Police reviewing death of Tomisue Hilbert's mother

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating new information that could disprove the original finding of accidental death in the drowning of local businessman Stephen Hilbert’s mother-in-law.

Germaine “Suzy” Tomlinson, mother of Hilbert’s wife, Tomisue Hilbert, died on Sept. 28, 2008, at the age of 74. Stephen Hilbert initially feared foul play, but IMPD ruled the death an accidental bathtub drowning.

An IMPD detective, however, now is reviewing potential evidence that has come to light in a civil lawsuit filed after Tomlinson’s death, IMPD spokesman Paul Thompson said.  

The legal dispute arose over who can claim a $15 million life insurance policy issued on behalf of Tomlinson by Houston-based American General Life Insurance Co.

Tomisue Hilbert is working with a team of attorneys to determine whether her deceased mother’s estate can claim the benefit. The civil lawsuit is set for a jury trial in October.

Tomisue Hilbert said in an e-mail to IBJ that her family is cooperating with police in its renewed investigation.

“I am speaking for my entire family when I state we are very pleased that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has reopened its investigation into the circumstances of our mother’s tragic and sudden death,” she said.

Thompson at IMPD said the case technically hasn’t been reopened because detectives never closed it.

“We hate to classify a case as closed,” he said. “They’re always happy to review any new information.”

In the legal quarrel, American General is attempting to invalidate the policy it issued in January 2006 insuring the life of Tomlinson. The insurance company argues the policy was part of a stranger-originated life insurance, or STOLI, scheme.

A STOLI scheme involves outside investors who effectively wager on when an insured person will die. In a typical transaction, an investor entices someone, usually a senior citizen, to take out a multimillion-dollar life insurance policy. Investors purchase the policy and pay the premiums, making themselves the beneficiaries. In return, the insured person receives an upfront cut of the eventual death payout.

Under the arrangement, the sooner the insured person dies, the better the return for investors.

The initial defendants in the Tomlinson case were J.B. Carlson, owner of the locally based Carlson Media Group; Nevada insurance broker Geoffrey A. Vanderpal; and Delaware-based Wilmington Trust Co.

Carlson said Tomlinson served as vice chairwoman and a director of his company, which paid annual premiums of $387,274.85 on the policy. As trustee, Carlson said he’s entitled to the $15 million.

In court documents, Carlson has alleged Tomlinson began attending Carlson Media Group board meetings in November 2002, making the $15 million policy “Key Man” insurance.

The Wall Street Journal on April 12 published a story in its front page about the legal dispute and reported that Carlson was the last person to see Tomlinson alive.

An IBJ reporter working on a story originally alerted Hilbert and the Indiana Department of Insurance about American General’s lawsuit in January 2009. Hilbert wasn’t previously aware of the suit.

“When we learned there was a $15 million insurance policy, we had even greater concerns about the unusual circumstances surrounding our mother’s death,” Tomisue Hilbert said in her e-mail. “The information we have learned in the last few months shows there were strong financial incentives for those involved.”

Tomisue Hilbert previously has described Tomlinson as a healthy, active and vibrant woman with a busy and fulfilling life. Hilbert said she and her husband found her mother fully clothed, face down in a bathtub, with broken glass nearby, making the circumstances of her “sudden” death even more unusual.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office listed Tomlinson’s cause of death as asphyxia by drowning with acute ethanol intoxication as a contributing cause.

Tomisue Hilbert last summer became an intervenor defendant in the insurance tussle, arguing that American General should not invalidate the $15 million policy. Instead, Tomisue Hilbert argues its proceeds should go to Tomlinson’s five adult children.


