Belinda Lane is an American woman whose daughter, Crystal Theobald, became a victim of gang violence and died in 2006. To avenge her daughter’s death, Belinda created fake accounts on MySpace (a now-inoperative social media platform) to track down her daughter’s perpetrators.
Wiki/Biography & Family
Belinda Lane hails from California, United States. There is no information about her parents or spouse. She has a sister. Her daughter, Crystal Theobold, died in 2006 in gang violence. Her son’s name is Justin Theobald.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Green
Murder of Crystal
On February 24, 2006, Crystal was subjected to gang violence when she was traveling in her boyfriend’s car with her boyfriend (Juan Patlan) and her brother (Justin). When Crystal’s car arrived in the Riverside neighborhood of California, a gang in two SUVs began shooting at the car. Crystal received a bullet in her head, her boyfriend was shot in the midsection, and her brother passed by unharmed. Belinda’s car was behind Crystal’s, and she was forced to see her daughter getting fatally shot. None present in Crystal’s car had any connection with the gang. It was being speculated that Crystal’s car was attacked because the gang thought it to be of their rivals. Two days after the incident, Crystal died due to fatal injuries at Riverside Community Hospital, while her boyfriend survived after surgery. In Crystal’s final moments, Belinda vowed to bring justice to her daughter. 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.”
A Mother’s Fight for Justice
After Crystal’s funeral rites were over, Belinda began making plans to investigate her daughter’s murder after the authorities failed to do so. She got a tip that the perpetrators were using MySpace, and so, to hunt them, Belinda created fake accounts with the help of Jamie (Crystal’s cousin), who later posed as one of the persons from fake accounts named Angel. Soon, Belinda and Jamie began tracking the suspected 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.”
Simultaneously, Belinda inspected the houses of perpetrators and took pictures of their vehicles. Even though she told her family to be calm, Belinda admits that she wanted to kill Crystal’s murderers. 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.”
Over a decade, she helped the investigators in tracking down Crystal’s murderers. In 2006, she was able to connect with William Sotelo, one of the suspects at that time. In 2006, the investigators took his voluntary interview, but failed to detain him due to lack of evidence against him; he disappeared immediately after the interview.
In 2011, Julio Heredia, who shot the bullet that hit Crystal’s head, received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. Ten others charged in the case pleaded guilty to an array of charges including attempted murder and gun charges. Belinda’s search for Crystal’s last perpetrator, William Sotelo, continued via social media. In 2014, she received a tip regarding William that he was in Central Mexico. In 2016, William Sotelo was arrested in Central Mexico and charged with voluntary manslaughter, along with the gang and firearm allegations. To all of the allegations, he pleaded guilty. On January 23, 2020, William Sotelo was sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment.
- She confronted William Sotelo with a message after she momentarily gave up in June 2006. 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.”
- Her victim impact statement lasted over a quarter of an hour in which she called out the murderers of her daughter, terming them ‘coward,’ ‘monster,’ ‘punk,’ and ‘despicable.’ In her speech, she condemned Sotelo and said that his prison inmates should snuff him out of his life. Further, she criticized Sotelo’s family, saying that they helped a criminal hide. To this, the judge warned her that she should only address Sotelo or the judge.
- Her victim impact statement was presented as a tribute before a large portrait of her late daughter, held up by Riverside County District Attorney’s Victims Services team.
- In April 2021, a documentary film ‘Why Did You Kill Me?’ was released on Netflix. The series was based on the story of Crystal‘s murder and Belinda’s fight 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.”