Back in 1984 when Komoka resident Hanna Buxbaum was dragged from her car on the 402 and shot to death, it horrified the entire region. I was working at London radio station CKSL at the time and can recall the shock and horror at such a terrible crime against one of the city’s pillar families.
When Hanna’s husband of 23 years, Helmuth, was charged and ultimately convicted of first degree murder for arranging the hit on his wife, mother of their six children, all of the illusions crumbled. Helmuth was a man of the church, after all. He was known for his generosity, faith and work ethic. What we didn’t know until the trial was that he had a penchant for hookers and cocaine and was sick of his devoted, stout little wife who was trying to steer him back to the straight and narrow.
An Australian film crew is here making a new documentary on the murder and the whole Buxbaum saga. I was just a wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears-and-other cliches broadcaster when the story broke and it may have been the first to crack my naive sense of a person’s facade. That a man would hire others to actually kill his own wife so that he could carry on with his debauchery – it’s still horrifying and the presence of the film crew now so many years later is testament to that.
Buxbaum died three years ago in prison. The nursing home he ran sits empty not very far from where we live, actually. I drove past it every time I went out to Delaware Speedway last summer and we’ve often mused about what a waste it is that the building sits idle when it might still have a purpose. It could even be renovated into hotel rooms serving the Delaware crowd. Its former life means it certainly has the infrastructure already in place but windows are broken and it’s been abandoned for so many years that one can only guess what it’s now like inside. And there are those who wouldn’t consider staying in such a hotel because of the man who once owned it so many years ago. People never forget.
The new show will air on Investigative Discovery Network which isn’t available in Canada, however producers say it will come out on DVD. I think I’d like to see it. They’re talking to one of the Buxbaum kids and it appears they’re being very thorough. It’s part of a series on millionaires who murder and sadly they’re finding plenty of material on this continent.