  • idiots!!!
    JB and vanderpal have boxes and boxes of documents of old people who they will apply for the life insurace so they can make money...they even laugh at each other how stupid the insurance companies not to even investigate the fake properties that they made up...greed of money had turned this two to monsters...vanderpals father and mother had their insurances of their own, and vanderpal made money out of them...im surprised they are still alive...the love of man, nice homes, nice cars drove this people crazy ,they will do anything to get their money...don let them go anywhere...send this idiots to jail!!!
  • The Loonies Are Posting
    Well, it looks like this story is getting all the crazies to post. Yes, Suzy Tomlinson led an interesting life, and yes, she had a bit of a notorious reputation. However, none of that translates into either her son supposedly harming her or her weird death not being a homicide. Also, the person who keeps posting about about so-called "truthful" comments should realize that a conviction of battery is not proof that someone would commit murder, let alone of his own mother. In fact, a battery conviction of a defendant in a murder case might not even be ruled admissible unless you could demonstrate it was relevant to the specific case at issue. I am glad the police are looking carefully into this case, and hopefully, it will be resolved one way or another.
  • mycase.in.gov
    you don't type in www

    It's just mycase.in.gov
  • Mycase.in.gov
    www.MyCase.In.gov not a good link. " Not Found"
    • AIG Fraud
      I researched the AIG case with the $15 Million policy and if Ms. Tomlinson was a Board member and shareholder as claimed, there is no insurable interest issue. AIG's assertion that this is a Stranger Owned Life (STOLI) policy is incorrect. In fact this seems to be a pattern of AIG not paying claims, most likely due to their financial condition and unethical activities which are documented all over the internet. Various states and the SEC have fined and investigated AIG for various violations. AIG is not to be trusted and I would never buy one of their policies.
    • U crazy
      We r speaking the truth. Sorry if u have been fooled by the westside gypsies. Also, why are you assuming this is a homicide!! Suzy ver well could have drank too much, took a few too many rx's and tripped ..... It was a hoot growing Up near them. She would have sold her soul.just for someone to think she was wealthy. But, Laura, her daughter , was a nice girl. She did not belong in that family.
    • Who found her..
      By the way,Randy Ball claims to have found his mother dead... that's right... the same one that was convicted of BATTERY RESULTING IN BODILY INJURY.... Oh, my.
    • Carlson
      Knowing Carlson, he has got to be on pins and needles.... He used to or still maybe dating a sitting member of congress... When that is exposed a whole new story of the member of Congress's hypocrisy will EXPLODE!!! Oh this will be fun to watch...
    • Page Turner Article about Tomisue's Mother.
      This is from Indianapolis Monthly:
      Thereâ??s a story Jim Buck likes to tell about a former client, an Indianapolis businessman named Harold Tomlinson. By the early 1970s, Tomlinson had amassed a small fortune as the proprietor of several local concerns, including an airport, a mobile-home park, a carpet-and-linoleum shop, and a used-furniture store called Mama Richeyâ??s Wore House. A widower, Tomlinson had fallen in love with a young French-Algerian named Germaine, whose friends called her Suzy but whom Tomlinson, in his conversations with Buck, always referred to as a â??French whore.â?? Before long, Suzy was pregnant with their child and eventually gave birth to a baby girl.

      Wanting to provide a stable home life for his beloved, daughter, Tomlinson decided to marry Suzy. Also wanting to protect his own assets, and anticipating an eventual divorce, he asked Buck to draw up a prenuptial agreement. Buck argued against a prenup; in those days, Indiana courts disregarded the contracts in divorce cases because, essentially, lawmakers saw them as detrimental to marriage. But Tomlinson insisted on Buckâ??s drafting an agreement and on having his bride-to-be sign it.

      One night not long into the marriage, Tomlinson, who owned a saloon on the Westside, came home late. Drunk, he lay down on the couch so as not to disturb his sleeping wife. HE AWOKE WHEN SUZY BROKE A WOOD-COVERED BIBLE OVER HIS HEAD, THEN TOOK THE â??family .38â?? OUT TO THE DRIVEWAY AND EMPTIED IT'S CONTENTS INTO THE TIRES OF TOMLINSON'S CAR. STILL IN HER NIGHTGOWN, SHE GRABBED THE BABY AND LEFT, PUSHING THE STROLLER, GUN IN HAND, up Kessler Boulevard.

