Mom's 10-Year Hunt for Daughter's Killers Is Over

She created fake social media profiles to find suspects
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2016 2:05 AM CDT
Mom's 10-Year Hunt for Daughter's Killers Is Over
This booking photo provided by the Riverside Police Department shows William Sotelo.   (Riverside Police Department via AP)

Murder suspect William Sotelo fell for a woman he met online and knew as "Angel"—but her profile picture was really of the woman whose killing he was wanted for, and the woman he had been exchanging messages was her mother. Belinda Lane spent 10 years using social media to track down people involved in the Feb. 24, 2006, murder of her daughter, and the arrest of Sotelo in Mexico last week brought her hunt to an end, reports the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Sotelo, 28, who has now been extradited to the US, is suspected of driving the car from which shots were fired that killed Crystal Theobald, a 24-year-old mother of two. Gang members in Riverside, Calif., are believed to have mistaken her vehicle for one belonging to a member of a rival gang.

Lane tells ABC7 that she made a promise at her daughter's funeral. "I told her, baby girl, I promise you if it takes my last breath, I will get them. I promise you, you will have justice." She says she set up fake MySpace profiles in her search for suspects and used one of them to communicate with Sotelo. She says she continued to contact him after he fled to Mexico, and a tip received on Facebook eventually led to his arrest. He faces charges including first-degree murder. The gunman was sentenced to life without parole in 2011 and at least six other gang members are also serving time for their involvement in the case. Lane says it is a huge relief for the search for justice to finally be over. "It could have taken a lifetime," she says. "I never would have stopped." (In Ohio, a few grains of pollen might solve an old murder case.)

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