I Am Homicide is back with its second season, and the Investigation Discovery hit is earning strong reviews and ratings alike. However, keen-eyed fans of Detective Garry McFadden have noticed one particular omission among the just-announced descriptions of the second season’s expanded offerings: unlike early seasons of Homicide Hunter or the debut of Murder Chose Me, the case Detective McFadden calls his “worst ever” has yet to be depicted for the show.
Though he “still hates talking about the case,” Garry has opened up about it before. It was among the last he worked as a Charlotte homicide detective, and involved a 23-month-old boy named Elijah Burger. (Articles about the toddler’s murder spell his name both with one “l” and with two.) In November of 2008, Elijah’s father, Andre Hampton, beat the boy to death for refusing to eat his soup.
According to a Charlotte Observer article from that time, Elijah “was pronounced dead of blunt force trauma,” including “lashes across his body,” at the hospital. His family had been living in a motel for around two months. As Detective McFadden would say, there were too many lashes to count: “If I added up all the injuries on the other children [I’d seen],” he later testified, “I wouldn’t have as many as were on Ellijah.”
And the unusual scene at the hospital reflected the gruesome trauma. “You get there,” McFadden told the Observer in 2016, “and the medics are crying and the nurses are crying and the doctor is hysterical.”
In the 2016 Detective podcast episode dedicated to Elijah’s murder–and to the positive force that Detective McFadden tries to be in the lives of young people affected by homicide–Garry further explained that he couldn’t find the words to describe the injuries to his partner when the two spoke on the telephone.
Andre Hampton would later be sentenced to life in prison for murdering his son. Judge Forest Bridges, who presided over Hampton’s case, would commend the jury, saying they had rendered “outstanding service” and noting that they had been “tortured by having to decide” Hampton’s fate.
As for Garry, he found further resolve for his already legendary community outreach. As he explained in the Detective podcast, he sees it as his mission to be a positive male role model in the lives of children–and particularly of boys and young men–who don’t otherwise have a male figure to look up to.
I Am Homicide Season 2 continues Tuesday nights at 10 on Investigation Discovery.
(Photo credits: I Am Homicide show via Investigation Discovery)