Belinda Lane is an American woman who became famous for tracking down her daughter, Crystal Theobald‘s, killers via fake accounts on MySpace, a now-defunct social media platform.
Wiki/Biography & Family
Belinda Lane was born in the US. Not much is known about her parents. She has a sister. There is no information about her husband or relationship. She has a son named Justin Theobald. She also had a daughter named Crystal Theobold, who died in 2006 in gang violence.
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Brown
Murder of Crystal
On February 24, 2006, Crystal was traveling, along with Juan Patlan (Crystal’s boyfriend) and Justin (Crystal’s brother) in her boyfriend’s car. Belinda was also traveling but in a different car. When their cars passed by a gang in two SUVs in the Riverside neighborhood of California, the gang began spraying bullets at the car in which Crystal was seated. Belinda, who was present at the scene, saw her daughter getting gunned down; Crystal was shot in the head, Juan received a bullet in his midsection, and Justin passed by unharmed. None present in Crystal’s car was acquainted with the gang. It is believed that the incident occurred because the gang mistook Crystal’s car for their rival’s car. Juan survived after the surgery, but Crystal lost her life two days later at Riverside Community Hospital. In Crystal’s final moments, her mother pledged to avenge her death. In a documentary, she can be seen recalling,
The last thing I got to say to her, I promised her that I was gonna get ’em. They’re gonna pay.”
Fight of a Mother
After the funeral rites were over, Belinda made a plan to create fake accounts on MySpace to investigate Crystal‘s murder after someone tipped them that the gang was on MySpace. She employed Crystal’s cousin Jamie, who later impersonated Angel (a name they chose for one of the fake accounts). Belinda and Jamie soon began tracking the potential murderers one by one. Talking about it in a documentary, Jamie said,
I was obsessed with it. I knew how to make it look like this girl on MySpace is real. 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.”
At the same time, Belinda also used to drive past the houses of suspected people and take pictures of their vehicles. Belinda has admitted that she wanted to kill Crystal’s murderers even though she insisted on her family to remain non-violent. She said,
I told them, “Okay, everybody, no violence, but in the back of my own mind, I still knew I was gonna kill ’em.”
It took her almost a decade to find Crystal’s murderers. In 2006, she was able to connect with William Sotelo who was one of the suspects at that time. In 2006, William gave his voluntary interview to the police, but due to lack of evidence, William was not detained and he almost disappeared immediately.
In 2011, Julio Heredia, who shot the bullet that killed Crystal, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Ten other defendants pleaded guilty to an array of charges including attempted murder and gun charges. Belinda continued to track him (William Sotelo) down via social media until she received a tip in 2014 that William was in Central Mexico. In 2016, William Sotelo, the last person involved in Crystal’s murder, was arrested in Central Mexico and charged with voluntary manslaughter, along with the gang and firearm allegations; he pleaded guilty to all the allegations. On January 23, 2020, William Sotelo received 22 years of a prison sentence for his role in Crystal’s murder.
- In her victim impact statement that lasted over a quarter of an hour, she dubbed the murderers of her daughter ‘coward,’ ‘monster,’ ‘punk,’ and ‘despicable.’ In her speech, she told Sotelo that his prison inmates should snuff his life out and went out to further criticize his family of helping a murderer hide.
- Belinda’s speech was read in front of a large portrait of her late daughter, held up by Riverside County District Attorney’s Victims Services team, as a part of the tribute.
- In June 2006, Belinda almost gave up momentarily and confronted William Sotelo with a message. She wrote,
Why did you … murder me? If you claim you care about me so much, then why did you kill me? You don’t even know who you killed.”
- In April 2021, Netflix released a documentary film titled ‘Why Did You Kill Me?’ based on the story of Crystal‘s murder and Belinda’s journey to get justice for her daughter. The synopsis of the films reads,
The line between justice and revenge blurs when a devastated family uses social media to track down the people who killed 24-year-old Crystal Theobald.”