Netflix’s new hit true-crime documentary “Why Did You Kill Me?” was released on Apr. 14. The film discusses the cold-blooded murder of Crystal Theobald, as well as her family’s quest to solve the case and find her killer on their own. Theobald’s mother, Belinda Lane, is shown at the forefront of this quest, as well as Crystal’s cousin, Jamie McIntyre. We learn that Crystal was a victim of gang-violence in 2006, a time when the social media platform MySpace was at its peak. So, due to the lack of police intervention and push to solve Crystal’s case, Belinda and Jamie turn to MySpace in an attempt to catch the murderer.
Jamie decides to create a fake profile on MySpace and friend members of the local gang, 5150, that is suspected to have killed her cousin. However, after not getting much information from her “friends,” Belinda suggests that Jamie make an account for Crystal, and pretend to be her late cousin. Belinda said that she believed the gang members would gravitate to Crystal due to her “angel like image” and overall attractiveness. Jamie befriends one member of 5150, Michael “Jokes” Sotelo, and is able to identify him as being present the night of Crystal’s death. Notably, she discovers that the car Sotelo drives is the car that Crystal’s murderer exited before he shot her. Yet, the story begins to take a turn when we learn that Belinda, after getting this information from Sotela, planned to lure him out to a deserted area and murder him. We also learn that Belinda had a plan to contact another local gang, Casa Blanca, in an effort to start a war between them and 5150. Belinda didn’t go through with either of these plans, however, and allowed the police to intervene and figure out the truth.
We are told that Belinda handed over the identity of Sotelo, as well as the confession that he was driving the car that was present on the night of Crystal’s death, to the police. The police then took Sotelo in, and Sotelo was quick to identify Julio “Lil Huero” Heredia as the killer. We also learn that Heredia mistook the car that Crystal was shot in as a rival gang’s car, causing him to open fire into the vehicle. In 2011, Heredia was sentenced to life in prison.
While justice was served, there seem to be varying opinions on how it actually came about. Here are a few of them:
Opinion 1: Belinda and Jamie were necessary in Heredia’s arrest and sentencing, and did nothing wrong by catfishing Sotelo and other 5150 gang members.
Opinion 2: Belinda and Jamie were completely wrong in catfishing 5150 members, and should have let the police conduct the entire investigation from the start.
Opinion 3: The police should have aided Belinda and Jamie more in their investigation, becoming somewhat of a group that helps each other.
I agree with the idea that Belinda and Jamie were necessary in Heredia’s arrest and sentencing. Based on the information we are given regarding the police and detectives, it seemed imperative that Belinda and Jamie went off and did their own type of investigating. Regardless of these varying opinions, “Why Did You Kill Me?” provides an extremely interesting point of view on investigating a murder. The “do-it-ourselves” attitude that Belinda and Jamie adopt is one that seemingly solves their family member’s murder, and puts a dangerous man who had hurt many people before Crystal behind bars.
“Why Did You Kill Me?” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Audrey Shaev