A woman who used MySpace to track down her cousin’s killer has revealed how she impersonated her dead relative and made potential suspects ‘fall in love’ with her before grilling them for information.
Netflix‘s new true crime documentary ‘Why Did You Kill Me?‘ details how 24-year-old Crystal Theobald’s family used 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 final moments to avenge her death. She enlisted her niece Jaimie to make a fake profile for Crystal on the now-defunct MySpace platform to investigate the crime.
‘Aunt Belinda came up with the idea of making Crystal a MySpace,’ Jaimie recalled in the trailer for the film, which premieres on April 14. ‘I said, “I can get information for you.”‘
Sleuth: Jaimie (pictured) impersonated her murdered cousin Crystal Theobald on MySpace to help find the gang members who gunned her down
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
They named the persona they created ‘Angel,’ and Jaimie would pretend to be her on the platform, lulling the guys she was talking to into a false sense of security.
‘I was obsessed with it. I knew how to make it look like this girl on MySpace is real,’ she explained. ‘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.’
Crystal, a mother of two, was in the car with her mother, brother Justin, and boyfriend when their vehicle was sprayed with bullets. Crystal was 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.
Plan: Belinda (pictured with Crystal) came up with the idea to secretly investigate 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
In the trailer, one of the investigators on the case explained that law enforcement was looking for a ‘particularly violent gang.’
Belinda came up with the idea to secretly investigate suspects on social media after the family was tipped off that the perpetrators were on MySpace.
‘I was just making ’em like me, making ’em trust me before I start being like, “What kind of car do you drive?”‘ Jaimie said.
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.
‘I’d drive past their houses and go take pictures of the vehicles,’ Belinda said, later adding: ‘I wanted him to hurt like we were hurting.’
Hard to handle: ‘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 said
Goal: The grieving mother spent a decade trying to find Crystal’s killers, and through the fake MySpace profile she started with Jaimie
One person in the trailer noted that Belinda was ‘just kind of psycho’ while trying to bring Crystal’s murderers to justice.
Caught: William Sotelo, the final suspect to be arrested in 2016, was one of the gang members Jaimie spoke to on MySpace
Belinda admitted that she wanted to murder the men who took her daughter’s life, even though she insisted to her family that things shouldn’t get physical.
‘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.’
The grieving mother spent a decade trying to find Crystal’s killers, and through the fake MySpace profile she started with Jaimie, she was able to communicate with William Sotelo, who involved in the shooting.
Detectives brought him in for a voluntary interview in 2006. Sotelo provided information that moved along the investigation, but police didn’t have enough evidence to detain him at the time, and he disappeared almost immediately.
Determined: Belinda spent 10 years trying to hunt down her daughter’s killers
Confession: ‘I wanted him to hurt like we were hurting,’ Belinda said
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
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.