Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Teresa Halbach

'Help Me!'

As investigators continued to probe for answers in the death of Teresa Halbach, the events that immediately lead up to her death and the details of the crime itself remained sketchy, and Steven Avery staunchly maintained his innocence. Among the many people Calumet County detectives had interviewed was Avery's 16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey, who lived in a house on the same sprawling property as Avery. On Feb. 27, 2006, detectives interviewed Dassey again, and something he said caught their attention. "We believed Brendan knew more than he was telling us," Calumet County Sheriff Jerry Pagel later told a news conference.

Detectives interviewed Dassey again on March 1, and this time he confessed to participating with his uncle in the rape, torture, and murder of Teresa Halbach.

According to the criminal complaint against Dassey, the teenager claimed that on Oct. 31, 2005, at around 3:45 p.m., he got off the school bus and walked to his home, which is next door to Steven Avery's trailer. He then rode his bicycle to the mail box to get the mail and found a letter for his Uncle Steven. As he rode back to Steven Avery's residence to deliver the letter, he passed a "burn barrel" and stopped to look inside. He saw a cellphone and a camera. As he approached Avery's trailer, he heard a female voice inside screaming "Help me!"

Teresa Halbach
Teresa Halbach

Dassey knocked on the door and waited several minutes before his uncle answered it. Steven Avery was "covered in sweat." He invited his nephew to come into the kitchen. Once inside Avery asked Brendan if he wanted to "get some of that stuff," indicating the bedroom. Avery then led his nephew into the bedroom where he saw Teresa Halbach naked on her back, "restrained to the bed with handcuffs and leg irons."


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