The most shocking moments from Netflix's hit new true-crime documentary, Why Did You Kill Me?
The hit new Netflix documentary Why Did You Kill Me? explores Crystal Theobald's tragic death and the extraordinary efforts her family made to ensure those involved in the 24-year-old's murder were held accountable.
Gang-related deaths in Riverside, Calif., are all too common, but what stood out from Theobald's case is how her mother, Belinda Lane, sought information about her killer through MySpace. Thanks to Lane's non-police sanctioned investigation, she found justice for her daughter, who left two young children behind.
Here are the documentary's most shocking moments.
Eight members of the local gang known as 5150 were on the prowl on Feb. 24, 2006, searching for a white SUV with members of rival gang MD-17, who allegedly shot at them earlier that day. Theobald, her boyfriend Juan Patlan, and her brother Justin Theobald were inside Justin's white SUV when they were ambushed by the 5150 members around 8:40 p.m. She succumbed to her injuries two days later.
Catfishing a killer
In response to Theobald's murder, her cousin Jaimie McIntyre (14 at the time) launched a MySpace profile using photos of Theobald and a fake name in hopes of befriending anyone who could help unravel the events of that fateful night. Through her attempts, she connected with William "Joker" Sotelo, a known 5150 member who later revealed himself as the owner of a white Ford Escalade.
Lane shared the intel with local law enforcement who brought in Sotelo for questioning. He admitted to owning and driving the vehicle that shot up Theobald's vehicle on the night in question. He also gave officers the name of gangmate Julio "Lil Huero" Heredia, the 17-year-old who, it is later revealed, accidentally killed Theobald after shooting at her car, which he mistook for that of a rival gang member.
McIntyre struggled with having to impersonate her beloved cousin on social media and eventually handed the passwords along to Lane who pushed the unsanctioned investigation forward. "Making someone fall in love with someone who is dead is not a good feeling inside," McIntyre shared in the documentary through tears.
A mother's struggle
Lane was battling demons of her own before her daughter's untimely death, which she was able to beat in the wake of the tragedy. She revealed she was a regular meth user and also sold the drug, which Theobald asked her repeatedly to give up.
Investigating the murder gave Lane a renewed sense of purpose, eventually taking over the MySpace account from McIntyre. When information stalled, she became depressed and frustrated, which led her to be more inquisitive with the gang members on social media. Armed with new information, she hit the road documenting whatever she could, including photos of cars and their license plates.
She became obsessed with the case, which took her down a dark and dangerous path. Through the social media platform, Lane sought revenge against the 5150 by contacting a third gang, known as Casa Blanca, intending to start a war between the two gangs. Police asked Lane to stop instigating after a number of white SUVs were shot up or set on fire in the area.
In a final ditch effort at revenge, Lane sent around a fake invitation for an end of the world party leading to an uninhabited road so she could kill them herself.
"Oh, I was going to shoot them," Lane confessed in the documentary. "They were mine. I was going to shoot them myself. I had a plan and I had a gun."
Her surviving sons did not allow her to follow through with her plans. Shortly thereafter, she ended contact with Sotelo and she ended her investigation.
After Lane revealed to Sotelo the woman in the MySpace photo was deceased and her suspicions he played a role, he went into hiding. Law enforcement worked other angles for answers including interviews with 5150 members, brothers Manuel and William Lemus, whose testimony helped convict Heredia of the murder. Neither was ever criminally charged in exchange for their cooperation.
Where are they now?
Heredia was convicted in 2011 of seven criminal offenses, including the first-degree murder of Theobald, attempted murder of her brother Justin, and her boyfriend, among other charges. On the murder count, Heredia was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, plus 25 years to life for death by firearm. His life was spared thanks to Lane.
He is currently serving his sentence at the California State Prison in Sacramento.
Sotelo was captured a decade after he went into hiding after Lane received an anonymous tip about his whereabouts in Mexico where he was living with his wife and four children. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in early 2020 and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
The now 33-year-old is incarcerated at the Centinela State Prison and will be eligible for parole in May 2030.