Netflix documentary Why Did You Kill Me? chronicles how Belinda Lane got justice for her daughter (Image: NETFLIX)
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A dramatic new crime documentary is out now on Netflix – Why Did You Kill Me? tells the story of Belinda Lane – a mother who will stop at nothing to find her daughter’s killer.
And it’s all completely true.
Why Did You Kill Me? Follows the death of Crystal Theobald, a 24-year-old mother of two who was tragically shot and killed in 2006.
Following the brutal attack, Belinda Lane promised to find her daughter’s killer.
“The last thing I got to say to her – I promised her that I was gonna get 'em,” says Lane. “They're gonna pay.”
And Why Did You Kill Me? shows us her decade-long search for justice.
Who was Crystal Theobald?
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Crystal Theobald was a 24-year-old mother of two who was tragically killed in a brutal attack on the evening of February 24, 2006.
Theobald, along with her brother, was a passenger in her boyfriend’s Honda as they drove through Riverside, California – just outside Los Angeles.
Her mother, Belinda Lane, followed behind in another car.
At an intersection, gang members were waiting in a Ford Expedition and were looking for members of another rival gang. Tragically, it looks as though they mistook the car Crystal was travelling in as belonging to their rivals and opened fire on the Honda.
Despite having no connections to any of the gangs, Crystal and her family found themselves in the middle of a gang-related attack.
What happened in the attack?
Belinda was determined to find her daughter's killers
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Soon enough, Crystal’s car approached the intersection – along with the gang.
As they drew closer, a gang member jumped out of the Ford Expedition and opened fire on Crystal and her family.
Crystal’s boyfriend was shot in the stomach during the brutal attack but survived.
Unfortunately, Crystal was shot in the head and later died from her injuries.
Tragically, her mother witnessed the entire thing unfold from her car. And before Crystal died, her mother promised her that she would find her killers.
Why was Crystal Theobald killed?
Even to this day, it remains unclear why Crystal and her family were attacked.
It’s believed that it may have been a case of mistaken identity – that the gang in question were on the lookout for rival gang members and Crystal was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Others suspect it was simply a cold-blooded and senseless act of violence.
One thing is for certain – Crystal and her family were innocent bystanders.
Neither Crystal, nor any member of her family had ties to the gang or their rivals.
What happened after Crystal’s death?
Crystal’s mother Belinda was determined to live up to her promise.
Over the decade that followed, she embarked on a one-woman mission to find each and every gang member who was responsible for her daughter’s death.
This led to over a dozen arrests with convictions ranging from witness intimidation to attempted murder.
And Belinda even used the social media network MySpace to track them down.
“Aunt Belinda came up with the idea of making Crystal a Myspace,” says Crystal’s cousin Jaimie. “I said, ‘I can get information for you.’”
Befriending gang members online to find her daughter’s killers, Belinda began a terrifying hunt that led to her taking photographs of their cars and attempting to identify suspects.
Who killed Crystal Theobald?
Belinda's investigation eventually led to the killers bring captured
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Her mother’s investigation eventually led to her killer – Julio Heredia.
He was eventually named as the man who pulled the trigger but finding him wasn’t easy. A member of a notoriously violent gang, Heredia was tough to get to. After all, gang members would be killed outright for being a snitch.
In 2011 Mr Heredia was convicted of Crystal’s murder and sentenced to life behind bars.
But there was still more to be done.
Tracking down every gang member responsible for her death, Belinda was instrumental in bringing the final suspect to justice. William ‘Jokes’ Sotelo was arrested in Mexico in 2016 where he had fled following the attack.
Sotelo was the man behind the wheel of the gang’s car.
And it was Belinda’s efforts to find his vehicle that ultimately brought him to justice.
“I was just making them like me,” said Jaimie. “I was making them trust me before I start being like, ‘What kind of car do you drive?’”
Using MySpace to connect with her daughter’s killers, Belinda took ten years to hunt them all down.
Why Did You Kill Me? is available to stream on Netflix from April 14