Who Killed Teresa Halbach?

by Kaitlin Reilly

One of the most disturbing murder cases to be documented by a true crime series is also the most puzzling. Netflix's Making A Murderer examines the 2005 murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach and, though the series does show that two people were convicted of the crime, it also calls their guilt into question. Steven Avery, one of the men convicted of Halbach's murder, is currently serving a life sentence, and previously spent 18 years in jail for a rape that he did not commit. He was exonerated for the crime only two years prior to being charged for Halbach's murder.

Making A Murderer examines the possibility that Avery was framed for Halbach's murder by the Manitowoc County sheriff's department in Wisconsin and how his alleged accomplice, his then 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey, was allegedly coerced into confessing for a crime he knew nothing about. (The sheriff's department denied this claim during Dassey's trial and has repeatedly denied it thereafter.) If viewers of this docuseries believe that both Avery and Dassey are completely innocent of this crime, that brings an even bigger question to light: who really killed Halbach?

The docuseries primarily focuses on the alleged flaws in the investigation into Avery and Dassey, rather than on alternate theories for who may have killed Halbach. Making A Murderer never names a person in Halbach's life that posed a threat to her, or even cites any known violent offenders who may have had the opportunity to harm her. However, we did learn from a witness in the Avery case that someone was allegedly calling Halbach and bothering her in the weeks up to her death, and that voicemails received by Halbach may have been deleted off of her phone. Though this angle was never explored in length, it does provide a theory that diverts from Avery and Dassey's involvement.

Though the docuseries doesn't suggest a suspect, that hasn't stopped Making A Murderer viewers from exploring their own theories on the Internet. The Making A Murderer subreddit is full of people dissecting the information presented in the program in order to come up with their own suspects and alternative theories to what happened to Halbach.

Unfortunately, if Avery and Dassey are innocent, as many of those people believe, it will be hard to prove: Dassey and Avery's multiple attempts to appeal for a new trial have been denied. Ultimately, viewers have to decide for themselves whether they believe justice has truly been served — or if Halbach's murderer could still be out there.

Image: Netflix