A Riverside murder solved with the help of a woman who set up fake MySpace accounts in order to track down those involved in her daughter’s slaying is now the focus of a new Netflix documentary.
“Why Did You Kill Me?” tells the story of Belinda Lane and her successful quest to find those behind a gang-related firefight that took the life of her daughter, 24-year-old Crystal Theobald, in 2006.
In February 2006, an SUV filled with gang members pulled up next to a car Theobald was riding in in Riverside’s Arlanza neighborhood. Gunshots were fired, and Theobald was struck in the head and killed.
The occupants of the SUV were believed to be retaliating for rival gang members shooting at them earlier in the day. But police believe they mistook the vehicle they shot at for another car, since neither Theobald nor anyone else she was traveling in were in gangs.
Lane, Theobald’s mother, took matters into her own hands, spending a decade seeking suspects in the deadly shooting through social media.
During a 2016 interview with the Riverside Press Enterprise, Lane described how she used fake MySpace pages to communicate with William Sotelo, the driver of the SUV, and to get him to admit that he knew enough about the killing for police to interview him.
There wasn’t enough evidence at the time for police to arrest Sotelo, however, and he disappeared for nearly a decade. Then, in 2014, Lane received a tip that Sotelo was in Mexico, information she forwarded to detectives who, with the help of the FBI and Mexican authorities, arrested and extradited Sotelo.
Julio Heredia, the gunman in the shooting, already had been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Ten others tied to the shooting also had plead guilty over the years to a variety of criminal charges, receiving sentences ranging from probation to 18 years in prison.
“Why Did You Kill Me?” is available for streaming to Netflix subscribers.
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Author: Sean Emery
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