“Why Did You Kill Me?”: Netflix’s new documentary that tells a tragic story
A mother used MySpace to find her daughter’s killer. In the end, he got the justice he was looking for.
Crystal Theobald was 24 years old.
It all happened on the tragic day of February 24, 2006. Crystal Theobald, 24, a mother of two, was sitting in the car with her boyfriend and brother driving through the suburbs of Los Angeles, where they lived in Riverside.
They stopped at a corner when suddenly a young man appeared, took out a pistol and shot into the car. Crystal was hit in the back of the head, taken to the hospital, and died shortly afterwards.
The friend was also hit but was able to survive after an operation. And the brother managed to escape the bullets. Belinda Lane drove in her own car but was very close to her daughter Crystal’s. So he could follow the entire horror scene.
Which seemed clear, and it turned out that the killer – who was with other young people – was part of a well-known local gang called the 5150. They mistook the car he was following Crystal Theobald for a vehicle belonging to a rival gang, and The Killer opened fire.
This story is told in the new Netflix documentary “Why Did You Kill Me?”, Which debuted on the streaming platform on Wednesday April 14th. It’s less than an hour and a half long.
Unlike so many other documentaries in the genre that focus on true crime stories, this case lacks a bizarre mystery. More interestingly, Belinda Lane, the victim’s mother, opened her own online investigation into the death of her daughter.
Belinda is one of the central characters in the story.
In the documentary, family and friends describe Crystal Theobald as an exemplary person. After his death, the police had some difficulty locating the suspect. At the same time, the Theobald family (like so many in this troubled Los Angeles neighborhood) did not trust the authorities much.
Her children had some legal issues over minor violations, and Belinda had become addicted to methamphetamine after starting the drug in order to have the energy to have two jobs while looking after five children on her own.
Belinda Lane was certain – it was later proven – that the killer was part of the 5150 gang. He tried to identify a suspect with the police, but he was the wrong person. The authorities did not move the case forward.
It was then that Jaimie, Crystal’s youngest cousin, came up with the idea of creating a fake MySpace account to impersonate an attractive young woman. He began interacting with gang members on the social network to see if he could access evidence that would lead the family to discover the perpetrator’s identity.
She exchanged seductive messages with the men, but couldn’t get much information. So he decided to create another account with the photo of Crystal under the name Angel. Jaimie even tried to use Crystal’s personality on the news as she said her cousin was someone who was easy to fall in love with.
He managed to go further with this second report, but he began to find it very troubling and gave up the mission. But first he gave Belinda, Crystal’s mother, the password. Belinda, who had told the family not to interfere and allow the police investigation, used Angel’s account to speak to the gang members much more directly. Hence the title of the documentary: “Why did you kill me?”
Fredrick Munk’s production ultimately focuses more on the character of Belinda Lane, dealing directly with his mistakes, but showing that the greatest tragedy of his life completely changed her.
Like “American Murder: The Family Next Door,” also from Netflix, or “I Love You, Now Die Now” from HBO, this documentary is mostly via text messaging, in this case MySpace. At the same time, there are also interviews with family members and even with former members of the 5150 gang, which shows how many of these people came from terrible family contexts and found an organization there to protect them in some way. The documentary is not tempted to demonize these criminals, and it also tries to put them in context.
Although it’s a sad story, “Why did you kill me?” It shows how the family’s mission, and that of Belinda in particular, has yielded results as it actively contributed to the culprit’s eventual arrest by the police.
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