      Suffice it to say, the marriage was over. Buck, sure the prenum heâ??d drafted for Tomlinson would never hold up in court, set out to convince the presiding judge that it was valid. And in a stunning decision, the judge agreed. Tomlinson v. Tomlinson became a landmark case in Indiana matrimonial law-the first time ever that a judge recognized a premarital agreement in a divorce case. Though it would take the General Assembly 20 years to write prenumps into law, the Tomlinson decision effectively legitimized them thereafter. And Buck, who sometimes calls himself â??the father of the prenup,â?? estimates that he has tried more than 300 of them since. (Side note: The Tomlinson daughter, Tomisue, would later marry Conseco founder Stephen Hilbert, whose first wife Buck also represented. More on that later). Among other lawyers and potential clients, Tomlinson helped establish Buck as a daring and highly skilled advocate, placing him squarely on the A-list of Indianapolis divorce attorneys. He has since climbed to the top of that list, earning a reputation that has put him at the center of the highest-profile, highest-stakes Indianapolis divorces of the past 30 years.

      See for yourself:

    • Judgement calls
      Who made you perfect people wit h perfect families judges and jury? Regardless of a your self riteous opinions about a person's past or their family members' flaws, no one deserves to die for another person's financial gain. Shame on all of you for your mean spirited smirky comments about a woman's unnecessary death. What cold hearted comments to make. Your words are as shocking as the content of the story revealing such a scam. You should be hoping your mother or grandmother isn't being duped into a STOLI
    • Suzy's Health..
      Tomisue was quoted as saying, "Tomisue Hilbert previously has described Tomlinson as a healthy, active and vibrant woman with a busy and fulfilling life" Well, OK... go to mycase.in.gov--- Click on "Criminal & Citation Case Records" --- Search by "defendant" -- last name - type in "Tomlinson" first name - "Germaine" (Suzy's legal name) and you'll see just some of her DUI's, that she spent time in jail for DUI's, in one case: OPERATING A VEHICLE W/ACE OF .15 OR MORE / POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA, (so she was a pot head, drunk and a pill head at the age of 74?) and then of course there is the Welfare Fraud case.

      Tomisue also forgot to mention that her mother was seeing a doctor for alcoholism and prescription drug abuse.

      But wait, is it possible there is EVEN MORE? Read through the last case and you'll see that the judge ordered her to sell her car: "5)deft must sell or other wise transfer ownership and title of all motor vehicles in her possession and provide proof of change of title to probation within 60 days;"

      Germaine Tomlinson's driving record is even worse than what's reported on this site... I simply can't provide a link to in in this forum.
    • Watch the dust u stir up
      When the truth comes out Tomisue may regret her greed. There is so so much raunchy stuff on Tomisue. This family was always west side no good........
    • Truthful Comment
      Prime suspect number one must be Randy Ball: Tomisue's brother and Suzy's son. See for yourself go to mycase.in.gov
      Click on Criminal, Search by "defendant." Enter the last name of "Ball" first name of "Randy." You'll see he was convicted of BATTERY RESULTING IN BODILY INJURY after his mother died. He was also filing personal bankruptcy then,was deperate for cash, knew about the policy and has a hugh portion of the death benefit coming his way. But wait!! There is more!! Also search again at mycase.in.gov under "Dominique Ball" (Suzy's grandson that she was close to) and you'll discover that he has a case pending: 35-42-2-1.3(a)/MA: Domestic Battery..... Suzy's friends know that she got violent with Randy when she was drunk.

      I think that someone that has been convicted of BATTERY RESULTING IN BODILY INJURY and currently serving a sentence for it is capable of killing his mother...

      • Mama Ritchie's
        Mama Ritchie's Junk Store!!! I remember that place from when I was a kid! What a dump!!! LOL
      • What a gal
        Does anyone remember this lady's "junk" store on West Washington St (Mama Richie's Worehouse/spelling is accurate). She commuted arson there "at least" three times to collect insurance $$. Absolute truth. And, let's not forget the welfare fraud. IF this is true - does anyone believe in "what comes around goes around". Pretty twisted stuff happened in this lady's life and she created it.

        Post a comment to this story

        We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
        You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
        Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
        No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
        We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

        Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

        Sponsored by

        facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
        Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
        Subscribe to IBJ
        1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

        2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

        3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

        4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

        5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!