Armstrong's mother, John Ann Hotchkiss, tells Us Weekly. "The general consensus of everyone we know who loved and knew Russell [is that] he was murdered and there was a set-up."
Real Housewives premiere confronts Russell Armstrong's suicide head on
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office has already ruled out foul play in Armstrong's Aug. 15 death. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system either. He also did not leave behind a note.
Hotchkiss admits her son was "feeling a little overwhelmed" with his financial issues, but she does not believe he would kill himself. "Russell was personable and warm and had a giving heart more than anyone I have ever known," she says. "He cared about people, and loved his children almost to a fault. Knowing him as a person and how he valued life, I don't think he would do this."
While Hotchkiss blames the Bravo series for the collapse of Russell and Taylor's marriage, she says that "no one is accusing Bravo." "We think someone conspired to have him murdered and it is open as to who did it," she says.
Lawyer: Russell Armstrong to be cremated, ashes to be divided
As for the show's Season 2 premiere on Monday, Hotchkiss says it was a "total slap in the face" to her son and hopes that he won't be mentioned in future episodes, which Bravo is still re-editing.
"I don't want his name mentioned. I don't care how it affects the show," she says.