Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Sunday, 27 March 2016

Who Was Teresa Halbach, The Real Victim Of Making A Murderer?

Who Was Teresa Halbach, The Real Victim Of Making A Murderer?

The Debrief: Behind Stephen Avery and Brendan Dassey lies the true victim of the tragedy; Teresa

The last few months in true crime world have been a rollercoaster. From The People vs OJ SImpson to Making A Murderer, what was once the pasttime of bored housewives is now the obsession of the Western world.

What often gets forgotten in true crime cases that become big selling books, favouirted podcasts and much streamed TV shows though, is the victim. The person who suffered as a result of the crime that made the headlines. The person that died.

In Making A Murderer, that person was Teresa Halbach and, no matter what happens in the ongoing debacle over whether or whether or not you believe that Stephen and Brendan are innocent or were framed or both, she should be the real focus of the case.

Who was Teresa Halbach?

At the time of her death, Teresa Marie Halbach was a 25 year old photographer from Wisconsin. Born in 1980, she grew up on a dairy farm near a town called Green Bay. She had two brothers and two sisters.

During college, Teresa went travelling to Mexico and Spain as well as studying abroad in Australia where she learned to scuba dive.

When she graduated from college (the University of Wisconsin) she originally took a job as a photographer in Green Bay although she moved back down to live next to her parents' farm.

Her favourite song to sing, according to ex-boyfriend Ryan, was Picture by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock.

What did her friends say about her?

She's a very energetic sponteanous person' - Kelly Pitzen, a friend since preschool. 'We were always up to something. It took a lot to scare her. She was a very outgoing, brave person.'

'She was a friend to everybody' - Ryan Hilegas, her old boyfriend. 'Photography was her life. She could do anything with a camera.'

What happened to Teresa Halbach?

On 31st October, 2005, Teresa showed up at the Avery's Salvage Lot to photograph a car for Auto Trader magazine. When ex-boyfriend Ryan Hilegas realised she was missing, a search party was sent out. On November 5th, Pam and Nicole Sturm, part of the group of those seraching for Teresa, came across Teresa's dark-green Toyota Rav4 on the Averys' property. According to Kurt Chandler in Milwaukee Magazine, 'tree branches covered its front end. A sheet of plywood and a rusty car hood leaned against its side. The license plate had been stripped off.' Later, police found Teresa's license plates, a pair of handcuffs and leg irons in his house and dried blood in his bathroom before finding human remains which were later proved to be those of Teresa.

Brendan Dassey later confessed to aiding Stephen Avery with Teresa's murder. According to him, both he and Avery raped Teresa before stabbing and choking her and burning the body in a fire.

Where are Teresa's family now?

You'll remember from the series that Mike Halbach was a spokesperson for the Halbach family at the time of the trial. But, he and the family declined to take part in the documentary. Laura Ricciardi, one of the filmmakers told Vulture, 'We invited the Halbach family to participate in the film, and we had coffee with Mike Halbach to dicuss the idea. But they decided not to participate. So we film Mike at all the press conferences that he held, but that was the extent of our interaction with him.'

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Tags: TV That Matters, TV, Making A Murderer