Teresa Halbach: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

When people hear the name Teresa Halbach, they almost always associate it with the binge-worthy, Emmy-award winning Netflix series, Making a Murderer. Unfortunately, though, many people are far more familiar with the details of her convicted killer, Steven Avery, than they are with Teresa Halbach– the victim in the case.

Read on to learn more about the woman who is truly at the center of Netflix’s Making a Murderer.

1. She Was a 25-Year-Old Aspiring Photographer

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Halbach was one of five siblings in a tight-knit family, and was 25-years-old at the time of her death. According to a Milwaukee Magazine article, the aspiring photographer was raised on a dairy farm, settled by her great-grandfather, that was 225-acres large. “As a girl, Teresa helped her mother care for her two younger sisters while her father and two brothers tended the farm’s 60 cows.”

One of Teresa’s longtime friends, Kelly Pitzen, told the magazine, “She’s a very energetic, spontaneous person. We were always up to something- hiking or swimming at High Cliff State Park on Lake Winnebago.” Halbach was an avid photographer. A source tells Milwaukee Magazine, “Photography was her life. She could do anything with a camera.”

2. She Loved Karaoke and Coached Her Younger Sister’s Volleyball Team

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According to Medium, Halbach was the coach of her younger sister’s volleyball team, and loved to sing karaoke in her free time.

Milwaukee Magazine writes, “One of just 55 students in her class at Hilbert High School, Teresa was ‘a friend to everybody’, says Ryan Hillegas, her boyfriend throughout high school and into college.”

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3. She Was Last Seen at Avery’s Lot

Halbach was last seen as the Avery Auto Salvage, where she was photographing a car for Auto Trader magazine. According to Milwaukee Magazine, Halbach was well aware that Avery was a convicted rapist who was exonerated after spending 18 years in prison.

Pam Sturm and her daughter, Nicole, searched Avery’s lot on November 5, as part of a search party for Teresa. Sturm was a former private investigator in Green Bay, and the second cousin of Teresa’s father. Within a half hour of arriving on the lot and asking Steven’s brother, Earl, if they could look around for Teresa’s car, they had located her dark-green Toyota RAV4. The license plate had been stripped off.

Over 150 law enforcement officers arrived at the scene after Pam called in the car.

Halbach knew Avery before she was murdered– she had visited his property multiple times. She Knows writes that “Halbach worked with AutoTrader and had taken pictures of vehicles located on Avery’s salvage yard on a few different occasions.” During the investigation, Halbach’s coworkers informed police that Teresa admitted to feeling awkward around Steven Avery. The outlet writes, “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.”

4. She Graduated Summa Cum Laude From University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Halbach excelled in school– she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2002, and then worked as a portrait photographer for Pearce Photography. Teresa was always close with her family, and eventually decided to rent a house owned by her parents next door to the family farm and commute into Green Bay, so she could be closer to her family.

Teresa’s many ties to home, however, didn’t squash her desires to travel. She visited Spain, Mexico, and even traveled to Australia during her junior year of college. Pitzen says, “It took a lot to scare her. She was a very outgoing, brave person.”

5. Her Brother Was the Family’s Spokesman

Teresa is survived by her two brothers and two sisters– Katie, Kelly, Michael, and Timothy. Mike is perhaps the most familiar to the public, as he appeared in the documentary multiple times, acting as the unofficial family spokesman.

Before the show’s release, the Halbach family released a statement that read, “Having just passed the 10-year anniversary of the death of our daughter and sister, Teresa, we are saddened to learn that individuals and corporations continue to create entertainment and to seek profit from our loss. We continue to hope that the story of Teresa’s life brings goodness to the world.” According to Bustle, the Halbach family was invited to be part of the creation of Making a Murderer, but the family refused to partake in its creation. The extent of the filmmakers’ interaction with Mike was one coffee (during which they asked the family to be a part of the documentary) and the press conference that he held.

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  1. I have had a great career in Law Enforcement. So I actually know what I’m talking about. Everyone who thinks Avery is innocent is a total moron.

  2. Guilty? Well maybe, but it doesn’t seem to me that he got a fair trail, and the police had motive to frame him. Since you are in law enforcement, you know more about this than I do, do you think he was treated fairly by police and the Wisconsin justice system? What if they find hard evidence of misconduct (blood that was too old, saliva on the hood latch, solvents on the lone key, bones that are not Teresa, testimony that jurors were threatened or coerced, confessions, etc.)? Will you maintain that he is still guilty? Sometimes I think we pick a side then look for the justification that proves our side right.
    As a law enforcement agent, are you satisfied that Dasey committed this murder even though there was only MINIMAL circumstantial evidence? Hey, if he’s guilty he needs to do the time, but are you certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s really guilty? His confession seems to be the only real piece of evidence that did the crime, which to me does incriminate him for the most part. But don’t you think there would be some other piece of corroborating evidence that you would have found that would confirm what he said?
    I know law enforcement is a difficult job and I have a lot of respect for the work you do and what you have to deal with everyday. I going to trust you guys know more than the criminals in jail. I just want you to tell me that you’re sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, so I don’t have to feel conflicted that two innocent people are in jail, which if this were true, would devastate me that this could happen. I need to know that you guys wouldn’t allow someone to be wrongly convicted and not do something about.

  3. He’s innocent. To many things missing to make me think otherwise. He may not have be well like but that does not make him a monster, I feel sorry for him and his family. Yes it’s terrible that a woman was killed, but you can just blame on someone. I do believe in time the truth will come out and all the idiots that think he did it will realize how quick to judge they really are.

  4. “Halbach was last seen as the Avery Auto Salvage, where she was photographing a car for Auto Trader magazine. According to Milwaukee Magazine, Halbach was well aware that Avery was a convicted rapist who was exonerated after spending 18 years in prison.” Not slanted at all. Avery was an exonerated (innocent) man. Rapist is therefore excluded. Halbach was not last seen at the AAS – according to recorded phone conversation between the lead investigators she visited a home prior to Avery’s at 1:30 then to Avery’s place and left Zipperer’s home after Avery’s at around 3:30.

  5. We know that the police department had a conflict of interest, claimed to remove themselves from the investigation on record, but then still investigated and searched Avery’s place anyway. We know that a key lying in plain sight (with ONLY Steve’s DNA) was found on the 7th(?) search by one of the officers that UNDOUBTEDLY had a conflict of interest. We watched police officers FORCE a confession out of a helpless young boy with a learning disability… repeatedly. The people who choose not acknowledge the level of filthy corruption on display here are the ones who FOOLISHLY think it could never happen to them. The reason why they got away with incarcerating Avery is because the State saw that they themselves (the State and the entirety of law enforcement) were on trial too. Imagine the credibility they would lose if the case ever went the other way. They don’t want to open that box. They would lose so much. They weighed the lives of Steven and Brendan against their own institution and then proceeded accordingly. The Blue Wall of Silence is real.
    Now, imagine if Steven Avery was Black. You all wouldn’t even hear about this story. How many Black Steven Avery’s are locked up at this very moment. I mean… Steve may in fact be guilty. But, the investigation was very much compromised and it’s insane to deny that.