There’s no better way to spend the holiday season than binge-watching a true crime docuseries, right? After Netflix released Making a Murderer on Dec. 18, that’s exactly how a majority of viewers spent their free time last month. Now, most interested parties have made their way through the 10-part show that covers Steven Avery’s conviction for the 2005 rape and murder of Teresa Halbach, but the frenzy doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.
Fans are taking to social media to share their theories about the murder, and some have even created a petition, calling for the White House to pardon Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey of their convictions. It’s a gripping case, and it’s easy to see why everyone is so obsessed with this series. What’s not so easy to understand or accept is how little attention is being given to the victim, Teresa Halbach.
This glorification of the accused seems to be a trend in the media surrounding murder cases. Reporting largely focuses on their lives and their story and overshadows the story of the victim. Everyone knows about and talks about O.J., but so few know the details of Nicole Brown Simpson’s life. The same can be said for Laci Peterson, who got very little attention, while Scott Peterson was in the spotlight after murdering Laci and their unborn child.
Whether or not Steven Avery was guilty of Halbach’s murder, she still suffered terrible things before her tragic death. Her story deserves to be told; her memory deserves to be honored. Here are seven things about Teresa Halbach and the short life she led.
Halbach was only 25 years old when she disappeared on Nov. 6, 2005. She had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin a few years back and was new to her career as a freelance photographer.
Halbach had four siblings. When Halbach was murdered, she left behind two sisters, named Katie and Kelly, and two brothers, Michael and Timothy. Her brother, Mike, appears multiple times in the documentary and acted as the unofficial family spokesman during the case.
Halbach grew up on her family’s farm. Halbach’s great-grandfather began a dairy farm, and her parents eventually took over the responsibility of caring for the farm. Because of this, Halbach spent her childhood growing up on that farm located 30 miles outside of Green Bay, and she enjoyed the outdoors and helping her parents care for the animals.
Halbach was a freelance photographer. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Halbach began pursuing a career as a photographer. She specialized in portrait photography in Green Bay but also traveled to surrounding areas for clients like AutoTrader, the very assignment that brought her to Steven Avery’s farm.
Halbach loved to travel. Even though Halbach chose to settle down near her family, moving into a small house next door to their farm, she loved to travel. She spent time in Mexico, Spain and Australia, and loved to spend her free time outdoors.
Halbach knew Avery. Before Steven Avery was arrested as the main suspect in Halbach’s murder, he shared with police that Halbach had been on his property multiple times. As a photographer, Halbach worked with AutoTrader and had taken pictures of vehicles located on Avery’s salvage yard on a few different occasions.
Halbach reported feeling uncomfortable around Avery. During the investigation, Halbach’s co-workers disclosed that she had reported feeling uncomfortable around Steven Avery. While her discomfort wasn’t enough to keep her from her work, she did express feeling awkward whenever she spent time taking photographs at his salvage yard.
Outside of the information provided above, what we discovered was that there is a lot we do not know about Teresa Halbach. Her life was cut short, and we’ll never know if her future would have included a marriage and kids, if she would have continued to travel and pursue a career in photography. While it is important to ensure that Steven Avery is being punished only for this crime if he is truly guilty, it is also important that we don’t lose sight of the fact the she was the real victim in this story.