What Happened to William "Jokes" Sotelo After 'Why Did You Kill Me?'

Shannon Raphael - Author

Apr. 15 2021, Updated 2:36 p.m. ET

William Sotelo
Source: Netflix

Netflix's newest compelling documentary, Why Did You Kill Me? is both a true crime mystery and a story about a mother's undying devotion to her daughter. 

The film centers around the 2006 murder of Crystal Theobald, who was gunned down in her family's car in Riverside, Calif. The 24-year-old mother of two was beloved by her family, and they struggled to understand why she was seemingly targeted by her killer and his accomplices. 

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Theobald's mom, Belinda Lane, set out to identify those who took her daughter's life. While the police investigated the crime, Lane created profiles on MySpace to lure in suspects, many of whom were members of the 5150 gang.

Her work led to the arrests of several men, including William Sotelo. Where is he now?

Source: Netflix
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Crystal Theobold's relatives created fake MySpace accounts to communicate with 5150 gang members.

As the investigation into Crystal Theobald's murder developed, the detectives and her loved ones zeroed in on members of the 5150 gang.

In Why Did You Kill Me, Detective Rick Wheeler discussed how the gang became prominent in the Riverside area in the early '00s. He said that the group had a reputation for being "particularly violent and confrontational," and that they were well-known within just a few years.

The name of the gang likely originated from the California code for a temporary psychiatric hold.

After Belinda Lane made a false identification on a suspect, which limited her ability to one day be able to testify in court, she decided to help in other ways. When she learned that many of the 5150 members had MySpace accounts, she and niece Jaimie began developing fake accounts so they could chat with them. 

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The two eventually decided to make an account under the name Angel, which featured photos of Crystal Theobald herself. The Angel profile communicated with William "Jokes" Sotelo, who identified as a 5150 member on his page. 

Jaimie and Belinda Lane later learned that Sotelo drove a white Ford Expedition. It was the same type of vehicle that the killer got out of on the night of Crystal Theobald's murder.

Source: Netflix
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When Belinda Lane divulged her findings to Detective Wheeler, he brought William Sotelo in for questioning. While he initially denied participating in the murder of Crystal Theobald, he eventually discussed how it all unfolded. 

Sotelo said that the Theobold family shot at his car. He claimed that one of his passengers, Julio "Lil Huero" Heredia, then got out of the Ford Expedition and they didn't see him again. 

But, there was no evidence that Sotelo's car had been hit with bullets. 

Detective Wheeler eventually let Sotelo go because there wasn't enough evidence to hold him. Belinda Lane continued to chat with him online, and she later asked why he killed the woman in the photos on the Angel account.

After Belinda Lane confronted Sotelo, he went off the grid for 10 years. 

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At the end of Why Did You Kill Me?, Detective Wheeler revealed that Crystal Theobald because those in Sotelo's car mistook her for a member in a rival gang. 

More than a decade after Theobald was shot, Sotelo was arrested.

Source: Netflix
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Where is William Sotelo now, after the filming of 'Why Did You Kill Me?'

Following his MySpace interaction with Belinda Lane, William Sotelo fled to Mexico. He was working as a chili farmer and living there with his wife and four children when he was apprehended by the authorities in 2016. 

Belinda Lane had been tipped off about Sotelo's whereabouts on Facebook.

Ahead of his trial, William Sotelo pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2020.

Sotelo is now in his early 30s, and he is one of eight people who have been apprehended for Crystal Theobald's murder. 

Julio Heredia was arrested in 2011, and he is currently serving out a sentence of 138 years to life. 

Why Did You Kill Me? is available to stream on Netflix now. 

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