New Netflix true-crime documentary: Why did you kill me?

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Julia Salas, Freshman

When 24-year old Crystal Theobald was unexpectedly murdered on the night of February 24th, 2006 in Riverside, California, local police and Crystal’s family opened an investigation to find the murderer. This case sparked the purpose for Netflix’s latest true crime documentary, Why Did You Kill Me?, which came out on Wednesday, April 14th. This article contains spoilers so read with caution.

On the night of Crystal’s death, a white Ford Escalade was seen crowded with passengers. However, that was the only lead the investigative team had along with a sketch produced from Crystal’s mother’s description.

Crystal’s mother, Belinda Lane, with her cousin, Jaimie Mclntyre, went ahead and took matters into their own hands by using the social media app MySpace to continue the investigation. They made a fake profile posing as a young woman to lure guys from a local gang called 5150. They spent a couple of weeks on the plan but never got anything interesting. Belinda, being furious, planned on inviting a bunch of guys from MySpace to a location and shoot them from a hidden spot. “Oh, I was gonna shoot them,” Lane confessed in the documentary. “They were mine. I was going to shoot them myself. I had a gun plan and I had a gun.”

Belinda and Jaimie then decided to make another profile using Crystal’s picture, with the name Angel. This surprisingly did get more attention, which helped them talk to guys and slowly get information from them. “Crystal was someone who was easy to fall in love with.” said Jamie. So she channeled Crystal’s personality into the MySpace profile as best she could. Using this phony profile, Jamie became friends with William Sotelo, a 5150 gang member who looked like someone Belinda vividly remembered. They catfished him for a while, which ultimately led to them discovering that he drives a white Ford Escalade.

The two women immediately called the police and informed them that they believed they had caught the murderer. Sotelo was brought in for questioning and denied everything until he got worn down. He admitted to owning and driving the truck spotted on the night of Crystal’s death and mentioned every person who was there at the time. Sotelo later revealed that 5150 gang member Julio Heredia was the person who shot up the car Theobald was in. 

After being released as promised, William went into hiding for a decade, later found in Mexico after Lane received an anonymous tip about his whereabouts. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in early 2020 and was sentenced to 22 years in prison at Centinela State Prison.

Julio Heredia was being looked for after not being seen by anyone since the night of Crystal’s death. Once Heredia was found, he was brought in for questioning. He was later convicted in 2011 and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He is currently serving his sentence at the California State Prison in Sacramento.