Right now, “Murder is hot!” It’s hard not to be bothered by the many cringe-worthy moments that occur during the successful Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer. The series showcases evidence that appears out of nowhere and also shines the spotlight on an interrogation where a developmentally disabled 16-year-old is harassed by veteran police detectives for hours on end. But equally disturbing is the overly excited Dateline reporter who makes light of the 2005 Teresa Halbach murder case with the sentiment that “Murder is hot!”
The series depicts the media frenzy that was rampant during DNA exoneree Steven Avery’s (the focus of the series) second trial, and how the news media played a large role in the perception of Avery’s guilt or innocence. The events that took place have prompted outrage from viewers around the world, as well as in-depth discussion on whether or not he was responsible for the murder of Teresa Halbach.
Fans have flocked to the web to dissect and share details surrounding the case, and some of the best theories reside on the sub-reddit aptly titled, Making a Murderer. Wicked Horror has compiled some of the most compelling fan theories on Reddit so you don’t have to! Because trust us, once you fall down the Making a Murderer rabbit hole, you’ll never find your way back out.
The Police Framed Him
The docs-series essentially depicts the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department as evil incarnate. They convicted Steven of a sexual assault and kept him in prison for 18 years, despite having evidence of his innocence. When faced with the possibility of having to pay out a $36 million dollar lawsuit, they seemingly had every reason to try and send Avery back to jail.
Due to the conflict of interest between the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department and Steven Avery, they should never have been allowed to investigate the Teresa Halbach case—but they were. Manitowoc police officers James Lenk and Andrew Colborn immediately focused on Steven as their prime suspect.
Lenk and Colborn found all of the incriminating evidence against Steven in the murder investigation. Avery’s lawyers argued that Colborn found Teresa’s car, before it was actually discovered in the Avery Salvage Yard, when he called in her license plate to dispatch. Also, Colborn signed off on Avery’s 1985 blood sample evidence that may have been tampered with. Along with Colborn’s evidence, Lenk had found Teresa’s keys in Avery’s bedroom—seven days into the search of his property.
In 2009, a blog post proposed an alternative theory to who killed Teresa Halbach. Reddit users found the theory, tracked down the individual involved, and did their best to flesh things out. All of their findings were documented in a lengthy post, which was subsequently deleted.
The post discussed a woman who reported her husband’s strange activity during the time that Teresa was murdered. The husband—known as the German man—reportedly set things on fire, tried selling the woman a car similar to Halbach’s, and told his wife that Halbach was dead upon viewing her missing poster. The woman also uncovered bloody women’s underwear and clothing in their home.
According to the woman, the strange and incriminating activity was essentially brushed off by the police.
Ex-Boyfriend-Ryan Hillegas Did It
Despite his intimacy with the victim, former boyfriend Ryan Hillegas—who dated Teresa Halbach for five years—was never questioned by police about his whereabouts on the day that Halbach disappeared. In fact, he was never really considered a suspect in the case.
Hillegas stated to police that he saw Halbach the day before she disappeared on October 31, but he couldn’t remember the time. When Halbach went missing, Hillegas and Halbach’s roommate “guessed” the password to her wireless account and created a login to access her phone records. This raised a red flag for many, the defense even alluded to the idea that some of Halbach’s voicemails had been deleted—something Hillegas easily could have done.
And it gets weirder: Halbach’s coworker (Tom Pearce) claimed she was receiving annoying phone calls from an unknown person, weeks before her death. The (possibly) deleted voicemails could have answered the question as to who the mysterious caller actually was. Could that person have been Hillegas? We will probably never know.
Scott Tadych and Bobby Dassey Did It
Scott Tadych and Bobby Dassey had the means and knowledge to commit the crime. Both lived on the Avery property and were at or near the crime scene the day that the murder took place. Fans of the series believed that the pair’s alibi was a contrived story to cover up something sinister. Steven Avery also suggested both Tadych and Dassey as possible suspects in a court appeal.
Tadych is married to Barb Janda—Brendan Dassey’s mother (Steven Avery’s sister)—and they lived on the Avery property. It was Barb’s car that Halbach was coming to photograph for Auto Trader Magazine. It is quite possible that Tadych was aware of this and knew that Halbach would be on their property that day.
It struck many viewers as odd that Tadych and Bobby were each other’s only alibi for the day, and that they were never seriously considered to be suspects by the police. Both men claimed they did see Halbach on Steven Avery’s property and corroborated the other’s story; however, a bus driver proved their timeline to be false when she stated that she saw Halbach photographing the van during one of her routine bus stops.
To make things stranger, a co-worker claimed that Tadych tried to sell him a .22 caliber rifle shortly after the murder—the type of weapon believed to have killed Halbach. And, a co-worker reported that Tadych had blood on his clothes. Tadych also has a history of violence against women—he violently attacked a woman in 2002.
But, Tadych wasn’t the only suspicious one following the Halbach murder. Bobby had scratches on his back during the time that Halbach went missing and was found dead. A physician examination suggested that the scratches were recent at the time. Bobby claimed that they were from a puppy.
Steven Avery’s Brothers Did It
Steven Avery isn’t the only so-called bad apple in the Avery family. His brothers, Charles and Earl, have a history of violence and questionable behavior towards women. After learning of their criminal past—and their inclusion as possible suspects in Steven Avery’s 2007 court appeal—many fans believe that one of his brothers may have committed the crime.
Charles sexually assaulted an ex-wife in 1999, and he also stalked several female customers who frequented the Avery Salvage yard. One of the women he allegedly bothered was Jodie Stachowski—Steven Avery’s ex-girlfriend. She reportedly told a fellow inmate (during her incarceration) of how fearful she was of Charles because of a time she awoke to him standing in her residence with a shotgun. He was apparently mad that she was dating Steven.
Earl isn’t a great catch either. In 1995, he was charged with sexually assaulting his two daughters. And if that wasn’t enough, he often rode around the Avery property in a golf cart; the same golf cart that cadaver dogs alerted police to when searching for Halbach’s remains. Oh, and when the police came to his property for a DNA sample on November 9, 2005, he hid from them.
Please keep in mind that these are all theories. We don’t know what happened, but it’s hard not to speculate after the police did such a shitty job investigating the crime. Since the documentary’s release lawyer Kathleen Zellner, who has helped in the release and exoneration of 17 men in wrongful conviction cases, has taken on Steven Avery’s case. He recently filed an appeal for a new trial.