Crystal Theobald was an American woman who lost her life in gang violence in February 2006. Her murder garnered media attention after her mother avenged her death by tracking her murderers using social media platforms.
Crystal Theobald was born in 1982 (age 24 years at the time of death) in California.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Family & Ethnicity
Parents & Siblings
Her mother’s name is Belinda Lane.
She had a brother named Justin.
Relationships & Children
Before her death, she was dating a man named Juan Patlan.
She had two daughters.
Murder & Investigation
On February 24, 2006, when Crystal Theobald, her boyfriend, and her brother were riding through Riverside (a neighborhood in California) in her boyfriend’s car, their car passed by a gang in two SUVs. Their car was following her mother’s car. When her car passed by the gang, the gang began showering bullets at her car as retaliation to a previous attack. During the shooting, her boyfriend was shot in the midsection of his body, while Crystal was shot in the head; her brother passed by unharmed. Crystal’s mother witnessed her daughter getting shot. Her boyfriend survived after surgery, but Crystal lost her life two days after the incident at Riverside Community Hospital. None present in Crystal’s car was involved with any gang. The cause of the shooting was reported to be a case of mistaken identity. Her mother pledged revenge for her daughter’s death and came up with the idea to track her murderers down by using social media. Belinda made fake accounts on MySpace (now defunct) and began posing as younger women; her cousin posed as Crystal in one of the accounts. Talking about it in a documentary, Jamie said,
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.”
Over the course of a decade, her mother tracked down her culprits and got her daughter’s killers arrested. The last culprit William Sotelo was captured in 2016 in Central Mexica; he had fled to Central Mexico as soon as the investigation began.
- Out of all the gang members who attacked Crystal’s car, some turned themselves in and some were captured. Ten culprits pleaded guilty to an array of charges. In 2011, Julio Heredia, the man who shot Crystal, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
- The last of the criminals, William Sotelo, was charged with voluntary manslaughter and firearm allegations; for all the allegations, he pleaded guilty as a part of a deal with the prosecution. On January 23, 2020, William received 22 years of imprisonment sentence for his role in Crystal’s murder.
- In April 2021, Netflix released a documentary film titled ‘Why Did You Kill Me?,’ which was based on Crystal’s murder and her family’s fight to track her murderers through social media networks.