Viewers of Netflix’s Why Did You Kill Me? have been left divided over a mother who used a fake social media account run by her niece to find her daughter’s gang murderers – with some critics arguing it was far ‘too dangerous’ to get the teen involved.
Netflix‘s new true crime documentary ‘Why Did You Kill Me?‘ tells the story of how 24-year-old Crystal Theobald’s family used the power of social media to find the gang members who gunned her down in Riverside, California, in February 2006.
The victim’s mother Belinda Lane witnessed the murder and vowed in Crystal’s last breath to avenge her death. Keeping to her word, she enlisted her niece Jaimie, then 14, to make a fake profile for Crystal on the now-defunct MySpace platform in a bid to find answers and get justice for her daughter.
And those who tuned in to watch the tragic story unfold were quick to take to social media to express their opinions on a rather determined Belinda.
‘Not to be dramatic but Belinda is my absolute hero,’ wrote one, while a second instead argued: ‘Is it me, or is there something terribly wrong w/Belinda asking Jaime, a minor, to pretend to be Angel & Rebecca and use Crystal’s picture to lure GANG MEMBERS in?! I know y’all wanna solve the crime, but that ain’t the way. Too dangerous!’
‘Why did you kill me?’ viewers have praised Crystal Theobold’s mother Belinda (pictured) for the way she fought for answers as to why her daughter was killed – and for using social media to track down Crystal’s killer
Tragedy: In 2006, 24-year-old Crystal (pictured) was gunned down in Riverside, California, while driving with her mother Belinda Lane, brother Justin, and boyfriend
Taking to Twitter, one viewer penned: ‘Not to be dramatic but Belinda is my absolute hero’ (pictured)
Mother-of-two Crystal was in the car with Belinda, brother Justin, and boyfriend when their vehicle was sprayed with bullets – with Crystal being fatally shot in the head.
‘The last thing I got to say to her, I promised her that I was gonna get ’em. They’re gonna pay,’ Belinda recalled.
During the documentary, one of the investigators working on the case explained that law enforcement was looking for a ‘particularly violent gang.’
Belinda initiated a plan of secretly investigating suspects on social media after the family was tipped off that the perpetrators were on MySpace.
Fake profile: They named the persona they created ‘Angel,’ and Jaimie would pretend to be her on the platform
Taking to Twitter, one viewer branded Belinda ‘savage.’ Pictured, social media reaction
In the documentary, which premiered on April 14, Jaimie recalled: ‘Aunt Belinda came up with the idea of making Crystal a MySpace. I said, “I can get information for you.”‘
They named the persona they created ‘Angel,’ and Jaimie pretended to be her on the social media platform, enticing the men she was talking to into a false sense of security in a bid to withdraw any shred of information that may have helped.
‘I was obsessed with it. I knew how to make it look like this girl on MySpace is real,’ she admitted. ‘It looked like I belonged. My typing was acting.
‘Pretending to be her, I think that’s what made it difficult at the end. Making someone fall in love with someone who’s dead is not a good feeling inside.’
Jaimie continued: ‘I was just making ’em like me, making ’em trust me before I start being like, “What kind of car do you drive?”
The documentary goes on to explore how the line between justice and revenge became blurred for Crystal’s mother, who was determined – no matter what it took – for those responsible to pay for her daughter’s death.
Belinda (pictured) came up with the idea to secretly investigate suspects on social media after the family was tipped off that the perpetrators were on MySpace
Some viewers were less accepting of Belinda’s actions – and called her out on taking things too far (pictured)
‘I’d drive past their houses and go take pictures of the vehicles,’ Belinda explained, before later adding: ‘I wanted him to hurt like we were hurting.’
And speaking of Belinda when trying to bring Crystal’s murderers to justice, one person noted the mother was ‘just kind of psycho.’
Belinda even went so far as to admit that she wished to murder the men who killed her daughter – despite reassuring her family it would never come to that.
‘I told them, “Okay, everybody, no violence,”‘ Belinda said, ‘but in the back of my own mind, I still knew I was gonna kill ’em.’
Many fans took to Twitter to praise Belinda’s courage in trying to identify and bring her daughter’s killer to justice – while others expressed their delight that the former drug addict managed to turn her life around come the end of the documentary.
Sleuth: Jaimie (pictured) impersonated her murdered cousin Crystal Theobald on MySpace to help find the gang members who gunned her down
‘Belinda is a savage. Legit Mad Maxing,’ wrote one, while a second commented: ‘Watching #WhyDidYouKillMe on Netflix and Belinda — I love you.’
A third added: ‘Was NOT expecting that from Belinda at the end. Glad she turned it around and found herself,’ while a fourth penned: ‘Belinda!!! Catfishing on MySpace with a vengeance story,’ followed by a crown emoji.
A fifth commented: ‘Belinda is not to be f****ed with okaaayyy,’ while a further wrote: ‘Belinda in why did you kill me is such a bad a** lol she’s awesome.’
However, others were less accepting of Belinda’s actions – and called her out on taking things too far, particularly when it came to getting Jaime involved.
Caught: William Sotelo, the final suspect to be arrested in 2016, was one of the gang members Jaimie spoke to on MySpace
‘Belinda’s accountability list is getting longer and longer and longer as #WhyDidYouKillMe goes on. I understand she’s in so much pain but starting a gang war and putting other peoples lives in danger is INSANITY!’ wrote one, while a second commented: ‘Aunt Belinda is….the worst. She makes it very hard for me to feel bad for her.’
Belinda spent over a decade trying to hunt down Crystal’s killers, and eventually, through the fake MySpace profile she started with Jaimie, she was able to communicate with William Sotelo, who was involved in the shooting.
In 2006, detectives brought him in for a voluntary interview, where he offered up information that moved along the investigation.
However, police still didn’t have enough evidence to detain him at the time, and he vanished almost as quickly as he has appeared.
Belinda continued to seek information on Sotelo’s whereabouts on social media, and in 2014, she received a tip that said Sotelo was in Mexico.
She forwarded the information to detectives, who worked with the FBI and Mexican authorities to track him down.
Solito, who was the final suspect in the 2006 drive-by shooting, was arrested in Mexico in 2016. He and several others had been driving around in two vehicles, seeking to avenge a shooting from earlier that day.
Investigators said it was possible they mistook the car Crystal was in for one belonging to a rival gang. The man convicted of pulling the trigger, Julio Heredia, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2011. Ten other defendants pleaded guilty to an array of charges, from witness intimidation to attempted murder to gun and gang charges.
Focus: The documentary explores how the line between justice and revenge became blurred for Crystal’s mother, who would do anything to make her daughter’s killers pay